Germany Dismantle Portugal to Send Timely Reminder of Class

Germany

Germany vs Portugal. The old guard vs the team full of individuals in their prime; the former World champions vs the current European champions. It was always going to be a scintillating affair, wasn’t it? The big game lived up to the big hype for the neutrals. If you’re a Portugal fan, however, look away now. Fernando Santos’ side were tactically outclassed, dismantled by Joachim Low’s side, who netted four goals to Portugal’s two.

Ironically, it was Portugal who took the lead. Cristiano Ronaldo, predictably, opened proceedings with a tap in courtesy of Diogo Jota. It was as if Ronaldo’s rage towards shot-eager Jota against Hungary had sent a much-needed message. This time, the Liverpool man remained unselfish and laid the ball into the path of Ronaldo to tap home.

The goal came out of the blue, Germany began the game on top but lacked the clinical edge going forward- a recurring theme heading into the tie. Yet, why put the ball in the back of the net, when the opposition can do it for you? Own goals from Ruben Dias and Raphaël Guerreiro soon saw the game flipped on its head. From there, Portugal found themselves stuck in the tactical matrix in which Germany applied. And, for all the world class forwards at the competition, ‘own goals’ is now the top scorer with five.

Kai Havertz and Robin Gosens netted deserved goals before Jota netted a consolation to end the game 4-2 in Germany’s favour.

Germany Dismantle Portugal

The Robin Gosens Show

With Thomas Muller, Serge Gnabry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva- and the list could go on- sharing a pitch, many expected that they’d provide the threat. But Robin Gosens soon proved otherwise. Many have been quick to criticise Low’s 3-5-2 formation for its lack of offensive impetus. The critics will now be fan favourites of the system, however. It exploited Portugal’s weakness by overloading the right flank of Nelson Semedo.

The Wolves man simply could not cope. The fullback’s head is probably still spinning now at the thought of having to cope with Havertz and Gosens. Positionally, Semedo could not decide. Should he go with Havertz or the marauding run of Gosens? In the end, he was neither here or there. And Germany put on a show.

It was Gosens’ cross which created the equaliser before his goal ended the Germany rout. The overload was the key, but, admittedly, Semedo did not provide what you would describe as a stern door. If anything, at times he welcomed the Germans in with open arms.

Kai Havertz at His Best

At Chelsea, Havertz is yet to show his best. Towards the end of the campaign under Thomas Tuchel, he showed glimpses; he cemented himself into Chelsea history books with the Champions League winner. But, against Portugal, we saw the former Bayer Leverkusen man at his very best. And that’s once again thanks to Joachim Low.

The young midfielder is one of the best at exploiting spaces from midfield so, naturally, Low allowed him to do this. Havertz almost had a free role at times, drifting into pockets and in behind to combine with the aforementioned Gosens.

It was another piece of tactical genius; genius that came from a man with 15 years of experience at the helm; genius that tore Portugal apart.

The win leaves group F as open as possible. Germany sit on three points with Portugal whilst France sit top on four and Hungary bottom on one.

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