Mario Gomez gets Germany up and running to head home the winner against Portugal
Germany 1-0 Portugal
Arena Lviv, Lviv
Saturday 9 June 2012
Mario Gomez proved his manager was right to play him ahead of fans’ favourite Miroslav Klose by scoring the winner against Portugal.
Klose, who is just five goals short of becoming Germany’s record goal scorer, made way for Gomez and the giant goal-machine justified Joachim Loew’s bold selection with the game’s only goal.
The most theatrical moment inside the first fifteen minutes was Manuel Neuer’s reaction to a challenge from Helder Postiga.
The Germany goalkeeper leapt into the air and landed in a heap after the partially late challenge from the Portuguese striker who was duly cautioned for the rash tackle.
Cristiano Ronaldo waited all of 17 minutes to demonstrate why he is Lionel Messi’s main rival for the title of ‘world’s greatest player’. The Real Madrid man mesmerised his marker with multiple step-overs before rifling in a cross with his so-called weaker left foot.
Manchester United's Luis Nani was waiting to convert the chance at the back post but Germany were able to clear the effort before the Cape Verde-born star could put his side ahead.
Despite their attacking prowess and perceived defensive frailties, Portugal’s last three games have ended goalless and after a dour first half that disappointing trend looked set to continue.
The closest the deadlock came to breaking was in first half injury time when centre-back Pepe took aim from inside the box but had to watch agonisingly as his shot hit the underside of the bar, bounced on the goal-line and away.
For a game boasting two teams with some of the most attacking talent in Europe, quality chances and patterns of play were few and far between.
Ronaldo sneaked into the German penalty box after 65 minutes but his left-footed shot was cleared by a fantastic block from Jerome Boateng.
The much-talked about emerging talent Nelson Oliveira was sent on for Portugal with 20 minutes remaining in an attempt to grab maximum points for his side.
But instead of the youngster making a name for himself, it was Gomez who won it for the Germans. The towering frontman, who appeared to be seconds away from being replaced by Klose, produced a textbook headed goal.
The match winner then received a standing ovation from his grateful fans when he finally was replaced by his record chasing team-mate, with the game already won.
Neuer, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm, Boateng, Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Ozil (Kroos 87), Muller (Bender 90), Podolski, Gomez (Klose 80)
Subs not used: Wiese, Zieler, Schmelzer, Howedes, Mertesacker, Gundogan Schurrle, Bender, , Gotze, Reus,
Coach: Joachim Low
Rui Patricio, Alves, Pepe, Coentrao, Joao Pereira, Veloso, Joao Moutinho, Meireles (Varela 80), Nani, Ronaldo, Postiga (Oliveira 70)
Subs not used: Eduard, Beto, Costa, Rolando, Miguel Lopes, Custodio, Ruben Micael, Viana, Almeida, Quaresma,
Coach: Paulo Bento