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Germany v. Portugal: Will Germany wake up in time?

Posted 06-19-2008 at 12:49 PM by Striker X
So far Portugal and Germany have had very different tournaments: Portugal looking like possible champions while Germany seems to be still figuring out how to kick that stupid round ball where they want it to go.

O.K., that's too harsh, but Germany looks only vaguely like their teams of old and they're running out of time to figure it out.

Outside of Lukas Podolski and one free kick by Michael Ballack, the Germans have exhibited worse finishing skills than the 40-year old virgin. After years of forward Miroslav Klose being a cold-blooded killer in the box he's settled into more of a playmaking role. Nice if you have other people who can put the ball in the net, but useless if they are going to choke when called upon. Young Mario Gomez has missed badly on several excellent chances in front of the net.

An even bigger problem for Germany is injuries. Several star players have played through injuries and the previous game saw several key players playing a step slower including the aforementioned Podolski, crucial defensive midfielder Torsten Frings, and outside back Philip Lam.

Portugal looks solid. Although their B team lost to Switzerland they looked firmly in control of their first two games. Cristiano Ronaldo has drawn double, triple, even quintuple teams at times and yet still seems to get the ball into the penalty area for chances or shots. Deco is showing moments of brilliance and Pepe is solid in defense. Ricardo has looked fine in goal. They are not the most impressive side of the tournament, but with their current form it would be hard to bet against them until the final (where they will probably face either Spain or Holland).

Unless Germany wakes up I see this as an entertaining 2-1 win for Portugal. Germany will slip in a set piece against Ricardo while Portugal's relentless attack will be to much for the battered German side.
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