Soccer: Germany and Portugal Prepare for Tactical War
The group of death delivers a big match-up early as Germany takes on Portugal in the opening round of games at UEFA Euro 2012.
New look, still exciting
Soccer betting fans loved watching Germany’s four-goal blitzes against Australia, England, and Argentina in the 2010 World Cup. The fast-break counter-attacking style thrilled audiences across the globe. Their loss to Spain in the semi-finals however showed that Germany’s game was still in need of refinement. The changes made over the last two years have helped make the Mannschaft one of the favorites for this tournament.
Germany now play a more pressing game, one focussed on winning the ball in the opposition half. With their passing play also improving, Jogi Low’s outfit is a nightmare match-up for any opponent. Players keep the ball for just 1.1 seconds at a time, compared to 2.8 in 2010. This acceleration means that despite changing their approach, the Germans are still capable of breaking forward at speed.
Defense and Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo has well and truly inherited the mantle as Portugal’s great winger from Luis Figo. Nani is in danger of being the next man who fell just short, a tag previously associated with Simao. While Ronaldo will play wide, betting fans know him as Portugal’s chief goal threat. It’s not surprise as the Portuguese lack a clear top level striker in their squad. Helder Postiga has inherited the mantle of ‘that guy’ from the long underachieving Pauleta.
Defense remains a big strength for Portugal and Germany will certainly have trouble breaking them down in the group opener. The starting back four is amongst the strongest at the tournament but there are depth concerns here. Personal disagreements with coach Paulo Bento mean Ricardo Carvalho and Jose Bosingwa won’t be on call at this tournament.
An early breakthrough for Germany could have a massive impact on the tone of this game. Portugal likes playing in a situation where the opponent sets the attacking tempo. Should Germany take an early lead, then it will place massive pressure on the Portuguese to step out of their defensive shell. Bento’s charges will likely play a particularly tight game in the opening 45 minutes. Germany will however be wary of Ronaldo and Nani on the counter so they too will likely be willing to start off with some caution. Don’t expect the Germans to light up the scoreboard in this match-up but they have enough talent to get a tight win.