Portugal face Germany in Munich tomorrow, hoping to make it three victories in the row in “away” stadiums at European Championships. The Seleção won the Euro 2016 final in Paris against France, and beat Hungary in Budapest on Tuesday, on both occasions in a stadium packed with fans rooting for their opponents. 

Fernando Santos confirmed Portugal have one injury absentee, left-back Nuno Mendes, and despite showing confidence the veteran coach refused to go along with the idea that the Seleção were favourites going into the match. 

“I think Portugal is now a team that commands more respect. Other teams previously looked at Portugal as a good team but deep down they thought they were stronger. Nowadays, there is no team in the world that will face Portugal and win easily. But are Portugal favourites? Thinking that Portugal are favourites against Germany, in a game played in Germany, is going too far.

“We have to be very strong at all times and improve on what we did against Hungary, defending very well and having the capacity to create opportunities. If you watched Germany-France carefully, you would have seen that Germany pushed France back. The final result does not mirror what happened in the game. It’s a very important game for us. We want to have the ball and not lose it very often.

“France played a fantastic game against Germany, denying them spaces behind. Germany’s game, even playing through the lines, can surprise their opponents behind the defence with the passes of Kroos, for example. An essential weapon is to have the ball and force them to have it far from our goal.

“Against France there were times when Kimmich played more inside in a dynamic manner. They can play 4-3-3 or 3-4-3. We have to be ready for whatever our opponents ask of us.”

 

Dias: “Two of the best teams in the tournament”

Rúben Dias was Portugal’s designated player at the pre-match press conference. The centre-back echoed his coach’s thoughts, saying that only by being at their best can the Seleção hope to obtain the desired result.

On Germany: “We’re going to face a high-level team, one of the best in the tournament. We must be aware that although we started the Euro well, we need to keep our feet on the ground and understand that we have to play even better to win this game. It will be two very strong teams going head-to-head; two of the best in this European Championship, with a dominating style of play.”

On season at Manchester City: “The matches and competitions I played in during the season prepared me for a tournament like this. It was tiring, it’s true, but I would say that the season has prepared me to be at the highest level.”

Did you speak to Gundogan about the game? “Actually I did, but it was nothing special. But I wish him good luck. We know Germany well, we know what are capable of and the players they have, but we’ve got our weapons too.”

On more than 60 games played this season: “That just serves as another factor of motivation. I like to push myself to the limit, to do things that nobody else had done. I’m motivated to show to myself that I’m in good shape physically and I’m strong.”

by Tom Kundert

 

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If we come out with the same line-up as we did against Hungary.. I think Portugal loses this game straight up. My starting XI:

Patricio
Semedo-----Dias-----Pepe-----Guerreiro
----------------------Danilo----------------------
----------...

Preview

If we come out with the same line-up as we did against Hungary.. I think Portugal loses this game straight up. My starting XI:

Patricio
Semedo-----Dias-----Pepe-----Guerreiro
----------------------Danilo----------------------
----------Moutinho---------Paulinha------------
---B.Silva/Guedes---Andre Silva----CR7----

The back four stays the same. Really counting on Pepe's experience and maturity here. We all saw what happened back at World Cup 2014 when we faced Germany, his selfish and disgraceful behavior led us to a shocking 4-0 defeat and I thought he should have been banished from the team. Be prepared for Muller and his antics again.

Danilo put in an all around solid performance in the first match and we're going to need him again to help starve off wave after wave of German aggression. Moutinho gets the nod in midfield in order for us to maintain some possession. We cannot afford to defend for 90 minutes.. or else we lose. Paulinha will help switch the style up a little bit, he's actually taller than William and will need him to protect Guerreiro's flank against aerial attacks/set-pieces at all costs.

Guedes on the right wing because why not? Like Rafa, he's got a burst of speed but he's also more polished as a footballer in my opinion. I'd like to see Bernardo on the field but let's not waste our time again. Andre Silva up top - he should be familiar with German football and their style of play. CR7 will be motivated to score verses Germany, he's never done it and we all know Ronnie doesn't sleep until he breaks every record out there.

So, that's my line-up. Subs: Renato in for Moutinho around 60", Jota in for Andre Silva, and perhaps we see Felix or Gonçalves depending on how things go. Once again - I'll reiterate if it's the same line up.. we lose. Germany 2-0 or 2-1 Portugal. Portugal 4-0 Germany would be perfect though ;-)

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Germany were unfortunate v France who seemed to be playing for a tie. Thought the Germans were better going forward than France, better passers and more dynamic but they lost.

Germany will go for the win, they dont know any other way to play so...

Germany were unfortunate v France who seemed to be playing for a tie. Thought the Germans were better going forward than France, better passers and more dynamic but they lost.

Germany will go for the win, they dont know any other way to play so that should benefit Portugal and the counter but who knows at this level.

All I do know is watch out when you shake Joachim Low's hand, we have all seen where he likes to shove it during games!!! (bazinga!)

Down with za schnitzel, up bacalhau!

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Portugal will need to line up the double pivot of Danilo and William/R Sanches, you need to bring the physically to match the ball movement and physical attributes the German team will bring. You need a very disciplined back 4 holding their...

Portugal will need to line up the double pivot of Danilo and William/R Sanches, you need to bring the physically to match the ball movement and physical attributes the German team will bring. You need a very disciplined back 4 holding their shape with a double pivot, basically what France did they just have more quality. Do not play Neves in a game like this, he will get destroyed.

The other issue I see with this team is individual talent but too many duplicate players, this team lacks speed with skill. Example, we seem to have speed with Rafa but he lacks any skill or cutting edge against quality teams. We have some players with skill who are too small, lack speed, in the end a disjointed attacking team. Bruno F and B Silva should not play at the same time. In a game requiring counter attacking at an optimal level, I'm not sure we have the right mix. Last time you saw Portugal execute a counterattack against a quality team?

I know their are folks who like the energy and speed off the ball that Jota offers but another incomplete piece, the Jota that lacks composure, technical skills, and lacking the athletic attributes was on display with his petulant demeanor. I question if he has the ability to offer any brilliance against the Germans.

In summary, a team with individual talent with too many players of the same ilk, lacking speed and cohesion of former Portuguese sides will need to play a level up which I think is possible with the back 4 and the double pivot providing the emphasis to play well and keep us in this game. I do believe in our mental capabilities to endure and find a way to stay in the game. We just need a point in the next two games and then see what happens in knock outs.

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Its an odd yet inspiring feeling for me that the coach of the Portuguese national team is the individual I believe the most in to perform.

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Each big team of this group will qualify with 6 points.

Don’t expect anything today.

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Good.1-0. If it's going to be a win or lose,Portugal should watch this game after this and learn how to press and play.Lol.

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“It was a spur of the moment thing. Ronaldo laughed, it was a joke. It showed the warmth and spirit of friendship we have in the squad.”

João Palhinha
(Portugal midfielder on his "Ronaldo" celebration after scoring for Portugal against Luxembourg) 

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