Euro 2020: Germany trounce Portugal to open their account in style

Joachim Low's side capitalise on two first-half own goals to clinch a remarkable come-from-behind victory over the defending champions.

Germany players celebrate a goal against Portugal; Credit: Twitter@EURO2020
By Karthik Raman | Jun 19, 2021 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

A rampant Germany thrashed defending champions Portugal 4-2 to resurrect their Euro 2020 last-16 qualification chances. Started briskly, Germany’s early goal was ruled out for offside and were soon behind when Cristiano Ronaldo put Portugal ahead. Undeterred by the early disappointment, Joachim Low’s boys produced an incredible comeback to register their first win of the Euro 2020 on Saturday. The Germans benefitted from two first-half own goals from Ruben Dias and Raphael Guerreiro to change the momentum in their favour. Their impressive finish to the first half could have seen them extend their lead as cracks started to appear in Portugal’s defence.

Germany started the second half, the way they finished their first. Early goals from Kai Havertz and Robin Gosens put Germany in command. Just when Germany were threatening to run away with the game, Fernando Santos shored up Portugal’s backline to prevent them from conceding any more. The defending champions even pulled one back through Diogo Jota following an assist by his skipper Ronaldo, but it was nothing but a consolation. With all the teams in Group F playing two matches, France are at the top with four points, followed by Germany and Portugal with three points each. Hungary are sitting fourth after drawing the day’s early match against the World Cup winners France.

Remarkable turnaround

Billed as one of the tournament’s favourites, Germany had a less than convincing start to the tournament after losing 0-1 to Euro 2016 finalists France. More than the result, it was the performance that sent shockwaves across Europe. The Germans were lucky to lose the match by a slender margin. Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema’s goals were ruled offside, which otherwise could have resulted in an embarrassing scoreline for Germany. With their knockout spot on the line, Low’s team demonstrated their potential with a fantastic performance on Saturday.

Germany’s fast start was rewarded as they found the back of the net in no time when Gosens turned in Matthias Ginter’s cross at the back post, but an offside flag against Serge Gnabry left the hosts frustrated. Soon after, their frustration heightened when Portugal took the lead against the run of play. Bernardo Silva broke free from a Germany corner, found Jota with a diagonal cross into the box, and the Liverpool attacker redirected the ball into Ronaldo’s path for an empty net tap-in.

It was Ronaldo’s 107th international goal. He is now only two goals shy of former Iran striker Ali Daei’s tally of 109 international goals. The Germans came back into the match swiftly, thanks to two own goals in the space of four minutes. Ruben Dias trying to get ahead of Havertz deflected the ball into his own net before Raphael Guerreiro did the same from a Joshua Kimmich cut back. Things could have been a lot worse for Portugal as cracks started to appear in their defence and Gnabry almost benefitted from one such instance, only for Rui Patricio to make a brilliant save at the stroke of half-time.

One-way traffic

Germany started the second half the way they ended the first. Brimming with confidence, the hosts were attacking in numbers and Portugal were not able to hold for long. Gosens set up the third goal immediately after the break with an inviting ball that allowed Havertz to score from a close range. Following that, the Atalanta wing-back rounded off a fantastic evening by heading in Germany’s fourth goal. Jota pulled one back from Ronaldo’s cutback to reduce the deficit, but the defending champions were unable to start a comeback.

Renato Sanches’ thundering long-range strike, which hit the post, was the only time Portugal came close to troubling Manuel Neuer’s goal. Overall, it was a job well done for Germany and they will be confident heading into their final group match against Hungary. Portugal still has work to do, as they face World Cup champions France next.

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