Rewind, Euro 2008: Germany's exciting win in a five-goal thriller against Portugal

Germany progressed to the semi-finals of the Euros for the first time since 1996, as goals from Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose and Michael Ballack secured a 3-2 victory over Portugal.

Germany recorded a thrilling win in an exciting encounter. (Image Credit: Twitter)

Germany are set to take on Portugal in an exciting Group F encounter of the 2020 edition of the Euros, with the clash set to take place in Football Arena Munich which is located in Munich. The latter are off to a winning start in their league campaign, having recorded a 3-0 triumph against Hungary. However, Germany suffered a defeat in their opener against France with the Euro 2016 finalists emerging victorious by a 1-0 margin. There is a lack of confidence in the camp with many slamming the absence of spirit and initiative shown. The same team which slammed goals for fun at one stage struggled to get shots on target which is a massive area of concern. In such a scenario, Germany’s 3-2 win over Portugal in the quarterfinals of the 2008 edition of the Euros will present some perfect motivation.

The Germans progressed to the semi-finals of the popular football tournament for the first time since 1996, as goals from Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose and Michael Ballack secured victory in Basel. It is interesting to note that the Mannschaft ended up lifting the Henri Delaunay Cup that year, which reflected in the manner in which they raised their game to take on Portugal who refused to give up at any stage. The Portuguese did their best in order to halve a two-goal deficit twice through Nuno Games and in the dying minutes, Helder Postiga.

Aerial superiority helps Germany dominate

Germany’s aerial superiority played a huge role in determining the course of the game with headed goals by Miroslav Klose and Michael Ballack, bringing alive the worst fears of the Portuguese coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. The team had finished as semi-finalists in 2000 and runners-up in 2004, which would have raised hopes of Scolari breaching the final frontier in the 2008 edition. However, Portugal were left in a state of panic by their opponents who impressively overcame a poor performance in the first stage to deliver the goods when it mattered the most.

Interestingly, Scolari’s players seemed most likely to find their stride with Simao making some darting runs down the right. The footballers offered the first threat on goal with Bosingwa’s cross witnessing Joao Moutinho steering the ball over at the near post with his knee, having been caught in two minds. However, they conceded the opener in the 22nd minute following a wonderfully worked goal, after some swift passing between Philipp Lahm, Ballack with Lukas Podolski advancing the ball down the left. The former Arsenal attacker burst clear to drive in a low cross which Schweinsteiger converted with a sliding finish. The ex-Bayern Munich footballer seemed like a man on a mission, with manager Joachim Low reminding the midfielder of the “debt” to his teammates after his red card against Croatia.

Schweinsteiger played a key role in the second goal as well, drifting a free-kick into the Portugal box with Miroslav Klose heading the ball past Ricardo. Captain Nuno Gomes scored the opening goal for Portugal five minutes before the break, after Raul Meireles replaced the injured Moutinho.

Simao’s crossfield ball sent Ronaldo racing clear of Per Mertesacker down the inside-left channel with Gomes the first to the rebound, striking first time into the net via the foot of Christoph Metzelder. The goal was Gomes’ sixth goal on the European stage over three tournaments. The scoring span has only been achieved by Jurgen Klinsmann, Thierry Henry and Vladimír Smicer before him.

Ronaldo came very close to an equaliser moments before half-time, flashing the ball past Lehmann just wide of the post. The effort was followed by Deco finding the net shortly after the interval, but the same was ruled out as an offside. The little midfielder then flicked on a Simao corner to set up Pepe. However, the defender failed to convert. Ballack scored the third and final goal for Germany in the 61st minute, shrugging off Chelsea FC team-mate Paulo Ferreira and Ricardo following another Schweinsteiger free-kick to head home. Scolari attempted to get the two goals which would have forced the game into extra time, sending on Nani and Postiga. The pair combined to ensure a nervy finale when the latter headed in from Nani’s left-wing delivery to score the second goal for Portugal. However, the glimmer of hope was soon extinguished.

“had a bet and said we would score from a set-piece”

Germany assistant coach Hans-Dieter Flick stated that he had a bet with regard to the team scoring from a set piece.

“I had a bet and said today we would score from a set-piece. There were two of them, so maybe I should double the stake. I was certain we would score from a dead ball as Portugal take risks in those situations. We have so many players who are very good in the air and we showed we’re excellent from set-pieces,” he said as quoted by UEFA.

Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari expressed his disappointment as the team had the quality to reach the semi-finals.

“We had assigned certain players to mark Ballack and other German players, but at free-kicks our players went with different players and Germany made the most of it. I am the main person responsible for us not being in the last four because I choose the players and the tactics. I am very disappointed because we had the quality to reach the semi-finals but in a decisive game like this we made mistakes in concentration,” he concluded.

Sportslumo Desk

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