Germany vs Portugal: A contest or a walkover?


A well-oiled machine will take on a one-man army in this fierce battle. It is a usual belief that the better team always wins. But anything can happen in football.

Germany and Portugal will face-off in the first game scheduled for Group G. Broadly speaking, there are 3 Groups of Death for this World Cup. Group B, Group D and Group G are all hailed as being Groups of Death. And Germany vs Portugal will kick-start the last group into one of the two scenarios: their dreaded spiral to glory, or eternal damnation of no-knockouts.

However, this game might be decided sooner than it kicks-off with an injury list that is sure to shape the teams’ destinies. Marco Reus is ruled out of the entire tournament from an ankle injury and will not kick a ball for Germany in this World Cup. Prior to this game, there are shadows hanging over the fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo, the star-studded Ballon d’Or-winning captain of Portugal. Having completed the pre-tournament friendly matches, he pulled up an injury in training and faces an if-and-maybe situation to start this game based on coach Paulo Bento’s decision: Should risk the player in this game, or save him for the ties against Ghana and the USA? Doubts also hang over the fitness levels of the midfield generals for the German team, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira. Neither may start the match with pre-match reports suggesting that coach Joachim Low is opting to keep them out of the squad for the opening game of their campaign. Manuel Neuer was also doubtful to start the game with a niggling shoulder injury but has passed a fitness test and should be available.

Germany is expected to stick to their 4-2-3-1 formation with a makeshift back-four. Mats Hummels and Per Mertesacker will stronghold the central defensive positions while Benedikt Howedes and Jerome Boateng will fill in at left-back and right-back respectively. The central midfield positions will have the dependable Philipp Lahm start alongside Toni Kroos, who Joachim Low tends to favour. The attacking midfield positions will have Mesut Ozil down the middle, Lukas Podolski on the left flank and Mario Gotze on the right flank. Thomas Muller will be the lone target man.


Portugal is expected to start with their favoured 4-3-3 formation with Rui Patricio in goal. The goalkeeper will have the protection of a stable defensive back-four of Joao Pereira, Pepe, Bruno Alves and Fabio Coentrao. Either of Raul Meireles and Miguel Veloso will occupy the sole defensive midfield position or will alternate during the course of the game while Joao Moutinho will provide the attacking impetus from midfield. Nani will start on the right wing with Cristiano Ronaldo on the left if he does happen to start. Hugo Almeida will start as the striker.


Howedes will probably be the weak link in the German defence as he starts at left back. Portugal is well-known for their effective wingers and will look to hurt the German defence with their trickery and pace. Hummels will require to dog up-and-down the defensive third to cover for Mertesacker who may fall back on the pace of the game with Almeida’s darting runs and Moutinho’s effective passing. On the other hand, Germany will look to capitalise on their excellent team-play and understanding. Kroos will look to feed in passes to the attacking midfielders when they are in space. Muller will drop to the flanks and provide crosses to allow Podolski and Gotze to drift infield. Gotze might fancy his chances from long range as well.

Portugal will be hopeful of starting Ronaldo to better their chances for this game. But considering the difficulty they may face to reach the knockout phase, they may be wise to rest him and give him a chance to recover for the next two group matches.

On form, Portugal holds the advantage having won 6 of their last 7 international fixtures as opposed to Germany who has won 4 of the last 7. However, in a head-to-head comparison of 9 games in international competitions, Germany has won 5 while Portugal has only managed a single victory. Another statistic in Germany’s favour is that they have won their opening fixture in every World Cup since 1990.

This is Germany’s 100th game in the World Cup tournament and they will look to make an impact. If Portugal do not call up the services of Cristiano Ronaldo, it would be difficult to imagine Germany not winning this game with a 2-goal margin.

Sean Sequeira

Arsenal supporter through thick and thin. Idolizes Thierry Henry. Considers football to be much more important than life. Other passions including movies and music.