EURO 2008 Day 13 Round-up: Germany Demonstrate Title Credentials

الجمعة، 20 يونيو 2008 - 19:02

كتب : Hatem Maher


Germany proved that they are still a force to be reckoned with at EURO 2008 after booking their place in the tournament’s semis at the expense of Portugal.

Portugal were widely tipped to emerge winners from Thursday’s quarter-final game as Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men impressed during the group stage.

On the other hand, Germany, who were billed as pre-tournament favorites, were far from convincing and had to advance as Group B runners-up behind Croatia.

But against all the odds, the three-time European champions were able to oust Portugal.

Bastian Schweinsteiger scored a goal and dished out two assists for Miroslav Klose and Michael Ballack to help Germany go through.

Man of the Day: Joachim Loew

Germany coach Loew’s tactical switch made the difference for the Mannschaft.

He deployed two holding midfielders in Simon Rolfes and Thomas Hitzlsperger in order to give inspirational captain Ballack a much freer role.

His tactics paid off as Germany contained Portugal's talented midfielders. They also managed to expose Portugal's defense, which looked shaky in set-pieces.

"Our display against Austria it was clear that we had to make changes," Loew said after the game.

"We wanted to close down space and switch quickly from defense to attack, and we managed to do that."

Ballack also highlighted the impact of Loew's tactical switch.

"Today the team has shown what it is capable of when it is playing freely," he said.

Goal of the Day: Schweinsteiger for Germany

Schweinsteiger's opener for Germany in the 22nd minute was a result of a swift passing move involving Ballack and Lukas Podolski.

Ballack released Podolski with a neat pass. The Bayern Munich man controlled the ball and darted down the left flank.

He then provided a low cross for Schweinsteiger, who shrugged off a tame challenge from Paulo Ferreira to slot home from close range.

"I don't feel relief, I feel tremendous joy," the 23-year-old said.

"I can't really describe what went through my head when I scored. But it was, of course, great to score the opener."

Quote of the Day: Ronaldo's Real wish

Right after Portugal's EURO exit, Cristiano Ronaldo was quick to affirm his desire to join Spanish champions Real Madrid.

The in-form winger is apparently looking for a new challenge after helping Manchester United win the Premiership and the Champions League last season.

"The possibilities (of going to Real) are big but it doesn’t depend on me and because of that I don’t want to talk about it," he told reporters after the match.

"Some time ago, before this competition. I didn’t want to say anything because we were in competition and these are important decisions."