Mario Goetze (R) of Germany with Lukas Podolski (L) and Miroslav Klose of Germany (Getty Images)
Salvador is bracing itself for a high octane encounter as the Germans take on the Portuguese in an all-European affair. Many football pundits have labelled the Germans as tournament favourites and its high time Joachim Loew’s side play to their potential. Their opponents on the other hand remain the perennial dark horses who always perform at the big stage. This mouth watering clash between the European powerhouses is sure to give an adrenalin rush to both sets of player as well as the fans.
Striker Miroslav Klose is on the verge of breaking Ronaldo’s record of scoring the most goals in World Cup football and the veteran striker will be motivated by the occasion. The 36 year-old Lazio striker is his country’s leading goal scorer and is Joachim Loew’s trusted man. Germany’s strength lies in their midfield with a variety of creative player. All eyes will be on Mesut Ozil who has been criticized for his performances of late. The likes of Lukas Podolski , Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos are young players with years of experience at the top level. The Die Mannschaft though are plagued with injuries to Manuel Neuer and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Both will have to pass a late fitness test in order to play the opener.The German defence will be tested against Cristiano Ronaldo and his team and Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng will have to be strong.
Football icon Cristiano Ronaldo is up and running for the Portuguese and his presence is a massive boost for the European side. Portugal needed a play off to cement their spot in Brazil. They have a group of underestimated players who generally tend to perform well in major tournaments.Pla yers like Joao Moutinho and Miguel Veloso have a strong presence in midfield. Their defence has experience with Bruno Alves and Pepe and will be a tough nut to crack. The tact of Coach Paulo Bento will be crucial in order to deal with the Germans and they remain an unpredictable side who on their day can upset the very best of the world.
PREDICTED LINE UP
Germany (4-2-3-1): Neuer, Boateng, Hummels, Mertesacker, Hoewedes; Khedira, Lahm, Kroos, Ozil, Podolski, Muller.
Portugal (4-3-3): Patricio, Pereira, Pepe, Alves, Coentrao, Veloso, Moutinho, Meireles, Ronaldo, Almeida, Varela.
MATCH PREDICTION: Germany have never lost an opening match in the world cup since 1990 and they have beaten Portugal in the last three encounter in major tournaments. They should overcome the Portuguese in Salvador but not before the Portuguese give a tough fight.
FULL TIME: GERMANY 2 PORTUGAL 1
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