Lviv, Ukraine: A second-half header from striker Mario Gomez was enough to give Germany a 1-0 win over Portugal on Saturday in their opening Euro 2012 match.
After victories both in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 and the third-place play-off at the 2006 World Cup, this was the German’s third straight win over Portugal in major tournaments to give Germany a winning start in Group B.
“It was a really close game, but it has given us a good start,” said Germany coach Joachim Loew, whose team now face Holland on Wednesday in Kharkiv.
“We did well in defence, we worked hard which wasn’t the case in our warm-up game.
“We have work to do up front with the tempo, it was there in phases, but we have to be more consistent.”
For all that was written about the potent attacking threat posed by Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo, the Real Madrid star had a subdued night by his own lofty standards and he rarely got the better of his marker Jerome Boateng.
After Denmark’s shock 1-0 win over Holland earlier, victory give Joachim Loew’s Germans an early advantage in the pool, which has been dubbed ‘the group of death’.
“I am sad about the result, I felt we controlled the game and defended well,” said Portugal coach Paulo Bento. “We had bad luck when the ball hit the bar, while they had good luck with Gomez’s goal.”