This is THE match everyone wants to see – and we get to watch it on Day 2! This is why we love this tournament. It’s equivalent to Duke vs North Carolina in round 1 of the NCAA Tournament and the loser is very likely not to advance to the quarters. Match 4 pits Cristiano Ronaldo against his Real Madrid teammate Ozil as the two best players in the tournament go head to head in the Group of Death.
Why Portugal will win
- Ronaldo and Nani are the best pair of wingers in the world and can switch wings at any time
- Germany is unsettled at right back where Bender may replace Boateng who could be benched for disciplinary reasons. It’s a tall order for either of them to try and corral Ronaldo, especially if Schweinsteiger isn’t fully fit to help on the double team. An overlapping Fabio Coentrao puts additional pressure on the right side of Germany’s defense.
- Pepe and Bruno Alves are solid in the center of the Portugese defense and can neutralize the threat of Klose and Podolski.
- The Bayern Munich players still have a hangover from the Champions League Final defeat a few weeks ago.
Why Germany will win
- Khedira, Schweinsteiger and Kroos will corral Ronaldo, Nani and Postiga (or whoever starts at striker for Portugal) while Lahm will shut down the right wing. They will double team Ronaldo and Nani on the wings and Portugal’s weakness at striker will be handled by Germany. Neuer is one of the best keepers in the world and will pull off enough saves to to cover over the deficiencies in Germany’s central defense.
- Germany attacks with speed, experience and creativity through Podolski, Klose and Ozil. It will be too much for Portugal to handle.
- Germany has beaten Portugal the last two times they have met them in World Cup 2006 and Euro 2008 and their coach, Joachim Low, has been with them throughout this period. They know how to play tournament football and will be prepared with the right tactics.
Pre-match prediction: Germany 2 Portugal 1
Klose and Podolski score for Germany and Ronaldo pulls one back for Portugal. Ozil sets up both Germany goals.