Monday, 16 June 2014

Brazil WC 2014 - Germany vs Portugal, LIVE COMMENTARY:

Hello again everyone and welcome to my latest blog post, where I have a LIVE Commentary from the first group stage match in Group G, between two European heavyweights in the shape of Germany and Portugal.

Both teams will be desperate for a good start, seeing as the opening match is always the most important in a big tournament like this. There will be a lot of talent and quality on show from both sides this afternoon, which promises for another interesting game just like the Spain vs Holland and England vs Italy games on Friday and Saturday night respectively. 

16:10 - Here is the team line-ups ahead of the match, which has the potential to be one of the best out of the group stage matches this year: 

Germany team to play Portugal:
Germany - Neuer, Howedes, Hummels, Mertesacker, Boateng, Khedira, Lahm (c), Kroos, Ozil, Gotze and Muller.

Subs: Zieler, Grosskreutz, Ginter, Schweinsteiger, Schurrle, Podolski, Klose, Draxler, Durm, Mustafi, Kramer and Weidenfeller.

4-2-3-1 formation for the Germans, with Lahm sitting in the middle of midfield alongside Khedira in defensive-midfield.

Neuer starts in goal despite struggling with an injury of late, fellow Bayern team-mate Boateng is shifted into the right full-back position as Arsenal and Dortmund (respectively) defenders Mertesacker and Hummels are in the centre of a solid defence. 

Kroos on the right, Gotze on the left and Ozil in the middle of the attacking midfielders for Low's side - with Bayern midfielder converted striker Thomas Muller as the lone striker in an impressive team on paper. 

Portugal team to play Germany:
Patricio, Alves, Pepe, Veloso, Pereira, Coentrao, Moutinho, Meireles, Nani, Ronaldo (c) and Almeida.

Subs: Eduardo, William Carvalho, Vieirinha, Eder, Costa, Silva, Neto, Varela, Almeida, Amorim, Beto and Postiga.

The same sort of formation is used by the Portugese, but a 4-3-3 instead with Ronaldo and Nani on the wings to support Hugo Almeida up-top. 

Moutinho and Meireles to sit in midfield with Miguel Veloso just in-front of them, with the defensive-pairing of Pepe and Bruno Alves present again. 

16:25 - Real Madrid winger and one of the best players in the world in the form of Cristiano Ronaldo will be under intense pressure to deliver the goods today, despite shaking off knee and thigh injuries to start the match which could end up being risky as he may aggravate it. 

16:27 - The likes of Messi, Balotelli, Neymar, Robben and van Persie have already proved themselves so far in this tournament - so Ronaldo will be eager to get himself on the scoresheet and help his side to an impressive opening win.

16:29 - The full line-ups with substitutes will be posted closer to kick-off, just over 30 minutes before the first World Cup match of the day.

Argentina, Switzerland and France all won their games yesterday and if you want a quick recap you can look at it here: 

16:49 - A quick break from the World Cup, here are the latest transfer rumours in Europe today:

Southampton have confirmed that Ronald Koeman is their new first-team manager in the last hour.

Confirmed: Koeman has been announced as the new Southampton manager in the last hour
Costa Rica striker Joel Campbell has reportedly been told by Arsenal that he will get his chance when he comes back from his loan spell after the World Cup. 
Campbell has already wowed at this year's WC, scoring 1 and assisting another for Costa Rica

Spanish creative midfielder Cesc Fabregas has said the reason why he did not re-join Arsenal this summer was because The Gunners did not use their buy-back clause, based on the fact that they already have enough midfielders in their squad. 

He joined rival club and fellow Londoners Chelsea for a transfer fee of £30million pounds last week, much to the discontent of his former team Arsenal, where he spent 8 years.

Frowned upon: Fábregas has agreed a deal to join Chelsea after the World Cup

16:50 - Back to the World Cup, the teams are waiting patiently in the tunnel awaiting the referee's orders to walk out. 

16:52 - The camera pans on Ronaldo, who will be expected to play well today despite the fact that he is not at 100% fitness after suffering with knee and thigh injuries since his Champions League success with Real Madrid.

Ronaldo was seen limping with an ice-pack wrapped around his knee on Friday in training

16:54 - Both teams walk out of the tunnel, to a loud noise from both sets of supporters who are eager to see the world stars on display. Coming shortly. 

16:55 - First, it's the national anthems. Germany start. 

16:58 - Passionate from both countries, as they await the start of this big match.

17:00 - The referee blows his whistle, as Germany get the match underway. First game of the day, who will win? We will see.

1: Half-chance already for Germany, a great run by Boateng on the flank, crosses the ball into the box as his club team-mate Mario Gotze pounces on the delivery and heads towards goal.

Patricio looks tentative, but the danger is partially cleared away for a corner.

2: Corner comes of nothing, attempted cross is inaccurate and cleared away by Portugal who try to settle in the early going despite some intense pressure from the Germans so far.

3: Unlucky from Gotze who weaves past two players before finding himself in a tough situation as he is outnumbered inside the box before he tries to shape to shoot. Early start from Germany, they look dangerous.

4: Another half-chance, this time from Portugal. Ronaldo is given the ball near the flank and he feeds a through ball into the path of the oncoming striker Hugo Almeida, who is being covered by Hummels who sprints to get back - Almeida gets a shot off but it's not powerful enough and his effort is comfortably caught by Neuer.

5: They look dangerous on the counter, whenever Ronaldo is on the ball.

6: LET-OFF FOR GERMANY! Lahm loses the ball in a dangerous area of midfield and the ball falls to Ronaldo who runs at his man before having a strike on-goal. Neuer gets down and parries the strike before it is eventually cleared away.

7: LET-OFF FOR PORTUGAL! Almost straight after the Ronaldo chance, Portugal get the ball back and an attempted back-pass to goalkeeper Ruo Patricio catches the Sporting Lisbon man off guard and he scuffs the clearance, into the path of Real Madrid defensive midfielder Sami Khedira who takes an attempted shot from around 40 yards out, but the ball trickles past the post. Close.

9: PENALTY! Good play by Germany sees young Bayern star Gotze on the ball inside the box, he hesitates as he tries to get his shot away but he is dragged down to the ground by full-back Pereira.
Clear foul: Pereira drags Gotze down to the ground and gives away a penalty
Goal-scoring opportunity, the referee has no choice but to point to the spot. The Germans have the chance to break the deadlock after just 10 minutes of play.

The referee also shows Pereira a yellow card after the incident, but he is arguably lucky not to be sent off after he was the last man in what would have probably been a goal by Gotze.

11: GOAL! Muller steps up to the spot and after a minute of protests by the Portuguese players, cooly slots the ball into the bottom corner of the net, out of the keeper's reach. 1-0 to Germany.

13: Bursting run forward by Khedira with the ball, he gets close to Patricio but is challenged fairly by his Real Madrid team-mate Pepe who wins the ball for his team.

14: Germany deserve the goal, but remember this was the exact way that Spain were leading 1-0 against Holland on Saturday and ended up losing 5-1! Through an Alonso penalty, and lost it completely. The game has seen its first goal though now, easing a bit of pressure.

15: Half-chance for Portugal is snuffed out by the linesman, who puts his flag up for offside and a hand-ball after Almeida handles inside the area before cutting the ball back into Ronaldo's path.

18: Late tackle from behind by Nani, he chops Lahm down into the ground near the centre-circle but is not shown a card as it's his first offence of the match. Lahm was caught taking too long on the ball, and he will know that he will not have as much time or space in the future now.

20: Another late foul on Lahm, this time by Moutinho. The referee gives Germany a free-kick, and warns the Portuguese midfielder about how he approaches the match. 

22: Ronaldo is shoulder barged off the ball onto the turf after trying to skip past Muller and Boateng on the flank. No foul given, and the Real Madrid winger dusts himself down and is picked up by Boateng. 

23: They have defended well so far, they do not want to give Ronaldo any space today.

24: CLOSE! Nani picks up the ball from 25 yards out and has a stinging effort from range, the shot swerves just over the bar. The Manchester United man was unlucky there, a few inches lower and Neuer would have been tested.

25: Just shows that you cannot give Portugal any space on the ball, as Hummels slides in fairly but strongly on Almeida.

26: Almeida looks to be struggling after the challenge, he is limping uncomfortably and he may have strained his hamstring or ankle as a result of the tackle.

27: Portugal being forced into making their first substitution of the match, with Hugo Almeida being replaced by Braga striker Éder.

30: CLOSE! A fantastic darting run by Ozil, he sprints forward and finds team-mate Gotze who shoots towards goal but his inital effort is blocked by a sliding challenge as the ball goes out for a corner.

32: GOAL! Germany double their lead!!! An in-swinging corner is taken by Kroos, the ball falls to the head of Dortmund defender Mats Hummels who jumps highest and unleashes a power header past Patricio into the top corner of the net.
He couldn't stop that, 2-0 to Germany!

34: CLOSE! Portugal almost make it 2-1, Coentrao was in an offside position but he hesitates as he attempts to pass the ball across the box into the path of Ronaldo.

Replays show that the Real Madrid full-back was offside, but the play continued and he should have continued playing until the whistle was blown! Hummels gets back in time to clear away for a corner, danger averted.

36: RED CARD! Controversy again at the World Cup!!! A loose ball falls to Pepe in the centre of defence with Muller chasing him, the Bayern man attempts to win the ball and gets elbowed in the face by the Real Madrid defender who attempts to keep possession.

Muller goes down easily after being elbowed, before Pepe headbutts him in anger at the over-reaction, and the referee sends Pepe off!!
Pepe reacts badly after his elbow on Muller is over-exaggerated by the Bayern forward
Marching orders: Pepe is given a straight red card after his headbutt on Muller
37: Not needed by Pepe, that was un-called for and now Portugal are down to ten men. If they do qualify through to the knock-out stages, they will have to do so without their centre-back after this act of stupidity. Bad for the game.

39: The game gets underway again after the referee speaks to the players, Portugal now down to ten men after that moment of madness from Pepe.

43: Two-half chances from Germany, both orchestrated by Ozil who finds Gotze and Kroos - both cleared away by the Portugal defence who look weak when defending against the counter attack.

45: The fourth official signals for 2 minutes of stoppage time.

45+1: GOAL! And it's 3-0 before half-time! Muller with another goal, completes his brace after a nice touch and move inside the box before slotting past Patricio who probably should have done better with the effort, but Germany will not complain with that one.

45+2: The referee blows his whistle for half-time after two consecutive corners from Portugal, well defended as the threat of Éder is quashed by Hummels and Mertesacker. 

17:56 - Germany have thoroughly deserved their lead so far today, been comfortable on the ball and dominated in terms of chances, having clinically taken their chances and troubled the Portugal defence throughout with good link-up play between Gotze, Kroos and Ozil in midfield.

17:58 - Portugal have not had many chances, they need to keep passing the ball to Ronaldo and they'll eventually score, if they test the German defence. Hummels and Mertesacker have not had much to do, Ronaldo's pace will cause them problems if Portugal use him wisely.

Frustrating: Ronaldo has not had the service that he would have liked in the first-half
18:00 - It's been a frustrating match for Portugal, they need to keep the match at 10-men and try to get a goal back to make the match more interesting. Change the game tactically to improve, pressure their men and ensure that they keep their heads up.

18:04 - The teams have jogged back onto the pitch, ready for the second-half. Portugal are trailing by 3 goals to nil, and pending a footballing miracle they are virtually out of the match now. Germany in total control.

45: The referee blows his whistle to restart the match for the second-half, where Portugal have made their second substitution of the match - 

Portugal SUB: 
Miguel Veloso OFF

Ricardo Costa ON

48: An encouraging ball into the box by Coentrao, headed away by Hummels as Éder approaches him in the area.

49: If they were not already, Germany will be the favourites to top the group after this performance. 3-0 up against a 10-man team, the game has lost its competitive edge after Pepe's dismissal.

50: Another good run by Ozil, he is fed through by Kroos but his resulting shot is not decisive as his finesse shot is parried away by Patricio, into the path of Muller who can only head the ball over the bar. Goal-kick, could have been 4-0 there. Unlucky, but good play again by the Germans. 

52: Composed in possession are Germany at the minute, they are taking their time and enjoying this dominance. You've got to feel bad for Portugal.

56: Germany keep up the pressure as Ozil paces down the line, before passing to Khedira and back across into the path of Gotze who is closed down well by full-back Joao Pereira. 

57: Cameras show that Chelsea forward Andre Schurrle has stripped down from his German training kit and is now standing next to the substitutes' bench, getting ready to get involved in the action. 

58: Schurrle adds pace and attacking flair for Germany, even though they are 3-0 up he will provide more trouble for the Portuguese defence. 

59: Portugal have a free-kick in a dangerous position, and it's that man Ronaldo again after he is tripped from 25 yards out and falls to ground.

60: The resulting free-kick by Ronaldo is well blocked by the German wall, who jump at the right time to stop the Real Madrid man from getting an effort on Neuer's goal.

61: The heat seems to be getting to some of the players, a lapse of concentration from Portugal - losing the ball.

62: Germany make their first substitution of the match, with Ozil being replaced by Schurrle for fresh legs with just under 30 minutes to play. Ozil has played well today and got in-behind the Portugal defence throughout the match, making key passes and has been a bright spark for the Germans.

63: It looks bad for Real Madrid full-back Coentrao, who has appeared to have over-stretched to win the ball near the touchline. He has gone down straight away and is calling for the physio, he will not be able to continue.

64: Coentrao is stretchered off by the Portugal physio, he looks as though he has pulled his hamstring and his groin, which is unlucky. Hopefully he is well enough to stay in the tournament, a real shame if they are without him - one of the best if not the best Portuguese player on the pitch today.

A real shame: Coentrao is stretchered off in the 64th minute after pulling his groin
Portugal SUB:
Fabio Coentrao (injury) OFF 
Andre Almeida ON

65: 25 minutes to play and Germany could make more substitutions, they want more goals!

68: Good block by Mertesacker in the area to stand up tall and deny the oncoming effort from Nani on target, as the Germans counter and a long through ball is thread through into the path of the pacy Schurrle. 

The Chelsea man runs forward with the ball at his feet, he looks up and passes across the box towards the path of Gotze who turns to shoot on-goal.... parried over the bar! Patricio concedes a corner in the process, Germany look deadly on the counter attack yet again. 

71: Ouch! Another injury, this time for Germany as Hummels' knee buckles as he jumps highest to try and clear the ball away from Éder. Doesn't look good for the Dortmund defender, who has been solid today. 

73: Hummels does not need the stretcher, which is good as he limps off the pitch. Germany not going to take any risks though, a substitution in place - 

Worry: Hummels lies on the turf after his knee buckled when trying to win the ball in the air
Germany SUB:
Mats Hummels (injury) OFF
Shkodran Mustafi ON

75: Ronaldo protests with rage after a penalty appeal is waved play on by the referee, after Nani has a stinging shot towards goal parried by Neuer into the path of Éder who attempts to run towards the ball but is denied by a physical block off the ball from a German defender.

76: Portugal feel aggrieved, the crowd boos and the game continues. Still 3-0 to Germany, more goals to come? 

79: GOAL! And it's Germany again! 4-0 now, and it's getting ugly. A low cross into the box by Schurrle is parried straight into the path of Muller by Patricio, who slots the ball into the net as the keeper is on the ground and leaves himself unable to stop the shot from going in.

Perfect positioning: Muller was on-hand to tap past Patricio after he parried Schurrle's cross
Germany full value for their 4-0 lead so far, and the easiest hat-trick that Muller will have to score in his career.

81: Germany SUB:
Thomas Muller OFF
Lukas Podolski ON

Hat-trick hero Muller is replaced by Arsenal forward Podolski for the last 10 minutes or so, for his 115th international cap for Germany.

84: An ambitious free-kick effort from Ronaldo hits the wall, in a frustrating display for him and his team-mates today. Been shut out by a physical side who have dominated throughout.

86: Germany have had 55% possession, more passes and more chances than their opponents today. Less than 5 minutes plus stoppages to play.

87: Podolski isn't exactly happy after a decision does not go his way, he is fouled in the build-up to a potential chance and the referee tells him to get up, much to the discontent of the Arsenal forward.

90: Two minutes of stoppage time to be added on at the end of the match, Germany lead by 4 goals to nil.

90+1: Éder wins a free-kick for Portugal in a dangerous position, Ronaldo to take. Well-struck shot towards goal... GOOD SAVE by Neuer! He dived to his left and parried Ronaldo's stinging effort away to safety, as Germany keep their clean sheet.

90+2: The referee blows the whistle for full-time.

Germany take apart a weak Portugal side who were down to ten men after a reckless action by Pepe who left the defence vulnerable for more than half of the match. It was a great match to watch, and despite it being one-sided, the Germans were dominant and impressive throughout.

Job well done: Muller gives his manager a handshake when he is subbed after his hat-trick
Thank you for joining me today for this match, I appreciate all the support from daily views and will keep publishing the latest footballing content!

I will be back for more World Cup coverage and LIVE ation tomorrow, including match reports from the games still to be played today - 
Iran vs Nigeria and Ghana vs United States.

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