Germany have taken a step towards the knockout rounds of EURO 2020. In their second game of Group F, Joachim Löw’s team defeated Portugal 4-2 after going behind early on.
Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 15th minute on the counter-attack, but his strike was cancelled out by a Ruben Dias own goal (35’). Just minutes later, another Portugal own goal gave Germany the lead, this time through Raphael Guerreiro (39’). Shortly after the break, Kai Havertz scored the third, before Robin Gosens' header made it four (60'). Diogo Jota then pulled one back for Portugal in the 68th minute.
Head coach Joachim Löw made no changes to the starting XI that faced France. Captain Manuel Neuer was in goal behind a back three of Antonio Rüdiger, Matthias Ginter and Mats Hummels. Joshua Kimmich and Gosens were the wingbacks, with a central midfield pairing of Ilkay Gündogan and Toni Kroos. In attack were Havertz, Serge Gnabry and Thomas Müller.
Both sides tested each other early on, with Germany enjoying the more promising start. Robin Gosens had the ball in the net after five minutes, but the goal was ruled out for an offside call on Gnabry. Just two minutes later Gnabry was involved again, but nobody could get on the end of his cross after some fine dribbling.
Germany pushed on and Portugal’s goalkeeper Rui Patricio was forced into action by Havertz’s low effort (9’), before Ruben Dias denied Kroos with a last-ditch block in the eleventh minute.
However, Portugal went ahead with their first clinical attack: a quick counter-attack after a Germany corner, Diogo Jota squared to Cristiano Ronaldo, who finished into the open goal. Germany's pressure dropped a little and the next chance went Portugal's way, Dias heading just wide from a corner (22').
Germany looked to bounce back as Gnabry crossed towards Hummels, but the ball was a little too high (25'). Much of the play took place in the Portugal half and Germany's pressure was finally rewarded. Müller's cross found Gosens, who played across goal first time. Centre back Dias looked to deny Havertz from finishing but his interception sent the ball into his own net to level the scores. Just minutes later, Germany were ahead. Havertz was unable to convert from Müller's pass, but Kimmich's cross was turned into the Portugal net by Guerreiro for another own goal.
The German attack kept coming and it was Havertz threatening again, but the number 7 saw his shot blocked (41'). With Germany often winning the ball in midfield, Gosens was the next to force Patricio into action just before the end of the half (44'), before Kimmich's rebound was blocked. The last chance of the first half fell to Gnabry on the counter-attack, but Patricio was on hand again to make the save (45'+3).
Portugal showed more commitment coming out of the break, but it was Germany who were in control. The first attack of the half proved fruitful, Müller finding Gosens on the left, who squared to Havertz in the middle and the 22-year-old finished from close range. Portugal’s answer was a free kick from Ronaldo, but he saw his effort miss the target over the bar (54’).
Germany’s build-up play continued to be successful and they soon had their fourth goal of the game through Gosens. Kimmich's cross was perfect and his fellow wing back headed home from close range to cap his strong performance with a goal. Immediately afterwards, Marcel Halstenberg replaced the goalscorer in a double change, with Emre Can also coming on for Hummels (62’).
Germany switched off at the back at a corner kick, allowing Ronaldo to play the ball back across goal, where Jota to turned it in on the goal line to reduce the lead. With the wind in their sails, the defending champions stepped up their attacking efforts. Meanwhile, head coach Löw made another double change, as Leon Goretzka and Niklas Süle replaced Havertz and Gündogan in the 73rd minute.
In the 78th minute, Germany were saved by the post: a well-struck powerful effort from range by Renato Sanches rattled the woodwork. At the other end Goretzka tried his own look from range but missed the target (83'). Leroy Sané replaced club teammate Gnabry in the final minutes (88’).