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Europe: European Championship
2 - 4
(1 - 2)
C. Ronaldo (15), R. Dias (35), R. Guerreiro (39), D. Jota (67)
K. Havertz (51), R. Gosens (60)

The conundrum that is still impossible to work out after Portugal win

By Matias Bengolo   @scpaderbornen

Germany defeated reigning European Champions Portugal in a dominant performance; why have Germany turned from a wasteful and submissive team to now a clinical, dominant team?
Robin Gosens was the star man as a resurgent Die Mannschaft rose above their critics and dominate the reigning European Champions.
Robin Gosens was the star man as a resurgent Die Mannschaft rose above their critics and dominate the reigning European Champions.
After Joachim Löw's Germany team slipped to an opening day defeat to France, many believed that Die Mannschafts downfall would be due to the Bundestrainer's arrogance and stubbornness to not change tactics. The latter proved to be successful against Portugal as Germany were utterly presiding for the most part.

Cristiano Ronaldo finished a classy Portugal counter-attack to give them the lead, Germany then started to move through the gears, forcing the Portuguese back with high pressure and eventually it resulted in a Rúben Dias and Raphael Guerreiro own goal.

Kai Havertz came into life. Some would blame the Champions League winner for Portugal's opening goal. For some reason, Löw had ordered the 6ft2in striker to hang back for Germany corners. He was suddenly faced with 3 Portuguese running at him, and could only watch on as Bernardo Silva floated an inch perfect cross to Diogo Jota who then laid it on a plate to the scorer Ronaldo. Havertz kept playing and on 35 minutes he forced the PFA Player of the Season, Rúben Dias into a miscued challenge which ended up with the ball in the net.

Germany never gave Portugal time to breathe. Nélson Semedo will not want to watch his performance again. Die Mannschaft hammered the left side and Robin Gosens ran riot as he provided chance after chance and eventually scored himself, too.

The Germany peformance tells us a lot about what they can achieve in this Euros: I think the question of if Germany can compete without a 'proper number 9' is answered as Kai Havertz can be the Raumdeuter and can elevate Löw's men. I don't think we can say for now if the 3-4-3 formation is correct, I do think it depends on the opposition. Nélson Semedo just could not deal with the doubling up of Gosens and Havertz on the left side, whereas Pavard dealt with the duo well.

Germany have shown they can succeed in this tournament, most importantly it was a must-needed 3 points and something to build on. Joachim Löw won't have as many critics going into the Hungary fixture on Wednesday, and we will see how Germany play against inferior but challenging opposition who still have something to play for after the impressive draw to France.

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