Euro 2008 Quarterfinals: Germany 3-2 Portugal - High-Scoring Thriller in St. Jakob’s Park
The Germans clinched a berth in the semifinals of the tournament after knocking out heavyweights Portugal in Basel today.
Germany will face the winner of tomorrow’s quarterfinal matchup between Croatia and Turkey on Wednesday, while Portugal head home and begin their search for a new manager for the upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.
Captain Michael Ballack’s header midway through the second half proved to be the winner in what was a heated contest between the two sides. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Miroslav Klose scored their first goals of the tournament for Germany, while Nuno Gomes and Helder Postiga also found the back of the net for Portugal.
The Portuguese had the first opportunity of the match in the 20th minute when right wing-back Bosingwa dribbled promisingly down right-hand side and crossed for Joao Moutinho, who managed to slip in behind the German defense but could not decide how to re-direct the ball and instead sent it off his knee over the cross-bar.
Germany opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when Lukas Podolski tore down the left side and crossed to Schweinsteiger, who appeared out of nowhere to tap the ball into the back of the net. Just four minutes later, Klose made it 2-0 to Germany when he latched onto a Schweinsteiger free kick and headed it past keeper Ricardo.
Portugal began looking desperate, launching a flurry of attacks with a sense of urgency absent early in the match, and their efforts paid off in the 40th minute when Nuno Gomes pulled one back, tapping in a second effort after Jens Lehmann denied Cristiano Ronaldo in a breakaway attempt and spilled the ball right for Gomes. Ronaldo nearly equalized just before half-time, driving down the left side and shooting just past the far post and out for a goal-kick.
Deco also nearly equalized for Portugal in the 52nd minute, finding the end of a through-ball from Nuno Gomes and sliding the ball in past Lehmann – except Deco was controversially ruled offsides, and the score line stayed 2-1 to Germany.
Ballack then made it 3-1 for Germany in the 61st minute off yet another German set-piece after another poor display of defensive marking from the Portuguese. Paulo Farreira seemed to have been pushed by Ballack before the Chelsea FC mid-fielder reached the ball, the the officials appeared not to have seen it, and Ballack effectively sealed the victory for the Germans.
Postiga pulled Portugal back to within one in the 87th minute, heading in a Simao cross between the two central German defenders from point blank range, but it was too little too late, and the Germans hung on against the ensuing Portuguese onslaught to end the game in their favor.
Portugal exit a Euro tournament in the quarterfinals for the first time since 1996. The Euro2004 runners-up lost in the semifinals to eventual winners Italy in 2000, and to Greece four years later on home soil – both with their current manager, Luis Felipe Scolari. This will be Scolari’s last game in management for Portugal, as he will now be moving onto lead Chelsea FC this upcoming season in England.
Tags: Euro 2008 , Germany , Portugal
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