Mario Gomez celebrates his goal against Portugal.
Here are my observations and thoughts following Germany's 1-0 win over Portugal in Group B of Euro 2012:
A surprisingly tight defensive match
There had been 12 goals scored in the previous three Germany vs. Portugal matches.
Portugal had conceded the most goals in qualifiers for any of the 14 teams to qualify on the pitch. Germany had scored the most.
Despite holding the lion's share of possession for most of the match, the German attack was pretty much frustrated by the Portuguese defense. The Portuguese attack was (aside from Pepe hitting the underside of the crossbar just before halftime) equally as quiet.
That is until...
Mario Gomez rewards manager Joachim Löw for his faith
It was a bit surprising that Joachim Löw inserted Mario Gomez in the starting lineup instead of Miroslav Klose, who has a history of being a prolific scorer in big international tournaments (more so the World Cup than the Euros).
When Gomez (aside from a 12th-minute header that was saved) was rather quiet in the first half, it looked like Klose would make an ideal early second-half sub. But Gomez made the most of his chance in the 70th minute to give Germany the victory.
Cristiano Ronaldo was pretty much a non-factor
While Portugal's star was not completely shut out of the match, Jerome Boateng got the better of him in his one-on-one matchups.
Cristiano Ronaldo really only created two chances, one of which forced a save from Manuel Neuer.
Germany could make their path to the final much easier
Next up for Germany is the Netherlands.
A victory for Germany would not only (in all likelihood) eliminate the 2010 World Cup runner-up, but could ease their road to the final by eliminating a team they could see in the the semifinals (and certainly, talented enough to reach that stage).