Euro 2008: Germany Wins 1-0, Moves On to Face Portugal
It was simple for the Germans: they had to win or tie to move on, and a loss would send the favorites home after the group stage at Euro 2008.
Luckily, German captain Michael Ballack's 49th minute missile off of a free kick delivered the only goal of the game, allowing Germany to march on into the quarter finals to face Portugal.
Although they allowed just two goals in three games, the German defense must now tighten up even more as they face the world's best and most explosive player in Portuguese midfielder Cristiano Ronaldo.
They may also have to make some lineup changes, most notably replacing struggling striker Mario Gomez. Gomez has been held scoreless in the first three games after having an incredible club season for VfB Stuttgart.
His most obvious miss came in today's game, as he missed a wide open net from just three meters out.
The game may have ended with only one goal, but the Germans were dominant from the start. They dictated the play and had many more opportunities to score.
It will be up to Ballack and coach Joachim Loew to get Germany back into their pre-Euro form, because so far we have yet to see their brilliance.
As a huge fan of Germany, I worry if they can handle the offensive attack of Ronaldo along with Deco, but I think the Germans will figure something out. At least they better, otherwise they will be boarding a plane back to Deutschland much sooner than expected.
For now, the Germans can celebrate their first quarter final appearance since 1996, but must also look forward to Portugal.
The Portuguese will be well-rested as nine of their starters sat out the final pool game against the co-host Swiss.
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