Joachim Löw was delighted with Germany's start in a competition he equates to a Formula 1 race, though he admits he was moments from bringing Mario Gomez in for a pit stop.
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Joachim Löw was delighted to kick off with a win as Mario Gomez's goal proved to be enough to win Germany their Group B opener against Portugal, but while the result was a disappointment for his opposite number, Paulo Bento could not fault his side's commitment.
Joachim Löw, Germany coach
The European Championship is like a Formula 1 race without the warm-up. You have to make a good start and get off the grid straight away; there are no easy games. You have to win your first match and we did. Both teams were quite tense, especially after the Denmark v Netherlands game as for the loser it means knock-out competition from here on in.
Both teams were great in defence. We were much more compact at the back than we have been of late. We could have attacked better and we can work on that but the three points are the main thing. The back four were all very good, really vigilant and no balls got played behind them – tactically we were on the ball. I'm really pleased with that.
Gomez has played all season, scored lots of goals and tonight he had one chance, one goal. I wanted to bring [Miroslav] Klose on two minutes before he scored but it took a while to make the change – Gomez had run all evening and I needed to bring on someone fresh. Games like these are so intense that before you have to bring on fresh legs.
I told the guys at half-time that we had to up the pace. Portugal were breaking up our rhythm and eventually we picked it up. It is so intense, and if you make a mistake you will be punished – one chance, one goal – it was important to avoid the risky pass. It was about finding a rhythm, avoiding carelessness. At the end of the day it's winning that matters and we did. We can see where we need to go now. Germany have three points, Denmark have three points so it's good for both of us. But the onus is on the losing teams to recover so we have to be wary of the Netherlands.
Paulo Bento, Portugal coach
I'm sad about the result – it was a complicated game but we knew it would be. I thought we were stronger overall in the first half and even when Germany were in control we defended well. Late on we gave it everything to create chances but couldn't score. We thought we were in total control but had very bad luck when Mario Gomez scored from that deflected cross.
We reacted really well, playing as we can and creating a lot of chances. We couldn't score but, as I've said before, you can play for a win and still lose. That's football. We need to continue what we're doing regardless.
It'll be crucial now that the players recover physically. When you play like we did against Germany you lose a lot of energy. Denmark are sitting more comfortably than we are but we can't do anything about that, only concentrate on the second game. We came here to go through to the quarter-finals and while some considered Denmark the weakest team in the group, we never did. We're not surprised they beat the Netherlands today.
Tonight we did quite well and just lacked a goal – we will try to do that in the next game. The Danish team has pedigree and real personality. We have won just one of our last four meetings [3-1 in qualifying for this tournament] and will have to raise ourselves for that match.