In his second UEFA EURO 2020 column, the 2004 finalist discusses Portugal's "machine" and the team's mouth-watering games to come.
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The opening game
Portugal did what was expected of them and earned three points against Hungary. It was a game with two different halves. Portugal played well in the first half but failed to score, having missed two or three good chances. After the break, the team grew anxious as the clock ran down.
Hungary showed belief; however, Portugal managed to unlock the game as a result of the coach's changes. In particular, Renato Sanches and Rafa Silva offered different dimensions as Portugal attempted to infiltrate Hungary's defensive web – and in the space of ten minutes Portugal notched three goals; something they hadn't achieved before. The result was fair, and it has justified their label as favourites and proved their quality.
He's a machine! Cristiano already has us believing that, for him, nothing is impossible. He is highly motivated and we can expect him to give his all. He may have lost some pace and explosiveness but has gained a flair for different kinds of goals. His positioning is very important and he's been in the right place at the right time, something that is important for a striker. It's hard to find the words to describe what he has done. He's breaking records in almost every game!Download the EURO app
It will be a completely different game compared to Hungary. It's a more decisive match for Germany than for Portugal, who already have three points. Germany certainly won't want to risk not qualifying and will have to win some points. I believe it will be a more even game.
Germany are very different tactically, will try to make life hard for Portugal, and will naturally have more of the ball in certain periods. They have players who can make a difference including Joshua Kimmich, Toni Kroos, Thomas Müller, Kai Havertz and Serge Gnabry. Leroy Sané and Timo Werner didn't start against France, and I don't know if either of them will play against Portugal. Looking at these names alone, it will obviously be a very different game for Portugal.
That being said, Portugal have an excellent group of players and a very strong defence. I expect a balanced game, where details can make the difference.
A fantastic group
For those attending the game, it will certainly be a spectacle with two great teams. It's a match that looks like it should be in a more advanced stage of the competition. Both teams know each other well and know that if they expose themselves too much, there will be repercussions. Portugal are in a fantastic group! We've had France versus Germany, we now have Portugal versus Germany, and there's still Portugal versus France to go; three matches that could be semi-finals or even a final!Who needs what?