Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his second team goal during the Euro 2020 football championship group F match between Hungary and Portugal at the Ferenc Puskas stadium in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, June 15, 2021. [Bernadett Szabo/Pool via AP]

Germany will need to come up with an attacking plan that can work against Portugal today after their Group F opening loss to France has put them under pressure from the very start of the European Championship.

The Germans have looked more solid at the back of late, and despite a Mats Hummels own goal against world champions France, had done a decent job at containing as much as possible one of the world’s best frontlines with Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema.

Germany coach Joachim Loew, in his last tournament in charge, is unlikely to tinker with his three-man backline but their attack showed only brief signs of life against France.

Given their poor conversion rate in the past two years, the Germans will need to improve dramatically if they are to get full points against Portugal.

Germany are currently in third place without points in Group F after losing their first ever Euro opening game, with Portugal and France on three. Hungary are bottom after their 3-0 loss to Portugal.

Playing with Serge Gnabry in a forward role and Kai Havertz and Thomas Mueller on the wings did not work for Loew’s team, with winger Gnabry struggling to find any breathing space in and around the French box.

He had one good chance before being replaced in the 74th minute by Timo Werner, who also failed to have any impact.

“Germany are missing their punch, they are taking too few risks. There is too little activity in attack,” said 2014 World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger, now a TV pundit.

Not even the introduction of Leroy Sane breathed new life, leaving the coach to try and solve his attacking conundrum.

“If we can be more vigorous up front, we will be able to beat Portugal,” Loew said.

Germany coach Joachim Loew. [REUTERS/Matthias Hangst]

That is easier said than done with Kevin Volland the only out-and-out striker in the squad.

Holders Portugal do not share Germany’s attacking problems, with skipper Cristiano Ronaldo becoming the top scorer in Euro finals history after netting twice in their 3-0 opening win over Hungary to take his tally to 11.

He may have never scored against Germany keeper Manuel Neuer at international level but with his current form few would bet against him ending that run on Saturday.

Elewhere, Spain showed a real lack of cutting edge in their opening 0-0 draw with Sweden but there is little chance of them veering from their usual strategy when they face Poland in their second Euro 2020 match today.

Spain made a tournament record 917 passes against Sweden but failed to muster a goal from 85 per cent possession of the ball as they struggled to find a way through their opponents’ rigid defensive lines.

But coach Luis Enrique has proudly pledged to adopt the same tactics against Poland, saying “we try to play the same way in every match” and the only change he will ask of his players is to be more clinical in front of goal.

Striker Alvaro Morata became a scapegoat for the Seville crowd when he missed a one-on-one against Sweden yet it would be no surprise to see the famously stubborn coach keep faith in the forward.

His team mates have been doing their best to keep Morata’s spirits up.

“All of us are responsible for attack and defence and he made some very good interventions in defence. I grew up with him and he’s a spectacular player, his numbers show that,” midfielder Pablo Sarabia told reporters on Thursday.

Poland will be equally keen to improve on their showing after losing 2-1 to Slovakia.


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