This is the Germany we’ve grown to expect. This was not the Germany Portugal wanted to run into at Euro 2020. Robin Gosens — not Cristiano Ronaldo — was the star man in Saturday’s critical Group F clash, setting up two goals and scoring once to help Germany thrash Portugal 4-2 in Munich.
After a run of poor results, Die Mannschaft reminded us all of their quality with the best performance thus far at Euro 2020 for any team not named Italy. And it was a player based in Italy who provided the impetus. Gosens, a versatile left wingback/midfielder/defender, is a one of the few Germans playing in Serie A, having helped Atalanta become one of Italy’s top clubs.
On Saturday, former Barcelona right back Nelson Semedo was completely incapable of keeping up with Gosens, whose attacking drive epitomized a Germany that looked more like the 2014 World Cup champion than the team that lost to North Macedonia in World Cup qualifying earlier this year. No wonder Barça swapped Sergiño Dest for Semedo.
Germany vs Portugal Highlights — Euro 2020 Group F
Germany was flying early on, but it was Ronaldo who struck first. His defensive header on a corner kick started a counter that ended with Diogo Jota squaring to him for a 1-0 lead inside 15 minutes.
A bit shell-shocked after dominating the early proceedings, Die Mannschaft eventually regained control and poured forward with marvelous attacking verve.
Gosens, who had an early goal called back because Serge Gnabry was offside, created Germany’s first goal when he volleyed a cross toward Kai Havertz, only for defender Rúben Dias to turn the ball into his own net.
Germany led 2-1 at halftime thanks to a second own goal in four minutes, this time the right wingback Joshua Kimmich’s cross accidentally shinned in by Raphaël Guerreiro.
The first 15 minutes of the second half belonged once again to Gosens.
Not content with the one-goal lead at home, Jogi Löw’s men continued to search for more. Once again, Gosens sent a first-time ball back across the face of goal and this time Havertz beat his defender to the ball to make it 3-1.
Gosens then got on the scoreboard himself, rising well to meet a masterful cross from Kimmich to make it 4-1.
The goal was Gosens’ final contribution, as he was soon subbed off to a standing ovation from Germany supporters. While arguably the least known of Germany’s starters, he had the biggest impact on Saturday.
Robin Gosens’ game by numbers vs. Portugal:100% tackles won
78% pass accuracy
46 touches — 6 in the box
3 shots [3 on target]
2 chances created
Outstanding. ⚽️️ pic.twitter.com/JIufPHBoHf
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) June 19, 2021
But the match was not yet won.
Ronaldo is never going to stop pushing for goals, and he helped his team pull one back in the 67th minute. As Germany’s entire defense stopped to watch, Ronaldo swooped in at the back post to keep the ball alive on a free kick, lobbing the ball across for Jota to make it 4-2.
The pass — which may have actually been a shot — gave Ronaldo eight assists in Euro history, equaling Czech Republic’s Karel Poborský for the all-time mark. Ronaldo’s first-half goal extended his lead atop Euro’s all-time scoring chart with 12.
Renato Sanches blistered the woodwork with a shot in the 79th minute to maintain the pressure on Germany, but Portugal couldn’t find that third goal to really threaten the lead in the closing minutes.
Renato Sanches pic.twitter.com/x0a1b7X6I5— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 19, 2021
Germany’s impressive win sets up a fascinating final day in Group F. The group of death is currently topped with four points by France, which beat Germany 1-0 but tied Hungary 1-1 on Saturday. Germany and Portugal are tied on three points, though the Germans own the head-to-head advantage and play Hungary on the final match day. The Magyars have one point, still alive against all odds.