Euro 2012: Gomez powers Germany to win over Portugal
A second-half header from striker Mario Gomez was enough to give Germany a 1-0 win over Portugal in their opening Euro 2012 match.
A second-half header from striker Mario Gomez was enough to give Germany a 1-0 win over Portugal on Saturday in their opening Euro 2012 match.
Gomez was moments away from being substituted, with Miroslav Klose already waiting on the touchline, when he rose to knock in a deflected cross from Sami Khedira in the 72nd minute.
After victories both in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 and the third-place play-off at the 2006 World Cup, this was the German's third straight win over Portugal in major tournaments to give Germany a winning start in Group B.
Portugal captain and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo had a subdued night by his own lofty standards and he rarely got the better of his marker Jerome Boateng.
Germany had the better of the opening exchanges.
With the Portuguese turning up the pressure, Holger Badstuber was booked for a foul on Manchester United's Nani with halftime approaching.
Real Madrid star Pepe came perilously close to putting Portugal ahead a minute before the break when his strike beat Manuel Neuer, but the ball deflected down off the crossbar onto the goal-line to bounce away from danger.
Pepe and Portugal could hardly believe their luck when the ball bounced barely an inch away from what could have been a goal.
Nani hit the crossbar in the 84th minute, the second time Portugal struck the frame in the match.
And Silvestre Varela shot straight at Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer from close range in the 89th.
Portugal created 11 chances and had seven shots on target, which was three more than Germany, but failed to find the back of the net.