The big games are coming thick and fast now and Saturday afternoon plays host to another absolute cracker from Group F, as Germany welcome Portugal to Munich’s Allianz Arena.
The last meeting between these international giants saw a Thomas Müller hat-trick, as Joachim Löw’s side kicked off their 2014 World Cup winning campaign with a 4-0 demolition of A Seleção.
A lot has changed since then though, for both teams. Reigning European Champions Portugal have gone from strength to strength under Fernando Santos, and haven’t tasted defeat at the Euros in nine years.
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Their opponents, on the other hand, have lost four of their last five games at major international tournaments – the latest of which was a dismantling by France on Tuesday evening.
Die Mannschaft were toothless going forward and looked vulnerable in their untested 3-at-the-back set up. Les Bleus may only have actually managed one shot on target, but better decision making on the night could have seen them two or three up without ever really being tested defensively.
Portugal, meanwhile, fought hard for a 3-0 win that was simultaneously deserved and flattered them somewhat. All three of their goals came (like buses) within the last 10 minutes, when Ronaldo and co had waited all game, leaving Hungary feeling hard done by after a resolute performance.
The Man in the Middle
The official for this big occasion is Englishman, Anthony Taylor. The Premier League referee awarded just 76 yellows and three reds in 28 domestic games last season, but showed cards in all but one game.
The Mancunian’s biggest draw is his penalty rate, giving 18 in 31 Premier League/Champions League games – as well as already pointing to the spot in his opening game of Euro 2020.
In that game, Denmark v Finland, he was praised for his quick-thinking and awareness when attending to Christian Eriksen – recognising the situation immediately.
The Bet Builder
While researching for this piece I can across an interesting price discrepancy. Bet365 are 6/5 for Diogo Jota to have Over 1.5 Shots, while some other bookies are as short as ⅙.
The Liverpool forward has taken 22 shots in six international starts (3.67 per game), as well as averaging over three per game when starting for his club side last season.
It’s why he makes up the first part of my 10/3 BetBuilder, which also includes Portugal or Draw Double Chance and Germany Over 0 Cards.
I was surprised to see the Germans were such favourites for this game, and I think it’ll be tough for them to take all three points against an organised Portuguese defence that has only lost three competitive games in the last three years – especially considering they’ve lost three of their last five themselves.
Finally, I’ve added in Germany to receive a card. They’ve been at a bit of a premium so far in this tournament, but Portugal’s opponents usually pick up a few and Germany are no strangers to bookings either.
They’ve received a card in each of their last nine competitive fixtures (2.0 per game), whilst Portugal’s opponents have seen yellow in seven straight – at an average of 2.43 per game.