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Portugal 2-4 Germany: Euros ‘Group of Death’ blown wide open after six-goal thriller in Munich

·3-min read
 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The so-called ‘Group of Death’ at Euro 2020 is now wide open after Germany breathed life into their campaign in a six-goal thriller against defending champions Portugal.

After France were held to a shock 1-1 draw by Hungary in Budapest earlier on Saturday, just a single point now separates first and third positions in a stacked Group F with one round of matches to play following arguably the most entertaining game of the tournament so far in Munich.

Germany headed into another match on home soil at a sweltering Allianz Arena - home of Bayern Munich - desperately seeking to avoid a second successive defeat that would put their hopes of qualifying for the last 16 in serious peril after Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to tournament favourites France.

They made a hugely positive start to proceedings in Bavaria, with the ultra-impressive Robin Gosens finishing off Toni Kroos’ dangerous cross with a flying finish at the back post, only for the goal to be ruled out following a VAR check for offside against Serge Gnabry.

Kai Havertz, Kroos, Thomas Muller and Gnabry had further chances as Germany showed much-needed renewed attacking vigour before falling behind in the 15th minute completely against the run of play.

The goal came from their own corner, with Portugal springing a masterful counter-attack led by Bernardo Silva, who carried the ball purposefully before arrowing a terrific pass forward for Diogo Jota to expertly control and square for Cristiano Ronaldo to easily tap home with Manuel Neuer already committed.

It was Ronaldo’s 107th goal in 177 senior international caps, leaving him just two shy of Iran great Ali Daei’s all-time international goalscoring record. The Juventus superstar’s late brace against Hungary earlier this week had already seen him overtake Michel Platini as the leading scorer in European Championship history.

Liverpool’s Jota headed a pinpoint Raphael Guerreiro free-kick over the crossbar before things took an ugly turn for Portugal, who suddenly found themselves behind after two own goals in the space of just four first-half minutes.

The first came from Manchester City’s Ruben Dias, who could not help but guide Gosens’ stinging volley from a Matthias Ginter cross beyond Rui Patricio as he looked to stop Chelsea’s Havertz from scoring.

If that was not unfortunate enough, Guerreiro then shinned Joshua Kimmich’s pull-back from the byline into his own net to give Germany a 2-1 half-time lead that could have been more were it not for Patricio’s save to deny the relentless Gosens.

Per Opta Sports, Portugal are the first European nation ever to concede two own goals in the same match at a major tournament. Five OGs so far at Euro 2020 is already a European Championship record, with the second round of group stage fixtures yet to conclude.

Things went from bad to worse for the Euro 2016 champions when they fell further behind just six minutes after the interval, with Havertz sidefooting home Gosens’ cross from close range after an incisive German passing move.

That deficit worsened further on the hour mark, when Atalanta’s Gosens did finally get his reward for a virtuoso display by heading in Kimmich’s perfect delivery at the back post.

Rejuvenated Germany were then caught sleeping from a free-kick as Portugal set about teeing up a lively finish, with Ronaldo left unmarked to hook back across goal for Jota to tap in on the line.

Fernando Santos threw on the likes of Silvas Andre and Rafa in a bid to pull off a truly epic comeback, but they could not breach Germany’s defences again despite an absolute rocket from half-time substitute Renato Sanches that cannoned back off the woodwork with Neuer beaten.

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