HERZOGENAURACH, June 17 — Germany will aim to shut down Cristiano Ronaldo on Saturday with the hosts under pressure to beat holders Portugal in order to get their Euro 2020 campaign back on track.
After losing their opening game 1-0 to France on Tuesday after a Mats Hummels own goal, Germany badly need a win in Group F — and to stop Ronaldo adding to his phenomenal goal tally.
The Portuguese superstar has now netted a record 11 goals at five European Championship finals after scoring twice in Portugal’s 3-0 win over Hungary in Budapest.
With 106 goals in 176 games for Portugal, he is three short of the all-time international record, set by Ali Daei who scored 109 goals for Iran between 1993 and 2006.
The Juventus forward has never scored against Germany in four previous attempts, the most recent when Portugal were swept aside 4-0 at the 2014 World Cup.
The Germans hope to deny him again at Munich’s Allianz Arena.
“I don’t watch videos of his ‘best-of’ clips,” centre-back Matthias Ginter, who will be tasked with containing Ronaldo, joked today at Germany’s base in Bavaria.
“I’ve already played against him once or twice with Dortmund.
“He’s still one of the best strikers in the world and has now scored two goals, so you have to be careful, but we’re looking forward to playing against him.”
The Germans know all too well that Ronaldo is not the only threat in the Portugal team.
Eintracht Frankfurt striker Andre Silva scored 28 goals in the Bundesliga last season and is part of a squad rich in attacking options.
“It would be a mistake to focus completely on Cristiano Ronaldo,” added Ginter, with Portugal’s Premier League trio of Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Jota and Bernardo Silva all also capable of winning games on their own.
Ginter says Germany are eager to raise the tempo and attack Portugal, as an analysis of the previous game showed the French “left us spaces, which we sometimes were too slow” to exploit.
Joachim Loew’s side are confident of turning things around.
“We have a great team and a lot of quality,” said Ginter.
“It wasn’t our worst game against France, but we can do more - and that’s the good thing. We believe we can win on Saturday.” — AFP