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Por - Eng (3-2)
Rom - Por (0-1)
Ger - Rom (1-1)
Eng - Ger (1-0)
Lothar Matthaus plays his 150th international for Germany against group winner,
Portugal. The German captain has played in many big games in his career and right now,
this is his most important. It's a game Germany must win and hope that Romania beat
England by less goals than the Germans.
Matthaus, 39, has been blamed for Germany's
current crisis, although the problem is with the Bundesliga; they don't have enough
homegrown talent. And if they do, the youngsters are not getting the first team experience
required to step into the game at international level.
Germany, like England, have many foreigners in
their domestic league. While this may be exciting for the fans, young talent is not being
nurtured and encouraged to train for local clubs. The big clubs now have large
bank-balances and want quick results. Many of them forget about planting the seeds of
youth, preferring to pay for a star with a name to come stright into the first team.
Portugal, on the other hand,
have had a very good youth team at international level and this is starting to bear fruit.
They are a very skillful side and exciting to watch when they're going forward.
Against England, they showed great character
to come back and win 3-2; after being two goals down in the first eighteen minutes.
Romania did a good job of containing Portugal, but let their concentration slip in the
last seconds of stoppage time, when Figo's free-kick found Costinha in a crowded Romanian
penalty-area. The substitute for Rui Costa had only been on the pitch for a little over
five minutes, but he headed his country into the Quarter-finals.
Portugal can relax in this game, as they
already know their opponents will be Turkey in the next round. But Matthaus is going to
have to rally his troops for one more disciplined battle, and hope that luck goes their
way in Charleroi. Even if Germany win, a meeting with Italy in the Quarter-final is out of
What a cap to Lothar's career, who now plays
in the American MLS, if Germany get yet another stroke of luck.
2-Jorge Costa, 3-Rui Jorge, 5-Fernando Couto, 16-Beto Severo
6-Paulo Sousa, 11-Sergio Conceicao, 15-Francisco Da Costa
18-Pauleta Resendes, 9-Sa Pinto, 19-Nuno Capucho
10-Lothar Matthaeus, 3-Marko Rehmer, 4-Thomas Linke, 6-Jens Nowotny
14-Dietmar Hamann, 7-Mehmet Scholl, 13-Michael Ballack, 18-Sebastian Deisler
5-Marco Bode, 19-Carsten Jancker
Referee: Dick Jol (Holland)
The European champions lost to a Conceicao hat-trick and couldn't even get one goal past
Portugal's reserve goalkeeper, Pedro Espinha.
The Portuguese were already guaranteed first
place in the group but didn't take things easy at all, in their final group match against
Portugal may have fielded a side of second
choice players yet it just goes to show how talented they are and Germany aren't. The
German machine was running out of oil and started to squeak.
Germany were without Bierhoff, Babbel and
Jeremies but thought their luck was in when Romania took the lead against England, in
Charleroi. Sometimes it takes more than luck to win a game; getting the ball in the back
of the net does help. Germany couldn't do that.
Just after the half hour, Marco Bode raced
into the Portuguese area, only to see his shot rebound off the post; the angle too tight.
Four minutes later, Portugal were in front.
Pauleta Resendes getting behind the German defence on the left to cross; just before Marko
Rehmer's sliding tackle. It looked like the ball took a deflection.
Oliver Kahn was covering his front post as Conceicao came in unmarked at the back to head the
dipping ball home. The goalscorer and Oliver Kahn both tumbled into the net as well.
Janker had a shot saved just before half-time,
but the Germans were clearly missing Oliver Bierhoff.
Six minutes into the second half, Bode saw his
header saved before Portugal went on to extend their lead at the other end.
Sergio Conceicao again. This
time he was going it alone, past two defenders and with Hamman to his right; unleashed a
shot that almost skimmed off Ollie Kahn's right leg. A nightmare for the Bayern keeper.
Fernando Couto jumped on Conceicao's shoulders to celebrate. They were probably doing the
same in Lisbon too.
But the party wasn't over for Conceicao or Portugal. In the 71st minute, the
Lazio midfielder turned to celebrate his hat-trick and victory against the European
Champions. Capucho had provided the pass, and Oliver Kahn was left doing the splits.
Sa Pinto should have scored two as well, as
Germany fell apart completely. Portugal way too fluid.
Portugal 3 -- Germany 0
Man of the Match:
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