Portugal will be looking to book their spot in the knockout round of the European Championship with one match to spare when they take on Germany in Munich on Saturday evening.
Fernando Santos’s side opened their Euro 2020 campaign with a 3-0 win over Hungary, but Germany have work to do in Group F, having suffered a 1-0 loss to tournament favourites France.
Portugal were actually level with Hungary approaching the final stages of Monday’s contest in Budapest, and it did appear that it would be a frustrating start to the section for the reigning champions.
However, Raphael Guerreiro made the breakthrough in the 84th minute of the contest before Cristiano Ronaldo came up with a late double – one of which was from the penalty spot – to make it a three-goal success for Portugal and ensure that he would become the all-time leading goalscorer in European Championship history.
Santos’s side will head into Saturday’s clash knowing that a win would book their spot in the last-16 stage of the competition, while they would confirm a position in the top two if they triumph and Hungary do not overcome France in Group F’s other contest on the same night.
A Selecao have a strong overall record in this competition, reaching the semi-finals in 1984, 2000 and 2012, while they were present in the final eight of Euro 1996 and Euro 2008. Portugal were also runners-up on home soil at Euro 2004 and are, of course, the holders, having beaten France 1-0 in the final of Euro 2016.
Santos’s team are now on a seven-game unbeaten run in all competitions, but they have lost each of their last four international fixtures with Germany, including a 4-0 defeat when the two teams last locked horns at the 2014 World Cup.
Germany, meanwhile, will enter this key contest off the back of a 1-0 defeat to France on Tuesday, with an own goal from Mats Hummels deciding the contest in Munich.
In truth, it was a disappointing performance from Joachim Low’s side, who struggled to create opportunities, and it will be fascinating to see whether there are any changes for this clash with Portugal.
Die Mannschaft will be unable to finish in the top two positions if they lose this match and Hungary do not beat France, but third, which could potentially bring a spot in the round of 16, would still be open.
Germany will be desperate to bounce back on Saturday, though, as they bid to qualify for the knockout round of the European Championship for the fourth time in succession. Having won the tournament in 1996, the Germans then failed to make it out of the group stage in 2000 and 2004.
DFB-Elf finished as runners-up at Euro 2008 before making the semi-finals in 2012 and 2016, though, and it would not be a surprise to see them advance deep into this competition despite their issues against France.
Portugal European Championship form:
Portugal form (all competitions):
Germany European Championship form:
Germany form (all competitions):