Germany and Portugal meet for their first match in Group G as the likely two teams to progress into the knockout stage. This however has not been a World Cup like we have seen for a while with attacking football and goals making the headlines. The match will be one of the early 5pm start matches at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador and there exists a number of question marks around the match, chiefly the fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Portugal struggled in qualifying and only reached the finals via the play-offs at the expense of Sweden in November last year and have since gone on to beat Carmeroon, Mexico and the Republic of Ireland but drew against Greece in May. Ronaldo is expected to play despite not being considered fully fit with tendonitis troubling his left knee.
Germany by contrast are a team that has hit a good balance of youth and experience and risk being labelled ‘nearly men’ if they don’t deliver on the huge promise that made people hail them as future champions. Joachim Low has been far from happy in the build-up however with injuries and below-par form making them far from convincing but still with hope of ending their own 18 year trophy drought.
Germany will have watched the majority of the contenders play and barring a few surprises, namely the Dutch and Italians they should be more confident going into their opening match of the tournament. On paper Portugal have a lot to be concerned about and lack anything like the same strength in depth. Philipp Lahm and Manuel Neuer have made timely recoveries from injuries picked up in the build-up.