Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Die Deutschen

With Michael Ballack's booming free kick giving Germany a 1-0 victory over Austria in Vienna yesterday, the Germans are now set to face Portugal in the round of eight on Thursday in Basel. Germany have looked shaky and sometimes confused in their three games while Portugal looked fantastic in its first two games, before sitting most of its starting eleven for the meaningless finale against Switzerland.

The winner of the Germany-Portugal match will play the winner of the Croatia-Turkey match that takes place on Friday in Vienna. Clearly the Germans would love another chance against Croatia and either team has to be seen as inferior to Portugal.

Look for Germany to possibly make a move involving Mario Gomez who has been largely disappointing through the group stage. His complete blunder at the net early in yesterday's game could have really cost the German side their quarterfinal position if the Austrians had any more of an attack.

Germany should have Bastian Schweinsteiger back in the lineup after missing the Austria match due to a red card awarded him in the Croatia match. This should be a big help as there are doubts as to the fitness of Lukas Podolski as he is suffering from a calf injury.

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