3rd place for Germany

The first half produced three peaks of emotion among some flowing and passionate football: Pauleta had a golden opportunity after 15’ when he had only Kahn to beat, but shot weakly, Kehl’s strong shot was turned over by Ricardo after 20’ and four minutes later, the Portuguese keeper, the first in history to save three penalties in the shoot-out against England a week before, denied Podolski with a spectacular block.

After the break, Germany upped a gear and the 21-year-old Bastien Schweinsteiger exploded. On 56’, he danced round the Portuguese defence, taking the ball on the left and running across the goal to the right, ghosting past Petit, before unleashing a venomous shot from 21’ which Ricardo saw, but too late. Five minutes later, his free kick also a few metres from the right-hand side of the box cannoned in off Petit and after 78’, from the same place, he blasted a cannon into Ricardo’s goal.

Portugal had their chances, Deco’s shot being turned aside by Oliver Kahn after 62’; Nuno Gomes, on for Nuno valente after 61’, created a dangerous situation after 81’; two minutes later Kahn did well to block a Ronaldo rocket before Nuno Gomes justified his call-up by Scolari, despite being the third-choice striker, after 87’, converting a fine cross from Figo with a diving header.

Germany deserves the third place,Portugal achieved and confirmed a new cycle in the top five in world football. Both teams played seven games.



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