Ronaldo blames 'bad luck' for Portugal's slip-up in Lviv
GROUP B GERMANY 1 PORTUGAL 1:GERMANY AND Portugal have both been charged by Uefa following Saturday’s Group B game. The German Football Association has been called to account over the behaviour of its country’s supporters, who threw missiles on to the pitch and let off smoke bombs at the Arena Lviv.
Portugal, meanwhile, face action over a delayed kick-off to the second half, but that was the least of their concerns after defeat left them facing a pressure game against Denmark on Wednesday.
It was not until after Mario Gomez’s towering header beat Rui Patricio in the 72nd minute that Portugal attacked with real menace, although that was not the view of Ronaldo.
“In the second half they had virtually one chance, and we hit the bar twice and had some big opportunities,” said the Real Madrid forward.
“[There was] a lot of bad luck and a lot of frustration because we knew we deserved more. We have been playing well for several games and just haven’t had the luck with our finishing.
“It’s not due to efficiency. I think the main reason has been a lack of luck. Anyone who watched the match will have seen that we were better than Germany and the chances speak for themselves. But now we have to pick ourselves up. We have to take as an example 2004, when we also started with a defeat but then reached the final.”
For Germany, the overwhelming emotion was one of relief. They had lost their way in the second half and Gomez was close to being withdrawn when he converted Sami Khedira’s cross.
“I have had a good feeling since the first day I came here and so I was able to repay the coach,” the Bayern Munich striker said. “It was clear that Miro [Klose] would be brought on for the last couple of minutes. I thought I would get a last chance, and I took it.”
Germany will go into the game against the Netherlands on Wednesday in a much better state of mind than their opponents, who lost 1-0 against Denmark. “We can now release a little bit of the pressure and focus on our next game,” said Holger Badstuber. “For the Netherlands, it’s do or die.”
Defender Mats Hummels said:
“Anything but a win could mean they are out so it is one of those classic finals for them,” he said.
“For us the only possible answer is that we want to win and take a big step forwards.
“It will be a really intensive game, not just because of the group situation, but also because of our history and healthy rivalry.”
Hummels was a rather surprising inclusion in the German side as he was picked over the experienced Per Mertesacker at the heart of the defence.
His solid performance was not only a thank you to coach Joachim Löw for the faith shown but, as he explained in Gdansk yesterday, it was an answer to those who were so quick to criticise him after Germany were beaten 5-3 by Switzerland just a fortnight ago.
“After one game, whether good or bad, you should not draw too many conclusions,” he said. “This was my way of reacting. I did not feel there was any great need to add any words to my performance last night.”
The Borussia Dortmund defender will also follow his own advice in not reading too much into his own performance.
“You have got to prove yourself over and over again,” he said. “It was great to have the faith and it is important for a player that you feel you are needed, but that does not make me a starting regular.”
That is particularly true given the difficulties the German defence had in the last 10 minutes of the game, as Portugal frantically searched for an equaliser.
“We lost the ball too quickly too often and did not hold possession long or efficiently enough,” added the 23-year-old. “We were lucky and we know that. We have got to pay more attention in future, but you have also got to consider the quality of our opponents.
“When they risk more, then of course it is harder to deny them chances. We did keep them down to a few chances, like Nani’s blocked shot or Manuel [Neuer]’s save from Varela, but even those should not have happened.”
And those final 10 minutes have given Hummels and the German rearguard a taste of what they can expect on Wednesday against the Dutch.
“I presume Holland will attack more than Portugal did,” he predicted. “There will probably be more chances in that game, but also more for us too.
“With [Arjen] Robben, [Ibrahim] Afellay, [Wesley] Sneijder and [Robin] van Persie, they have excellent attacking players.
“And then there is [Klaas Jan] Huntelaar . . . He and van Persie are probably among the top eight in the world . . . players like them don’t need many chances to score. We have got to get the balance right.”