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EURO '08: Germans storm past Portugal
by Mike Woitalla, June 20th, 2008 7AM
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[GERMANY-PORTUGAL REPORT CARD] Germany regained its favorite status by downing Portugal, 3-2, in the first quarterfinal of Euro 2008. The Germans came out on all cylinders and took a 2-0 lead on goals Bastian Schweinsteiger and Miroslav Klose before the Portuguese scored five minutes before the break. Despite taking better charge of the game in the second half, Portugal fell further behind on Michael Ballack's 62nd minute header and didn't strike back until the 87th minute.

Schweinsteiger, on red-card suspension for Germany's dismal performance in a 1-0 against Austria to clinch the quarterfinal spot, poked home Lukas Podolski's low cross - after a one-two with Ballack - for Germany's first goal and set up the other two with free kicks from the midfield.

Schweinsteiger's goal in the 22nd minute came shortly after Joao Moutinho missed a golden opportunity for Portugal. Unable to decide whether he should meet Bosingwa's cross with a diving header or a shot, he let the ball bounce high off his thigh.

Miroslav Klose, leading scorer at the 2006 World Cup, headed home Schweinsteiger's 26th minute free kick.

Nuno Gomes narrowed the deficit by shooting past Jens Lehmann after the German keeper's deflection of a shot from Cristiano Ronaldo.

German captain Ballack, who scored the winner against Austria, had his best game of the tournament and capped it with a header after Schweinsteiger replicated the free kick that set up Klose's goal.

Ballack cleared space for himself by pushing his Chelsea teammate Paulo Ferreira out of the way in an action missed by the referee.

Although the Portuguese dominated possession in the second half, they relied on futile long-range shots.

Helder Postiga hammered home a 87th minute header from Nani's cross to make it 3-2 but the Germans held on.

Soccer America's Mike Woitalla grades the players.

Germany Player Ratings
GRADE PLAYER (CLUB) GP/G
6 Jens Lehmann (Arsenal) 59/0
5 Arne Friedrich (Hertha Berlin) 59/0
6 Per Mertesacker (Werder Bremen) 47/1
6 Christoph Metzelder (Real Madrid) 45/0
5 Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich) 45/2
9 Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich) 54/14
6 Simon Rolfes (Bayer Leverkusen) 11/0
9 Michael Ballack (Chelsea) 85/38
6 Thomas Hitzlsperger (VfB Stuttgart) 36/5
7 Lukas Podolski (Bayern Munich) 52/28
7 Miroslav Klose (Bayern Munich) 79/40
Subs:
5 Tim Borowski (Werder Bremen) 33/2
nr Clemens Fritz (Werder Bremen) 18/2
nr Marcell Jansen (Bayern Munich) 25/1

Portugal Player Ratings
GRADE PLAYER (CLUB) GP/G
3 Ricardo (Real Betis) 79/0
5 Jose Bosingwa (Porto) 11/0
4 Pepe (Real Madrid) 7/1
4 Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea) 46/4
5 Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea) 51/1
3 Joao Moutinho (Sporting) 17/1
5 Armando Petit (Benfica) 57/4
5 Cristiano Ronaldo (Man. United) 58/21
6 Deco (Barcelona) 59/4
6 Simao Sabrosa (Atletico Madrid) 64/15
7 Nuno Gomes (Benfica) 72/29
Subs:
6 Nani (Man. United) 16/2
5 Ricardo Quaresma (Porto) 24/3
7 Helder Postiga (Panathinaikos) 34/11


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