Paris (AFP) – Germany are under fierce pressure ahead of a crucial Euro 2020 game against Portugal on Saturday as world champions France seek a place in the round of 16 and Spain are aiming for a first victory, after their failure to get past the 2018 World Cup group stage, Joachim Loew’s Germany lost 1-0 to France in their Euro opener and another loss to the defending champions would again leave them facing early elimination.
The Germans have the home advantage in Munich, but recent performances will see them struggling to win the last heavyweight clash in Group F.
Despite this, Loew – who will retire at the end of the tournament – believes his team can rise to the challenge.
“The pressure is always the same no matter who we play against, and we can handle it,” Loew told reporters on the eve of the game.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal arrive on German soil after a convincing 3-0 victory over Hungary in Budapest and another victory will secure them a place in the round of 16 ahead of their last group outing against France.
However, veteran Portugal coach Fernando Santos warned: “You can’t compare Hungary to Germany and we have to be prepared for whatever throws at us. “
– Ronaldo considers more story –
Ronaldo will be in the spotlight again after becoming the top scorer in European Championship history with a brace against Hungary leaving him with 11 goals in five tournaments.
With 106 goals in 176 games for Portugal, Ronaldo is just three goals off the all-time international record set by Ali Daei who scored 109 goals for Iran between 1993 and 2006.
“Cristiano Ronaldo cannot win games on his own, so everyone has to play their part,” Santos warned.
France kept their promises as pre-tournament favorites in their 1-0 win over Germany, and World Cup holders are expected to build on that against Hungary in Saturday’s opener. , at 1:00 p.m. GMT in Budapest.
“If a team is worth 900 million euros and us 60 million euros, you will probably see that difference on the pitch,” admitted Hungarian coach Marco Rossi as he considered the prospect of facing Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba.
Hungary is expecting a crowd approaching 60,000 at Puskas Arena, the only Euro 2020 venue without capacity restrictions due to Covid-19.
“Supporting a full stadium is an advantage for the Hungarians, it helped them a lot in the first match,” said France coach Didier Deschamps.
In Saturday’s other meeting, all eyes will be on the Spanish strikers as Luis Enrique’s failed side face Poland in Sevilla in Group E.
The 2008 and 2012 European champions were held to 0-0 by Sweden in their opener, while the presence of Robert Lewandowski could not prevent Poland from losing 2-1 to the to Slovakia in their first match.
Spain striker Alvaro Morata has been taunted by his own supporters against Sweden but is expected to retain his place.
“At the international level, there is only one who beats him, it is Harry Kane”, insisted Luis Enrique while defending his player.
– Scotland denies England –
Scotland produced a moving performance on Friday to keep England to a 0-0 draw at Wembley in Group D, as the former enemies faced off in a major tournament for the first time since the Euro 96.
Scotland were well worth their first point, with captain Andy Robertson saying: “I think we should have won the game. “
The draw brings England closer to the last 16, but their fans – in a crowd of 22,500 at Wembley – were not impressed with Gareth Southgate’s side.
“It wasn’t our best performance, but it’s another point closer to qualifying and it’s our ultimate goal,” captain Kane told ITV.
England are tied on four points with the Czech Republic, who drew 1-1 with Croatia in Glasgow as Patrik Schick’s first-half penalty was canceled by Ivan’s excellent goal Perisic in the 47th minute.
In St. Petersburg in Group E, Sweden beat Slovakia 1-0 with a late penalty from Emil Forsberg to rise above their opponents in the standings.
Meanwhile, Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen was released from hospital on Friday following “successful surgery” nearly a week after suffering cardiac arrest against Finland.
Doctors said Eriksen, 29, would have a heart defibrillator implanted to regulate his heartbeat, casting doubt on his ability to replay.