The match kicks off at Noon ET. Here’s what you need to know before Germany and Portugal get the United States and Ghana’s “Group of Death” moving, an opening match as anticipated as any other in the group stage:
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Portugal: Patricio, Alves, Pepe, Veloso, Coentrao, Ronaldo, Moutinho, Almeida, Meireles, Nani, Pereira.
Germany: Neuer, Howedes, Hummels, Khedira, Ozil, Muller, Lahm,Mertesacker, Kroos, Gotze, Boateng
1. Is Cristiano Ronaldo healthy and can be contained? He’s perhaps the best player in the entire world, but how healthy is Portugal’s captain? Is a 75 percent Ronaldo better than a 100 percent replacement? How about 90 percent? 60?
“I would be the first to tell the coach if I were unable to play, I would never put my career at risk even for a World Cup. I’d love to be 110 percent and but I am 100 percent and that is enough to help my team.
”Obviously I wish I did not have any pain, but that is impossible. I don’t think there’s ever been a day without pain.”
Cue the Morrissey.
2. Are Germany’s injury problems worse than Joachim Low is letting on? Bastian Schweinsteiger was airlifted out of training for a medical check. I repeat: airlifted.
“It was just a formality,” the Germany coach explained. “Fifa require all players with reported injuries to be checked out for insurance reasons.
“Sami Khedira, Philipp Lahm and Manuel Neuer were all scanned in Munich, but Bastian was not so he had to get it done out here. His knee problems are completely resolved – it was simply an extra check at Fifa’s request.”
No big deal?
Expectation: A very entertaining match where individual brilliance can meet total team defending, as Low may opt against using a traditional set of backs.
One blogger’s prediction: Goals! And I’ll pick a win for my predicted champions. Germany, 4-2.