Germany vs. Portugal, 2014 World Cup: A primer for new fans

This game sees two late arrivals everybody's desperate to see: one of the best teams in the world, and the best player in the world finally make their entrance in the 2014 World Cup.

SB Nation's 2014 World Cup Bracket'

Germany are probably the last real giant of the tournament to wake from their slumber and get in on the action, so there'll be an intense interest in this game to see if their squad finally looks capable of winning a tournament. But as well as great teams, World Cups are about great individuals, and this game will also see Cristiano Ronaldo make his entrance.

It's not quite a clear-cut case of great-team-vs-great-player, as Germany have some problems and Portugal aren't entirely a one-man team, but that only serves to make it more interesting.  Germany have a few injury worries, so nobody's exactly sure what team they'll be sending out, which could complicate matters somewhat. Portugal will still be the underdogs, but when you have Ronaldo on your team, no game is unwinnable.

Playing styles

Germany have won plenty of praise for their attacking, exciting style. While keeping the ball is important, they don't take it to religious levels like Spain do, and are slightly more of a counter-attacking team that likes to use width and pace to hurt their opponents as well. They have their fair share of playmakers from Toni Kroos to Mario Gotze, and they'll be hoping this is the tournament where they can go all the way and get the job done.

Portugal's style, meanwhile, largely consists of a single order: Give it to Ronaldo. That's quite sensible, as when Ronaldo has the ball, the opposition goal is in danger. But generally they'll look to play on the counter, using Ronaldo as the main focal point of their attacks as well as the main outlet for moving the ball out of defence, while the likes of Joao Moutinho will try to remain free to deliver the killer pass.

Germany's stars

There's a lot to choose from. Mario Gotze and Toni Kroos will have important roles, and while Marco Reus will be injured, that should only give more room for Thomas Muller to do his thing. The Bayern Munich forward was one of the breakout stars of the 2010 World Cup, and he'll be looking to have another good tournament here.

There are others - Mats Hummels in defence has been linked to a host of big clubs, while the older players aren't too shabby either. Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose might not seem like world-class players, but they always get the business done for Germany, and Klose needs just two goals to become the all-time top scorer at the World Cup.

Portugal's stars

Cristiano Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo. The beauty about Ronaldo in this context is that, if you were going to have a one-man team, Ronaldo is the sort of player you would want that one man to be. He doesn't even need anyone else. He can take people on, beat anybody for pace, beat anybody in the air, and score from ludicrous angles and distances. Even if Portugal don't show up, as long as Ronaldo does, they have a chance.

Elsewhere, however, they do have some other good players. Pepe will be asked to provide his typical all-action defending to keep the team's backline together, while Joao Moutinho will be responsible for switching the play in midfield. If Portugal are to counter-attack successfully, they'll need the Monaco midfielder to be at his best.

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