Germany and Portugal were both far from their best on Saturday evening, but the Germans were able to grind out a goal even though they were far from their best. Mario Gomez didn't have a terrific game and appeared to be on the verge of being substituted for Miroslav Klose when he finally struck in the 72nd minute, netting the winner for his team in a 1-0 victory.
The first half was largely uneventful, with Lukas Podolski failing to make the most of a couple of decent chances. Portugal didn't do much going forward, but generated the best chance of the half just before halftime on a corner kick, with Pepe hitting the crossbar. The ball bounced off the underside of the bar and hit the line, but never went over.
Germany looked slow by their standards in the first half, and didn't look much quicker in the second half. Mesut Özil tried to run the show from the center like he usually does for the Germans and for Real Madrid, but the three forwards in front of him weren't making the right runs, and Özil wasn't exactly at his best either. The Germany that showed up to play Portugal looked nothing like the Germany that destroyed Turkey and Belgium in qualifying, and as the game wore on, things looked more and more dire for the favorites.
In the 72nd minute, lightning struck. When all else fails, it's not a bad idea to just throw some bodies and some balls into the penalty area, and Germany found their goal on a hopeful move that fit that description. Sami Khedira provided the cross on the game-winner, swinging a ball towards the center of the box for Gomez. The Bayern striker hadn't done much to that point, but he rose up and met the ball with a great header, directed into the back of the net at the far post to put Germany ahead 1-0.
Portugal pushed for an equalizer and almost found it on a few occasions, but were denied by the woodwork, Manuel Neuer and the Germany defense. On one occasion, Nani managed to hit the crossbar with what appeared to be cross, but ended up looking like an odd, but effective shot. Neuer was forced into a late save on substitute Silvestre Varela, while Mats Hummels made a number of impressive clearances in the final 20 minutes of the match.
Germany have plenty to work on heading into their match against the Netherlands, but they still ended up grabbing the result that they were expected to produce. Depending on the result of that match, Portugal's match against Denmark could be a near must-win.