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Germany's Michael Ballack against Portugal
© dpa-Bildfunk
Germany beat Portugal to reach semis

June 20, 2008

A five-goal thriller ended with Germany, 3-time European Championship winner, booking their place in the last four of the European Championships for the first time since 1996.

The Germans beat pre-match favourites Portugal 3-2 thanks to goals from Bastian Schweinsteiger (22.), Miroslav Klose (26.) and Michael Ballack (61.). Nuno Gomes (41.) and Helder Postiga (87.) netted for Portugal.

The victory sets up a meeting in Basle next Wednesday with the winners of Friday's clash between Croatia and Turkey.

Schweinsteiger on song

Following a cautious start, Portugal nearly went in front on 20 minutes, Simao escaping Christoph Metzelder to connect with a cross from Bosingwa with an effort that flashed just wide.

Germany's response, however, was emphatic. A sweeping move involving Philipp Lahm, Lukas Podolski, Ballack and Lahm again ended with Schweinsteiger rattling the back of the net. It was the first significant contribution of an excellent display from the FC Bayern midfielder, back after serving a one-match suspension for being red-carded against Croatia.

Four minutes later, he delivered his second: a free-kick that found the head of Klose, who duly dispatched his 40th goal in 79 internationals.

Ronaldo turns up the heat

At 2-0 down, the Portuguese rapidly dispensed with the wait-and-see approach. Cristiano Ronaldo moved into a more central role and gradually picked up his game. Five minutes before half-time he stole in behind Per Mertesacker and got off a shot that Jen Lehmann blocked, but Gomes was on hand to mop up the rebound and get Portugal back into the game.

Decisive third

With an hour on the clock, Germany restored their two-goal cushion courtesy of Michael Ballack. The captain got on the end of another Schweinsteiger free-kick, exploiting some slack marking, and the Portuguese had it all to do again.

They continued to keep the Germans on the back foot, and were eventually rewarded with a fine header by Postiga. That came too late to save them from defeat, however, against a disciplined German side who clinically exploited the chances that came their way.

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© 2008 DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH
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