The 2014 World Cup is now at full speed and promises even greater excitement on Monday when Germany lock horns with Portugal at the Fonte Nova arena.
Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to start in Portugal’s opening World Cup Group G game against Germany in Salvador.
Despite his successful comeback against Ireland, Ronaldo limped out of training on Thursday with a suspected recurrence of a knee injury.
However, Portugal’s goalkeeper Eduardo has allayed fears over Ronaldo’s match fitness – insisting that their talismanic captain will be ready to face Joachim Low’s side.
For Germany, there were concerns over Bastian Schweinsteiger’s fitness after the midfielder was airlifted to hospital on Saturday.
However, the Bayern Munich man is expected to be fit for the game on Monday as the medical visit was just a check-up of his knee, having injured it in a training camp in South Tyrol last month.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is set to start in Salvador having returned to full training earlier in the week.
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Germany 1 (Gomez) Portugal 0, Euro Championships, June 2012
Portugal 2(Gomes, Postiga) Germany 3 (Schweinsteiger, Klose, Ballack), Euro Championships, June 2008
Germany 3 (Schweinsteiger 2, Petit og) Portugal 1 (Gomes), World Cup, July 2006
Both sides have played a total of nine times – before and after the Berlin Wall. Germany won the lion share of five matches whereas Portugal only won one game in the Euro 2000.
Both teams were undefeated in their last three warm-up matches but Portugal finished second in their qualifying group behind Russia and had to overcome Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Sweden in the play-offs.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the all-time top scorer of Portugal with 49 goals in 111 international appearances.
Germany striker Miroslav Klose became the top scorer in Germany’s history when he scored his 69 goal against Armenia. He now has a golden opportunity to make history and become the all-time top scorer in World Cup history as he is just two goals away from surpassing Brazilian star Ronaldo.
These are two of the best teams in the world, with Germany among the World Cup favorites and Portugal having arguably one of the best players in the world in Ronaldo. This will be a match to watch.