So far in this 2014 FIFA World Cup the big clashes have not disappointed, indeed only raising hopes of plenty more ridiculously attacking action to come. Next up on the World Cup big clash plate is Germany vs Portugal – a well-oiled machine against a team spattered with individual brilliance.
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The big match in Group G is scheduled for a 1 pm local time (9.30 pm IST, 5 pm BST, 12 pm ET) start with live coverage on Sony Six and and Sony Six HD in India. The match can also be watched online via live streaming in India HERE. Catch the match in the UK on ITV and BBC with the live streaming option HERE or HERE. US viewers can watch the game on ESPN while you can also live stream the action HERE. Viewers in Australia can watch HERE online, while South Africa viewers can catch the match HERE.
So, on paper, Germany vs Portugal at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador looks like being a humdinger – a clash of two teams who like to go forward, with plenty of goals looking likely, which would then keep this goal-fest of a World Cup in Brazil just rolling along smoothly.
"You can sense a rising tension and expectation," said Germany coach Joachim Low, itching to see his side strut their stuff on the field. "A bit of emotion kicks in and everyone gets excited when they see the stadium, the pitch; feel the atmosphere. We can sense now we are in the fever of the World Cup."
Germany, who have nine wins in 17 matches against Portugal, with the latter managing just three wins overall, have a great recent record against Paulo Bento's men, having picked up victories in three of the last four major international tournaments.
The Germans have defeated Portugal at the 2006 World Cup, Euro 2008 and Euro 2012; so Low's men will go into the first Group G encounter with recent history behind them and the confidence that comes with it.
"In the last year we have shown we can draw on lots of talent and if we perform in this tournament with a passion and a resolve, then I think we'll be a difficult team to beat," Low said. "We've got a high level of quality. We've got a good chance to go far.
"It's our task as coaches to make sure the team maintains a high level of performance over the four weeks. I also believe the extra days of preparation we've had have been able to add to the team spirit. They are a much tighter bunch. It is usually difficult to get that spirit going with the national team who don't get together for months at a time."
Portugal will like to prove they are not a one-man show at this World Cup. Too many times, Cristiano Ronaldo has had the bear the brunt of expectations on his own, and it is time for the likes of Nani, Joao Moutinho and co. to help reduce the burden on their superstar, while Pepe's presence at the back will be paramount.
Ronaldo's fitness has been a major concern for Portugal heading into this tournament, and despite making an impression in the team's last pre-World Cup friendly recently, the Real Madrid man has pulled out early from training on a couple of occasions since arriving in Brazil.
However, the big man himself insisted he is fit and raring to go. "I've been practising now for some days and if I'm doing that it is because I am feeling well," Ronaldo said. "If I am not ready I am the first to tell the coach I don't want to play and I can't play. If I feel anything during the match, which I am sure I won't, I'll be the first to say."
Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are undoubtedly this era's greatest players, but both of them have been criticised for not quite living up to expectations on the World Cup stage. After seeing Messi begin his WC campaign in stunning style on Sunday, Ronaldo will be equally keen to prove his worth against Germany.
"I am confident we will start off on the right foot," Ronaldo added. "I am ready, I am feeling well, and I really want to have a great World Cup."
Team news: Germany: Low was a relived man after giving a clean bill of health to his squad, a squad which has been struggling with several niggling injuries. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has been passed fit, as has Philipp Lahm and Sami Khedira, while Low confirmed Bastian Schweinsteiger's airlifting to the hospital a couple of days back was only precautionary, after a request by FIFA for insurance purposes.
"We are well prepared for the first game and we have the injury problems behind us now," Low said. "All players have participated fully in training and all are 100 percent fit."
Portugal: Ronaldo's assurance over his fitness will come as a huge relief to Portugal fans, and Bento does not have any other injury problems to deal with.
Expected lineups: Germany: Neuer; Boateng, Mertesacker, Hummels, Howedes; Lahm, Kroos; Gotze, Ozil, Podolski; Muller.
Portugal: Patricio; Pereira, Pepe, Alves, Coentrao; Meireles, Veloso, Moutinho; Nani, Almeida, Ronaldo.
Prediction: 3-2 to Germany