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GERMAN PRECISION: German defence a cause for concern

Monday, 16 June 2014 - 4:50pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
The writer captained Germany to victory in the 1990 World Cup

We've had quite an eventful start to the World Cup. Lots of goals, contentious refereeing decisions and two eye-popping results.

Spain 1 The Netherlands 5 — I still can't quite come to terms with that scoreline. Who would have expected that, especially after Spain took the lead in the first half. But under Louis van Gaal, the Dutch are a different team to the one that stepped onto the pitch against the same opponents in the 2010 World Cup final. His penchant for attacking football is well known. It's an approach that has seen him win trophies wherever he has gone, from Ajax to Barcelona to Bayern Munich. No doubt, he would have got millions of Manchester United fans, the team he will next manage, brimming with optimism after that five-star show.

The other result that caught the eye was Costa Rica's inspirational 3-1 win over Uruguay. Luis Suarez could only look on helplessly from the bench as an unused substitute as the Copa America champions saw their 1-0 half-time lead sensationally overturned by the Costa Ricans who bagged two goals within three minutes in a remarkable second-half.

The England-Italy match also lived up to its billing with the Azzurri prevailing 2-1 in a closely-fought encounter in extremely intimidating weather conditions in Manaus.

Which brings me to the last of the three most anticipated matches in the opening week between Germany and Portugal.

This is a tough group, but Portugal clearly represent the hardest of the three obstacles for Joachim Loew's men. We know Cristiano Ronaldo will be at the centre of the spotlight, but Loew knows very well that his team itself can ill-afford to concentrate only on the Real Madrid forward.

Despite the injuries Germany have had to contend with, the side boasts of immense potential, especially in the offensive department. It's the defence that concerns me a bit.

Germany's Miroslav Klose is also in the limelight as he bids to break former Brazil star Ronaldo's record for the most number of goals in World Cup history. With the wealth of creative flair behind him, Klose will not be short of opportunities to nudge ahead of the Brazilian legend, who has 15. I think this game will end 1-1.


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