Portugal fans arriving in numbers
… and they’ve already won when it comes to novelty eyewear.
Hungary hold France to a draw
… the final whistle has gone at the Ferenc Puskas Stadium, with Attila Fiola’s goal in first-half stoppage time enough to secure Hungary a point against France.
Portugal now know that a draw would take them top of Group F on goal difference. Germany, meanwhile, know that defeat would leave them rock bottom.
… rather than twist, also naming an unchanged starting XI.
In answer to the question we posed earlier: yes, Low has indeed stuck with a back three.
Not only that, he’s named an unchanged starting line-up. That’s a brave call but, if Germany lose, he’ll be monstered for it.
Germany team news
Portugal team news
Will Low stick with a back three?
While Low has found his tactics called into question ever since Germany’s disappointing group-stage exit at Russia 2018, his use of a three-man defence going into this tournament has been especially contentious.
Having had so much success with a 4-2-3-1 (or 4-3-3) formation during his World Cup-winning heyday, he made the switch to a back three in response to Germany’s shaky defensive record towards the end of last year.
It has also given him a chance to reintroduce Mats Hummels alongside two younger, faster defenders in Antonio Rudiger and Matthias Ginter, though Hummels still struggled against France and ultimately scored the own goal which decided the game.
There’s a growing clamour among Germany supporters for a return to a back four, so it will be interesting to see whether Low relents or perseveres.
Meanwhile, in Group F’s other game of the day
… France have equalised against Hungary thanks to a goal from Antoine Griezmann.
If you’d like to keep up with that match as well, our live blog can be found here. Open another tab, go on, treat yourself.
Germany looking to get back on track
After defeat to France in their opening game of the tournament, this could be make-or-break for Germany.
While losing 1-0 to the world champions might not seem like a cause for panic – even if the scoreline could have been considerably worse were it not for several timely VAR interventions – Die Mannschaft now have little margin for error in Group F.
If they lose to Portugal this afternoon, they will be hanging onto their tournament status by a thread. While a win and three points in their final game against Hungary might be enough for them to squeak through to the knockout rounds as one of the best third-placed sides at the group stage, that would be an extremely ill-omened way to reach the last 16.
Even in their 3-0 win against Hungary, Portugal showed that they intend to follow the same solid, defensively compact gameplan which served them so well at Euro 2016. While Raphael Guerreiro’s belated opener and a last-gasp brace from Cristiano Ronaldo gave the scoreline some sparkle, Fernando Santos’ side had been industrious rather than inspired up until the last five minutes.
That means that, having drawn a blank against France, Germany’s attackers will have their work cut out for them. With the indomitable Pepe and Ruben Dias at the heart of their back four, Portugal have one of the most intimidating defences in the competition.
Speaking ahead of the game, Germany coach Joachim Low pledged that his side would find their rhythm going forwards. “Tactically we have to bring something else, more attacking power. We need to bring in more intensity,” he said.
“When we are in the last third of the pitch we have to stay there. Against France, there were situations where we played the ball back out and our opponents have enough men against the ball again.
“We have to play with a different dynamic in the last third of the pitch and take more risks.”