Low wary of Portugal threat
Joachim Low (Supplied)
Cape Town - Germany manager Joachim Low is well aware of the threat that Portugal pose ahead of their World Cup opener at the Fonte Nova Arena on Monday.
While doubts have emerged about Cristiano Ronaldo’s availability for that crucial Group G match, Low and his defensive unit have done their homework and have formulated plans to counter the Portugal talisman. Low is confident that defenders Jerome Boateng and Philipp Lahm will be able to execute those plans with considerable aplomb when the situation demands it.
"We're up against a side who are right behind us in the world rankings," Low told journalists this week.
"They are the world champions when it comes to the counterattack. Look at the class they have got - Portugal are definitely tough opponents," added a cautious Low.
"Boateng has played a role who can keep Ronaldo in check. So too has Lahm, so together they will deal with him.
"You cannot let him out of your sight, literally," added Low.
However, Ronaldo, who might or might not be fit to play on Monday, is not the only player Germany will monitor closely. There is also the small matter of negotiating onslaughts from Nani, who can be highly effective when he is at his best.
"Ronaldo and Nani seem to be drifting into no-man's land, then the ball is suddenly there at their feet and they are ready to attack you," explained Low.
"Portugal have always gone a very long way in tournaments," he continued.
"They reached the semis in 2006 and the semis in the last European Championships, when they were just one penalty kick short of sending Spain home. You could see Portugal as a finalist, with the likes of [Joao] Moutinho, Nani and Ronaldo up front, then [Bruno] Alves, Pepe and [Fabio] Coentrao all experienced guys at the back.
"They all play at the highest level and there is no other side in the world who know how to defend while preparing their next attacks the way Portugal do."