Germany manager Joachim Low believes that there’s more to Portugal than simply Cristiano Ronaldo, ahead of their World Cup clash in Salvador on Monday.
Ronaldo has been suffering with both knee tendonitis and a muscle problem in his left thigh since the end of the domestic season with Real Madrid, and there are some doubts over whether he will be fit in time for the side’s opening Group G game.
However, Low maintains that Portugal don’t depend solely on their superstar skipper and, with their style of football, can even survive without him.
‘Portugal are the wold champions of counter-attacking football and their style of play doesn’t depend on Cristiano Ronaldo at all,’ Low said.
‘It doesn’t matter whether he’ll be playing or not. Of course he is a unique talent, but Portugal’s style of football is the same. For us it will be good to make a positive impression after the first match.’
Germany have had their own fitness problems going into the tournament, with Borussia Dortmund winger Marco Reus suffering a serious ankle injury in the final warm-up game against Armenia, ruling the 25-year-old out for the summer.
However, the recent return of Manuel Neuer and Sami Khedira has been a big boost for Low’s side, as they begin the tournament as one of the favourites to lift the trophy in a month’s time, thanks to an incredible array of attack-minded stars.
The same could be said for Portugal were they to have a healthy Ronaldo to rely on, although the likes of Joao Moutinho, Nani and the emerging William Carvalho are still options not to be sniffed at.
Either way, both teams currently stand as favourites to progress to the last 16 from the group, ahead of the USA and Ghana, with Monday’s contest likely proving pivotal towards deciding who takes top spot.