Cristiano Ronaldo dejected, but with every hair firmly in place. (Getty)
It took some work, but Germany edged past Portugal to avoid a second Group B upset with a 1-0 win. It was a pretty dire match that provided ample time to consider that the term "Group of Death" was actually intended to be synonymous with "Group of Lifelessness," but Mario Gomez's 72nd minute goal was enough to give Germany an expected win.
Though he had a few scoring chances and enough stepovers to fill a YouTube compilation, Cristiano Ronaldo struggled to change the perception that he can't replicate his goal-a-game club form in big international matches. The Portuguese captain scored just one goal (with his back) in the last World Cup before Portugal lost to Spain in the round of 16 and his difficulties appear to be continuing into Euro 2012. Which probably also has something to do with the fact that his teammates at Real Madrid are a bit more helpful than those around him at the international level.
FourFourTwo and Opta Sports compiled a graphic display of player influence and average position on the pitch during the first 80 minutes of the Germany-Portugal match that illustrates Ronaldo's shortcomings and perhaps just how much the team around a great player really does matter. Have a look...
You can see that German centerbacks Mats Hummels and Holger Badstuber had a big impact on the match, which shows that Portugual's attack wasn't completely helpless. And though Cristiano did help his side mount a last-ditch attempt to equalize before the final whistle, Portugal now have an even steeper climb if they're going to advance to the knockout rounds.
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- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Mario Gomez