Schweinsteiger trumps Ronaldo; EURO 2008 Portugal 2 Germany 3.
All eyes may have been on Cristiano Ronaldo but it was his opposite number seven Bastian Schweinsteiger who stole the show to book Germany's place in the Euro 2008 semi-Qnals and dump Portugal out last night.
Bayern Munich star Schweinsteiger scored one and set up two more - for Miroslav Klose and Michael Ballack - to render Nuno Gomes' effort at the end of the Qrst half and substitute Helder Postiga's goal towards full-time little more than consolations.
The result sees Germany, who only clinched their spot in the quarter-Qnals with a 1-0 win over Austria on Monday, advance to a lastfour clash with either Croatia or Turkey next Wednesday. It also brings Luiz Felipe Scolari's Qve-year reign as Portugal coach to an inglorious end before he heads off to become Chelsea manager on July 1.
Germany, who recalled Schweinsteiger after suspension, bossed the possession in the early stages and former Aston Villa midQelder Thomas Hitzlsperger had a free-kick blocked and sent another left-footed effort into Ricardo's side-netting.
Simao twice forced Jens Lehmann to save before Joao Moutinho diverted Jose Bosingwa's cross over the bar with his thigh. That miss proved costly as shortly afterwards the Germans forged ahead in the 22nd minute.
Lukas Podolski burst down the left and sent in a dangerous low cross which Schweinsteiger tapped home at the near post.
Four minutes later, Germany doubled their advantage when man of the match Schweinsteiger Ooated in a free-kick and Klose glanced a tidy header past Ricardo.
The initially shell-shocked Portuguese were beginning to Qnd their feet again and Gomes picked a Qne time to bag his Qrst goal of the tournament to halve the deQcit in the 40th minute.
He reacted Qrst to Qre into the bottom-left corner via the right boot of Christoph Metzelder after Lehmann had parried a Ronaldo blast.
Germany almost immediately restored their two-goal cushion when Ballack cut in well from the left onto his right foot, but Ricardo got down well at his near post to save.
Ronaldo then had an opportunity to level in Qrst-half stoppage time, only to see his effort drift wide of Lehmann's right-hand upright.
Hitzlsperger had a sight of goal Qve minutes after the restart but lashed his left-footed strike wildly over the top.
Pepe then passed up a great chance to restore parity when he headed over in the 57th minute after Deco had Oicked on a corner.
Once again, the Portuguese immediately paid for their proOigacy when Ballack met Schweinsteiger's free-kick from the left and - with the help of a shove in the back of his Chelsea team-mate Paulo Ferreira - made space to head past Ricardo.
With three minutes left, Nani set up fellow substitute Postiga to head home and give Portugal hope but there was to be no grand Qnale for Scolari's men.
Germany's man of the match Bastian Schweinsteiger, second from left, scores the opening goal past Portuguese goalkeeper Ricardo, Picture, PETER KLAUNZER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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|Publication:||The Birmingham Post (England)|
|Date:||Jun 20, 2008|
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