FIFA World Cup: Germany have Ronaldo on their mind in epic clash

Germany have dominated Portugal in recent meetings, but the striker's threat looms large tonight

Salvador: Germany kick-off their World Cup campaign tonight aiming to continue their domination of Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal at recent major tournaments.

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Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo (left) takes part in a training session at the Campinas on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo (left) takes part in a training session at the Campinas on Saturday. Pic/AFP 

The Germans enjoyed wins over Portugal at the 2006 World Cup, plus both of the last two European championships and want to get their Group G campaign off to a flying start with a fourth consecutive win.

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The Salvador clash is a re-run of Portugal's Euro 2012 opener against Germany, when they went down 0-1 to a second-half Mario Gomez goal.

The pre-match build-up in Salvador has focussed on whether or not Ronaldo will be fit to play at the Arena Fonte Nova after a knee and thigh injury. The 29-year-old took full part in Portugal's training session on Saturday with teammates William Carvalho and goalkeeper Eduardo both saying he will play.

Highly motivated
Eduardo insists Portugal are highly motivated to erase memories of a "disastrous" 2010 campaign which ended in the last 16 at the hands of Spain.

But all eyes have been on the world player of the year's recovery, despite Ronaldo's return to play 65 minutes of Portugal's final warm-up in their 5-1 drubbing of Ireland. The Real Madrid forward, whose form and fitness will be vital to Portugal's chances, has had a heavy strapping on his knee in training.

But as Germany defender Benedikt Hoewedes pointed out: "This isn't Germany against Ronaldo, but Germany against Portugal". Midfielder Sami Khedira claims his Real Madrid team-mate has told him this is Portugal's time to break their German bogey.

Germany have only lost one of their last 18 games in the group stages of the World Cup 



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