Germany’s injury blows have lengthened their odds of winning the World Cup. Marco Reus has been ruled out, with a partial tear of his left ankle ligament, joining Lars Bender who has a thigh injury.

Manuel Neuer, Sami Khedira and Phillip Lahm are also slowly returning from injury. Due to Reus’s departure, Germany are likely to start with just one up top, but an attacking five will allow plenty support going forward.


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Although Lahm has recently been moved fromafull-back position to a defensive midfield role by Bayern coach Pep Guardiola, it is possible Joachim Low may reinstate the captain at left back to keep an eye on Ronaldo.

If Lahmis placed as a defensive midfielder it is likely his role requirements will be the same, to keep an eye on the Portugal captain as he moves up and down the wing.

Lahm was included as part of the World Cup Team of the Tournament in2006and2010and is nicknamed ‘The Magic Dwarf’.

The Northern Echo:


Portugal used a 4-4-2 formation in their warm up games against Greece and Mexico, but Paulo Bento may consider a 4-3-3 line-up.

This would be similar to the final warmup game against the Republic ofIreland when he was able to reintroduce Ronaldo.

Unsurprisingly, Ronaldo will be the targetman, behind him, Veloso and Meireles could start on either side of Moutinho, with the possibility of William Carvalho taking over one of the flanks.





Although he was spotted limping out of training on Thursday with an injury scare, the team will be thankful to have him in Brazil.

He joined Real Madrid for an incredible £80m in 2009 and has scored 177 goals for the club, as well as 49 for his country.

Regularly regarded as the best player in the world alongside Lionel Messi, his incredible skill and goal scoring ability make himan intriguing player to watch.


The Northern Echo:

Portugueseplayer Nani has been a valuedplayer at Manchester United since signing in 2007, where he paired up well with team-mate Ronaldo.

Nani has since altered his style of play and is often seen dribbling and attacking down either the left or right wing. It will be a good test to see how he fares against Lahm.

Having only recently just returned from a serious injury, it will be interesting to see how Lahm deals with the pace of Portugal’s wide men should he revert back to a full-back role.