Joachim Low believed Germany deserved their first win of Euro 2020 against Portugal but did not view it as a statement to their rivals.
The German coach oversaw a 4-2 win over the current European champions. His squad looked a different side from the one that lost to France in their first fixture. Low said they never lost belief in themselves after that defeat, which had raised serious questions about their ability to contend at Euro 2020.
Having gone behind to Cristiano Ronaldo’s brilliant 100-yard counter-attack, Germany hit back by forcing own goals from Ruben Dias and Raphael Guerreiro. Then, Kai Havertz and man-of-the-match Robin Gosens doubled their lead, before Diogo Jota grabbed a consolation.
Victory threw Group F wide open, with France on four points and Germany and Portugal on three. Hungary are not yet out of it after their draw with the world champions earlier in the day.
Low, who leaves his job next month after 15 years in the post, insists their focus is just on the next game against Hungary.
“It doesn’t have anything to do with initiating something,” he said when asked what the result meant for their tournament.
“It gives you some satisfaction but we never had any doubts after losing to the world champions; we knew we could do better.
“At a tournament you know how it goes, step by step. The next step will be Hungary, which will be hard as they park the bus in defence.
“Overall it was a strong performance against a technically good Portuguese team who were strong on the counter-attack.
“Especially after going behind we showed a great team spirit; we didn’t lose control, we were dynamic and energetic, created a lot of opportunities.
“We managed to be a threat to the defence and overall this victory is well deserved.”
Gosens, winning only his ninth cap, was superb as a left wing-back. He capped the performance with his second international goal.
“This win was fundamentally important for the rest of the tournament,” said the Atalanta defender.
“I have no words. It will stay in my mind forever; it is one of the evenings which I won’t forget in my life.”
Portugal boss Santos takes blame
Portugal coach Fernando Santos accepted full responsibility for the defeat, which leaves them facing the prospect of having to get something out of their encounter with France.
“Whether we progress or not is up to us and we have to respond to this,” he said.
“The manager is to blame for the result. If we look at individual players it would be shooting ourselves in the foot.
“Now I have to talk to the players and understand why we couldn’t do what we planned to do.
“I am responsible for this; I don’t want to mention players by name as we need to solve this as a team and think about France.
“France play differently and we need to change the things we did which were not that good.”