Paulo Bento's Portugal started with a 4-3-3 formation, with three deep-lying midfielders. The trio of Joao Moutinho, Raul Meireles and Miguel Veloso refused to venture forward and every Portuguese attack was directed towards the two wide men, Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani.
The Germans, on the other hand, opted for the more conventional, continental 4-2-3-1 formation, where Real Madrid's Mesut Ozil had a free, drifting role behind forward Mario Gomez.
Germany's holding midfielders, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira, joined in support. The duo, however, always ensured that one of them stayed behind to neutralise the threat from Ronaldo and Nani.
The wing-backs, Philip Lahm and Jerome Boetang, also sat deeper than usual.
Ozil, not a conventional No. 10, started a little on the right and dictated play with his constant lateral drift and was involved in almost every German move in the opposition's half.
Ronaldo, expected to sprint down the left flank, was pinned down by Boateng and was often seen drifting inside but failed to make headway because of the lack of support from the midfield trio.
Fabio Coentrao was the best on display for Portugal with his darting runs down the left.
The introduction of Silvestre Varela in place of Meireles effectively pushed Portugal to a 4-2-3-1 system and that extra offensive player provided more thrust to its attack in the final minutes but it was too late.
Keywords: Euro 2012