Germany, Romania, Portugal boosted by wins ahead of Euro 2008
Euro 2008 finalists Germany, Romania and Portugal chalked up victories in test matches Saturday a week ahead of the start of the European Championships, the dpa reported. Portugal, the 2004 losing finalists, were 2-0 winners over Georgia in Viseu thanks to first-half goals from Joao Moutinho and Simao Sabrosa. Moutinho volleyed the first from the edge of the area in the 19th minute while Sabrosa converted a penalty a minute before half-time after he had been brought down by goalkeeper Girogi Loria. Portugal are in Group A at Euro 2008 along with Switzerland, Czech Republic and Turkey, their first opponents next Saturday in Geneva. Record champions Germany came from behind to beat Serbia in Gelsenkirchen, with substitute Oliver Neuville and captain Michael Ballack scoring late goals. "It was a good win for morale and self-confidence but we had to go right to our limits," Germany coach Joachim Loew said. Neuville came off the bench in the 70th minute to score from close range four minutes later and cancel out a 19th-minute goal from Bosko Jankovic. Ballack clinched the win nine minutes later with a shot from the edge of the area following a free-kick. Germany are in Group B against Poland, Austria and Croatia, who were playing Hungary in Budapest late Saturday. "The Serbs were the right opponents for us because they have a similar playing style and mentality to Croatia," Loew said. "We're pleased we managed to turn the game around and can take a couple of days off with a victory behind us." Romania enjoyed a 4-0 win over Montenegro in Bucharest thanks to a brace from Nicolae Dica in the 55th and 69th minutes following goals from Adrian Mutu (14) and Sorin Ghionea (50). Romania's first match at Euro 2008 is on June 9 against France who were playing Paraguay in Toulouse in a later game Saturday. Also in Group C are world champions Italy and the Netherlands. Also in action later Saturday were Spain, who were up against Peru in Huelva.