Gdansk (Poland): Experienced central defender Per Mertesacker has said Germany's defence must be on their guard against Portugal's "master of football trickery" Cristiano Ronaldo on Saturday in their opening Euro 2012 match.

Germany open their Group B campaign against the Portuguese in Lviv, Ukraine, with Portugal star Ronaldo in outstanding form having scored 46 Spanish league goals for Real Madrid last season.

Despite having missed three months at the end of last season after surgery to repair ankle ligaments, Arsenal defender Mertesacker looks set to anchor the German back four and says only good teamwork can subdue Ronaldo's silky skills.

"I think we have managed to nip in the bud any of Ronaldo's efforts in past matches against Portugal," said the centre-back at Wednesday's press conference here after Germany beat Portugal at both Euro 2008 and the 2006 World Cup.

"We must try at all costs to avoid one-on-one situations with him, because Ronaldo is fast as lightning and he is the master of football trickery."

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said Germany's Mesut Ozil is just as dangerous as his Real team-mate Ronaldo, but admits the responsibility to subdue Portugal's impressive attackers falls on the whole team to deny them possession.

"Mesut Ozil has just as good a shot as his Real Madrid team-mate," said Neuer.

"I think all of Portugal's forwards are dangerous and a force to be reckoned with, so we have to place the responsibility on all the players to defend well against them."

As one of the favourites to win the final in Kiev on July 1, Neuer says it is imperative the Germans leave Lviv after a good victory to build momentum with Holland their next Group B opponents in Kharkiv, Ukraine, next Wednesday.

"I think it is vital to get off to a good start," he said.

"Like at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, it was important we opened with a good win against Australia in Durban.

"If we get a good result some pressure will come off us, because it is always good to start with three points in the pocket."

Football fan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit the team after training on Wednesday and both Mertesacker and Neuer said they were looking forward to meeting their country's leader again.

"When I heard she was coming, I was very happy about that," said Mertesacker.

"She can be very funny and witty and she has a way of addressing us in five or six sentences to convey her message.

"Hosting her shows the status the national team has in German society and we hope to pay that back with good results at the Euro."


Latest News from Sports News Desk