Euro2008 - Switzerland v Czech Republic; Portugal v Turkey
Nice opening games, particularly the first one which seemed evens where I felt one mistake would make a difference, and the follow up which was not as equal yet both sides gave glimpses of hope for a cracking goal.
I felt the Swiss were unfortunate to come away with no points. The Czech were favourites for the win but Switzerland wasnt keeling over for anyone in front as hosts. They have lost skipper Alexander Frei to a knee injury which reports indicated has ruled him out of the competition, his effort from close range denied by Petr Cech. The Czech were kept on the back foot and had little avenue to branch out through upfront to ease the pressure, Jan Koller slow and ineffective, surprisingly. The big man made way for Vaclav Sverkos, and his contribution came via a mistake.
The Swiss cleared the ball briefly and Tomas Galasek headed it back deep over the defence, with who appeared to be Marek Jankulovski or skipper Tomas Ujfalusi stepping from an off-side position, therefore the Swiss felt they were safe with a decision. But Sverkos was onside and he reacted the quickest, being the only Czech player reaching for and controlling the ball. His effort span off his boot side past the keeper for the winning goal. The Swiss were unfortunate when they struck twice to be denied again by Cech and the woodwork.
Portugal showed great all-round tenacity for their game. The Turks maybe mainly unknown but they gave as good as they were given, which made for a healthily contested first half. Christiano Ronaldo went the closest from a freekick which was brilliantly finger-tipped onto the post by the Fenerbahce keeper Volkan. Co-commentator David Pleat said Volkan didnt even see the ball but replays showed the keeper deserved more credit than the former Spurs boss gave him.
Portugal were a different class second half and having had his headed goal disallowed in the first half, rightly so, defender Pepe went from stationary to go, threaded a sweet one-two with captain Nuno Gomes and then scuffed the ball over defender and past keeper. Ronaldo had swapped from the right to the left and relished in the role coming onto his right foot and it paid dividends tokill off Turkey. Paulo Ferreira fed Ronaldo, he in turn ran down the left and passed across to Joao Moutinho, the Sporting Lisbon forward turned sweetly around his marker and then threaded diagonally for sub Raul Meireles to finish off neatly.
Today it's a re-match from the previous World Cup of Germany v Poland with co-hosts Austria taking on a spirited Croatian side.