Having suffered a humiliating 4-1 loss to Russia in their first Euro 2012 match, this young Czech side have impressed so far in the tournament. However, having ensured qualification from Group A thanks to two wins against Greece and co-hosts Poland respectively, the Czechs face a Portugal side that will be confident their star players can perform.
The Portuguese also suffered defeat in their first group match, losing 1-0 to Germany, but then won their next two games to ensure their safe passage to the quarter finals in second place in Group B, the so-called “Group of Death”.
In the first quarter final of Euro 2012, both sides will be confident of continuing their progress through the tournament, with the winners of this tie facing the winners of the Spain v France quarter final, which will be played on Saturday night.
Who to watch out for
For the Czechs, goalkeeper Petr Cech has not had his best tournament so far, but will be confident he can play a key role in thwarting Portgual’s vibrant attacking play.
Meanwhile, with captain Tomas Rosicky still struggling with an Achilles injury that he sustained against Greece in his team’s second group match, FC Viktoria Plzen’s Daniel Kolar looks set to deputise in the centre of the Czech midfield.
The Portuguese will be hopeful their captain Cristiano Ronaldo can continue his good form, having scored two goals so far already in the tournament. He will be aided and abetted in attack by Manchester United’s Nani and Real Zaragoza’s Helder Postiga, and Portugal will hope that their stars can continue to inspire the rest of the team.
In midfield, Chelsea’s Raul Meireles should be critical in breaking up any Czech attacks while also feeding players in more advanced positions, with Pepe and Bruno Alves being the key men in Portugal’s defence.
Czech Republic: Cech; Gebre Selassie, Sivok, Kadlec, Limbersky; Hubshman, Plasil; Jiracek, Darida, Pilar; Baros
Portugal: Patricio; Pereira, Pepe, Alves, Coentrao; Meireles, Veloso, Moutinho; Nani, Postiga, Ronaldo
Euro 2012 has entered the knockout stages, where all form books and previous performances go out the window. Perhaps the Czechs could sneak a win, but with Portugal boasting one of the best attacking trios in the tournament in Ronaldo, Nani and Postiga, the side from the Iberian Peninsula should have enough to ensure victory, hopefully without the need for extra time or the dreaded penalty shootouts.
It promises to be an interesting game, and the Portuguese should have enough to take a comfortable 2-0 win.
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