Saturday, June 07, 2008

Euro Cup Day 1 Recap

My predictions from Day 1 were one hand, amazingly accurate, and other hand, completely wrong.

Czech Republic 1, Switzerland 0. I admit to not watching much of the Czechs vs Switzerland, but by all accounts, it went the way I intimated it would. The Czechs didn't have a lot of firepower, but were able to put the game away on a mistake by the Swiss defense (I can't believe they run offside traps at that level, but that's a rant for some other day). Helping their chances, they also knocked Alexander Frei out of the game, which will hurt the Swiss going forward. Seeing what I saw in the second game, though, the Czechs could be a bit of trouble if there plan is to win 1-nil with self-declared "lucky" goals.

Portugal 2, Turkey 0. I'm pretty conflicted about this game. I feel like my prediction wasn't that wrong-headed. On the other hand, with slightly better luck/finishing, Portugal could have won this game 4-nil or even 5-nil. But switch that bit of luck and quality finishing, and the game probably ends in a 1-1 draw or the 2-1 win I predicted. I'd say both teams lost out on pretty legitimate penalty kick fouls that went uncalled. And the score for this game throughout most of it was either 0-0 or 1-0. That second goal came in injury time. It was anyone's game until almost the final whistle. That said, the first goal was a combination of opportunistic defense (catching a bad clearance by Turkey) and a lovely give and go from Pepe.

Portugal showed some weakness in the back, mainly in terms of organization, particularly on their left side. Deco made bad decision after bad decision in the midfield (Apparently Martin Rogers and I were watching different Decos). My choice of Man of the Match would go to two men in the defense--Pepe and Jose Bosingwa. They both played tough defense (especially Bosingwa, who was a friggin wall out there, and Pepe scored the match-winner).

Both and I and miwacar expected to see Nani much sooner than we did. the Portugese, as a team, hit woodwork 3 times by my count--that's pretty unlucky.

Meanwhile, the Turks couldn't finish a sandwich. They got themselves in dangerous territory several times, only to swing and miss, or fall down for no good reason, or simply mishit the strike. We'll see if they can right that ship. I believe they can. I don't think Nihat goes home without a goal to his credit.

The Czechs have 3 points, but I'll be very surprised if they take more one more point from these two sides combined.

On To Day Two Predictions!

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