Saturday was a day of efficiency and missed chances. Both Turkey and Switzerland wasted multiple chances in front of goal that could have seen the days results turned upside down. More on the days matches:
Final Result: Czech Republic 1-0 Switzerland
Man of the Match:
Czech Republic: Vaclav Zverkos, he came on as a substitute and took his and the Czechs only chance well, hitting the back of the net.
Switzerland: Alexander Frei/Hakin Yakin, Frei played quite well in the first half, but unfortunately picked up an injury at the very end of the half. Yakin came on for Frei in the 2nd half and played very well, helping Switzerland dominate large periods of play.
Goal Scorers: Vaclav Zverkos ‘71
Although the Czechs will be happy with the final result, they will certainly be disappointed by the manner in which they achieved it. The Czechs were outplayed by Switzerland for a majority of the game, and only had one shot on goal, which resulted in the match’s only goal. While 3 points is always 3 points, the Czechs will need to put in a better performance if they expect to go far into the tournament.
The Swiss played quite well, dominating play, and creating far more chances than their opponents. All they lacked today was a finish, and the loss of Alexander Frei will not help in their two remaining games in their group. The Swiss fans were at the opener in full force, and will be happy if Switzerland can put in a similar performance for their two remaining matches, accompanied with finishing.
Final Result: Portugal 2-0 Turkey
Man of the Match:
Pepe, Pepe had a great game in both defense and attack for Portugal. After having a goal disallowed earlier in the match, Pepe put Portugal ahead with a headed goal in the 61st minute. The Brazilian born defender made several key interventions on the defensive end, helping Portugal keep the clean sheet.
Volkan Demirel, the goalkeeper kept Turkey in the match with a series of key saves. This includes an incredible save off a wordclass Cristiano Ronaldo freekick, where Volkan managed to use a finger tip to turn the ball onto the far post. Despite conceding 2 goals, I thought the goalkeeper had a fine game, and should he continue this form, will give Turkey a much better chance of sneaking into the knockout stages.
Goal Scorers: Pepe ‘61, Raul Meireles ‘90+3
Portugal dominated the match from start to finish, showing the ability to quickly convert defense into attack. Despite Portugal’s dominance, I still felt Turkey could have snagged a point from this match. Turkey had several chances in front of goal, but like Switzerland in the first match, failed to finish. Manager Fatih Terim’s decision to exclude goal poacher Hakan Sukur from the Euro 2008 squad, looks like it may come back to haunt him, although there are still 2 matches to be played. Portugal will be happy with their performance and the result, but they showed a few glimpses of defensive frailty throughout the match, which will need to be sured up if they plan to get back to the Final.
Overall a very entertaining day of World Class soccer, and a great kickoff to the tournament. Make sure to see our post including the ASR staff picks, and the FULL US television schedule for Euro 2008, in the Euro 2008 category.