Day: June 11, 2008

Switzerland 1-2 Turkey

All those years of planning, and Switzerland’s journey in the European Championships is over. None of this is to say that they have played badly. Indeed, they were better team against the Czech Republic and were desperately, desperately unlucky to be knocked out tonight by a late, deflected goal in a match that they had dominated for long spells. It did look as if the Gods may be transpiring against Switzerland in some way. The storm clouds gathered over Basle this evening in a manner that reminded one of a black and white vampire film. You half expected the referee to come out dressed as Bela Lugosi. Shortly into the match, a downpour started that rapidly assumed biblical proportions, and the pitch rapidly became unable to drain off the excess water, and things became thrillingly, brilliantly exciting. With standing water on the pitch and tackles bringing up a spray that cat on a surf board could probably ride, everything became less predictable. Switzerland adjusted to the new conditions, and it was out of them that their goal arrived, when Eren Derdioyk got away down the right hand side and got a low cross in that slowed down so perfectly in front of Hakan Yakin that he almost slipped before, thudding the ball in with his shin. It was a ridiculous goal in extraordinary conditions, but it counted all the...

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Portugal 3-1 Czech Republic

It is a curious anomaly of Euro 2008 that this evening’s match between Portugal and the Czech Republic saw, in the tournament’s ninth match, the first equalizing goal of the competition. It counted for nothing in the end, but it did at least breathe life into a match that, prior to this, had started to look as if it would be little more than a procession for Portugal, who further reinstated their case for being amongst the favourites to win the trophy outright. Both sides won their opening matches – Portugal at a canter against Turkey, the Czechs with considerable labour and no small amount of luck against Switzerland – so the only result that would beyond doubt would be that the winners would be through to the quarter-finals (barring something just shy of a miracle). Portugal started the stronger of the two sides, and it took them just eight minutes to take the lead. For all of his artistry and jiggery pokery, it’s difficult to fault the sheer persistence of Deco, who bundled the ball over the line with Cech scrambling to get across the goal to smother it. The Czechs, however, were showing signs of being able to make a real game of it, and with Sionko looking very impressive on the wing, it was no surprise when they equalised through Sionko’s diving header. For a while,...

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