Now that Euro 2012 has reached its knockout stages, here’s a run-down of all the Quarter Finals matches as we preview and attempt to predict the outcome of the do or die games…
Quarter Final 1: Czech Republic vs Portugal
Following their first match capitulation against Russia it can be safe to say it’s a shock to see the Czechs in the Quarter Finals, but after tightening up their seemingly brittle defence they managed 2 victories and topped the group giving them a quarter final against Portugal, where they will need to continue their new found solidity to stop the attack focused Portugese.
Match Plan: Teams play best against Portugal when they mark Cristiano Ronaldo out of the game, i.e Germany. No team have managed it quite completely yet in this tournament and a team who were outwitted by a strike force led by Andrei Arshavin may struggle. They must make keeping him quiet their priority whilst trying to overpower Portugal’s flimsy midfield.
Unfortunately for the Czechs, I believe the Quarter Finals to be the pinnacle of their achievement in this tournament. But it is a solid platform to build on in the future.
Like the Czechs, the Portugese can be happy to be here after many wrote them off as failures in their ‘Group of death’, and after recovering from their first match defeat Germany to produce two wonderful attacking displays and getting the best out of Cristiano Ronaldo, they can hold realistic hopes of progressing even further in the tournament. Unfortunately for the Portugese they have conceded goals, and they need to find a way to remedy this leak if they don’t want to be caught out by teams.
Match Plan: Stick to their strengths, counter attack with speed and using the wings. I personally would drop Helder Postiga who has failed to impress and replace him with Oliveira who looks like a much calmer player on the ball who can help better support Nani and Ronaldo.
If they can keep their heads and give an assured, confident performance here they could realistically progress to the final where, in one match, anything can happen. This does depend on whether they can keep Ronaldo unleashed.
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