By Mike O’Brien
So the quarter finals of Euro 2012 kick off tonight when the Czech Republic take on Portugal. This is not the game most people envisaged as big favourites in both Group A and B Holland and Russia were eliminated early from the competition. But with the two teams we do have competing t could make for a fairer game and it will certainly be interesting to watch.
Somehow, the Czech’s managed to come through Group A with a goalkeeper who looked very unsure of himself and a striker who went two games without a shot on target. Either way, they are now quarter finalists and face a tough task in the form of Portugal to qualify for the semis.
Major team news for the Czech’s going into the Portugal game is that captain Tomas Rosicky has failed in the race to get fit for the game. Rosicky was taken off against Poland in the final group game and has now been declared as unfit for the game. Likely starters are bright spark Vaclav Pilar who has been receiving many plaudits for his performances in the group games thus far. Also likely to start is former Liverpool striker Milan Baros and Chelsea keeper Petr Cech who have both failed to impress so far in Poland.
Coming off the back of a big win against Holland, Portugal will be buoyed by the return to the score sheet of captain Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo had wasted many guilt edge chances against Denmark but his brace against Holland seems to have marked his return to form in the red shirt. No fresh injury worries for Portugal ahead of this one then so expect as strong a line up as coach Paulo Bento can name to ensure his country get to the semi finals of Euro 2012.
On the whole I see this match going to the Portuguese. It just seems that even with their skipper Czech Republic would be outmatched so without their talisman then I fear for the Euro lives.