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EM: Portugal, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Turkey

Published by marco on

Updated by marco on

Portugal 3 – Czech Republic 1

This match marks the first equalizer of the tournament, with the Czechs pulling even not long after Portugal shot into the lead. The first half stayed relatively even, but the start of the second half was dominated by Portugal’s offense, which failed to crack the well-organized defense of the Czechs for twenty minutes before Ronaldo put his side’s second one in on a low scorching shot.

Christiano Ronaldo is the Portugese star and it’s amazing to see his dedication shine through: his balance is clearly affected whenever he even loses the ball. If he’s dribbling along and another player tackles the ball away, he falls over just because the ball is no longer there to provide balance for him. There seems to be no other explanation.[1] The Czech Republic spent a lot of time in the Portugese end, but couldn’t find the equalizer. Just into extra time, the Portugese popped the ball loose and took a third goal on an assist from Ronaldo.[2]

Turkey 2 – Switzerland 1

The whole stadium is red because the national flag for both teams is white on a red field. However, the Turkish side is once again sporting the hyper-macho, powder-blue trainers that made their debut against Portugal. Just after kickoff, the Swiss weather had enough of being polite about the EM and just started dumping buckets of rain all over the field. The players were soaked inside of minutes and tons of slip-slidey action, splashing through puddles, misjudged ball-hops and hospital passes[3] ensued.

Just after Tuncay got a yellow card for falling on his ass into a Swiss player[4], the Swiss put in a hilarious, well-executed, slow-motion goal to go up 1–0. Nice to see Hakan Yakin keep to his promise to not celebrate his goal out of respect to Turkey. Soon after, he got another chance and almost added another, but shot wide. The field was soaked and the ball was barely moving on the ground; the Swiss seemed better able to deal with it than the Turks.

The second half, however, belonged to the Turks, who had a hell of a half-time talk and seemed much more comfortable on the wet turf. They circled like lions and the Swiss only responded with counterattacks, one of which was beautifully executed, but failed on a weak finishing shot from Hakan Yakin[5]. After the Swiss seemed to take over for the final 8 minutes or so, the Turks struck back with a wicked shot 2 minutes into extra time to take it 2 – 1.

Switzerland—one of the two host countries—is officially the first team to leave the tournament.

[1] The other, rather obvious explanation is that he’s a f%@*ing world-class whiner, who turns his pouty face to the referee at every conceivable opportunity like a flower turning to the sun. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great football player, it’s just that, unless he’s got you under his spell, his attitude is phenomenally grating and you find yourself wishing him grave bodily harm.
[2] The announcers on the Swiss German station here are clearly under his spell because they wouldn’t shut up about his amazing cross to his teammate and about how humble he was not to take the shot himself (even though his shot on goal was almost completely covered by the enormous Czech goalie and his teammate was wide open).
[3] A hospital pass is when it approaches a player so slowly that the opposing team will put him in the hospital if he waits for it.
[4] He flopped on the ground and executed the tackle with his groin into the other player’s shins—that can’t have been on purpose.
[5] He seemed over-careful with it, but it was also a swamp down there and he couldn’t get any lift on it.