Czech Republic vs Portugal: EURO 2012 Quarter-Final; Live Scores, blog
The second stage of EURO 2012 gets underway with Group A winners Czech Republic taking on Group B runners-up Portugal live from 4:45am at the Poland National Stadium in Warsaw.
Nobody would have given the Czechs a chance of progressing after their abject showing in their first group match, being thumped by Russia 4-1. With star man Tomas Rosicky set to return after missing the 1-0 victory over Poland, the Czechs will go into this game with nothing to lose, and very high on confidence.
It’s a similar tale for Portugal, who lost their first group match (although there is little shame in a 1-0 defeat to Germany) before edging out both Denmark and the Netherlands to progress from the so-called ‘Group of Death’. There’s no question that this team will be entirely reliant on Cristiano Ronaldo, and the Real Madrid star will have to turn in a strong performance with the entire world watching.
The likenesses don’t end with their group stage efforts, either. Both teams were second best in their qualifying group; the Portuguese finished behind Denmark (and acted out a healthy dose of revenge in the tournament proper) before seeing off Bosnia-Herzegovina in the playoffs. The Czechs were always going to be up against the wall with Spain in their group, and took on Montenegro in the playoff round, winning both legs.
It’s interesting to note how close both teams came to not even getting to the playoffs – Portugal finished ahead of Norway by virtue of goal difference, and had Scotland beaten a second-string Spain team on the final match day, the Czechs too, would have been usurped.
But as it is, they both rode their luck qualifying and have continued it all the way to the knock-out stage. And now on of these almost-didn’t-make-it’s is 90 (or 120!) minutes away from the semi-finals. You’ve got to love that.
Join us just before kick-off at 4:45 for all the team news, line-ups and formations.