EM: Portugal, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Turkey
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. 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.
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 ensued.
Just after Tuncay got a yellow card for falling on his ass into a Swiss player, 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. 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.