EM: Switzerland, Portugal, Turkey and Czech Republic
Published by marco on
Switzerland 2 – Portugal 0
Switzerland was already out and Portugal had benched many of their star players, but the Swiss came out still hunting for their first win in EM history. The Portugese had the game well in hand throughout the first half and both teams had a couple of decent chances. The replacement goalie for Switzerland was the old hand Patrick Zuberbühler—“Zubi” to everyone here—who made heavy use of his good friends the goalposts, as usual.
In the second half, the impossible happened and it started to look like Switzerland had discovered the ability to play 90 whole minutes of football. This rather strange theory acquired a considerable amount of supporting evidence when Hakan Yakin put in his first goal in the 75th minute to go up 1–0, then was all but proven when the flailing Portugese committed an aggregious foul in the box for a penalty. A nerveless Hakan Yakin put that one away as well, to all but seal the win for the Swiss.
The Swiss finally got their win and finally got a game where they scored more than one goal: it’s not a trip to the quarter finals, but the team managed to deliver a hell of a match for their ailing fans. They managed to send at one message loud and clear: next time, bring your A-team, Portugal.
Turkey 3 – Czech Republic 2
Since the matches ran at the same time, it was tough to get a feel for this match as well. The Czechs slowly but surely built up a 2–0 lead throughout the first half. Volkan, the Turkish goalie got a good piece of both shots, but the Turkish defense left him high and dry both times.
Turkey did a good job closing the gap with a nice goal late in the second half. Then, even deeper into the second half, Nihat picked up a terrible bobble by the Czech goalie to even it up at 2–2. And then, ‘cause that was so damned easy, Nihat slammed one off the underside of the crossbar in the top-right corner to put Turkey up 3–2. What an amazing comeback.
In extra time, though, the Turkish goalie Volkan committed an amazingly stupid foul by pushing a Czech player after the ball had gone out of play for a goal kick. Volkan was rightfully given a red card and Turkey was down to ten men without a real goalie for the last 4 minutes of extra-time play. It was incredibly stupid of Volkan, but he wasn’t alone as tempers were flaring out-of-control on both sides. The Czechs also got a yellow less than a minute later and Milan Baros of the Czech Republic got one from the bench as well. The tiny-looking Tuncay wasn’t tested in goal and Turkey won a few minutes later to move on to the quarterfinals.