Tonight sees Czech Republic clash with Portugal in the first of the 4 Quarter-Final clashes.
Czech Republic got here on the back of winning Group A. After starting with a heavy defeat to Russia, the Czechs bounced back with consecutive victories over Greece and Poland.
Portugal also lost their opening game to Germany before bouncing back with wins over Denmark and Holland to seal the runner-up spot in Group B.
Despite that heavy defeat to Russia, the Czechs have shown glimpses of being a good side. Gebre Selassie, Jiracek and Pilar have all enhanced their reputation in this tournament.
Even in the Russia game the Czechs started brightly before Russia got 2 goals on the counter attack. The Czechs got one back & had chances to equalise but two late Russian goals gave the scoreline a rather flattering look.
Czech Rep goalkeeper, Petr Cech would have to accept some responsibility for that result too. The Chelsea man should have done better with 3 of the goals.
Petr Cech's bad performances didn't stop there. The Czechs got two early goals in their second group game and were seemingly cruising. That was until a fairly simple ball was played into
his box and Cech completely misjudged it, leaving the Greek forward a simple tap in.
Luckily for Cech his side managed to hold on and it seems to have been a turning point for him.
Czech Rep required a point at least to get through against Poland. They went one better & managed to secure a 1-0 win. Results went their way & they topped the group.
Portugal started their campaign with a 1-0 defeat to Germany. They didn't play particularly well until Germany took the lead. Once they went 1-0 behind they started to push for the equaliser & were unlucky on a few occasions not to get it.
The Portugeese got their first win against Denmark. They took an early 2-0 lead but Denmark managed to get it back to 2-2 with their only two chances. With the score at 2-1 Cristiano Ronaldo was guilty of missing 2 one on ones. Luckily, Portugal got a late winner to take a 3-2 victory.
Portugals final group game was against Holland were they fell 1-0 behind. This seemed to spark Cristiano Ronaldo into life & he went onto have by far his best performance of the Championships.
The Real Madrid man scored twice & really should have had more. If he can carry that form into the knockout stages than Portugal are a match for anyone.
Tonight's game should be tight enough. On paper Portugal are fancied strongly but I don't think they'll get it easy as people think. The Czechs are no mugs and will be well organised. Portugal rely heavily on wingers, Nani and Ronaldo. If those two get into the game then it's hard to see past Portugal. The Czechs will need to do something special to keep them quiet if they want to progress to the Semi-Finals.
On a side note, keep an eye out for the battle between Ronaldo and Gebre Selassie on the wing. Gebre Selassie is a fullback who loves to get forward. If he gets caught on one of his raids up the line then there's no better man than Cristiano Ronaldo to punish his mistakes.
Czech Rep 0-1 Portugal