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Portugal v Germany – post game

CH12, this is the Germans we are talking about. Look at the history, son. OK, so I am going to put in my comments in bullet fashion.

Portugal wins. Germany wins.

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo. Like he isn’t already motivated, Lehmann fires him up even more by saying that he knows his weakness since Arsenal has had great success against him over the last few years. I guess they must know something. Actually, packing the midfield and having Portugal not get him the ball enough was an issue. Also, Nuno Gomes is past the sell by date. Maybe Almeida or Postiga should have come on earlier.
  2. Portugal has pace on the wings – the German midfield and back four are just too slow. They couldn’t control Korkmaz properly. How exactly are they going to keep up with Simao, Ronaldo, Moutinho along with Nani and Quaresma off the bench? Short answer, they did. A lot has to do with going 2 up and then being able to stick with five in midfield to deal with the wing pressure.
  3. Germany has lacked drive in the middle of the park. IF Ballack plays well and IF Schweinsteiger shows the drive he was starting to display before his red card against Croatia, then Germany may have a chance – don’t forget that Bastian had a hat trick against Portugal in the 3rd place match at World Cup 2006. But I think the extra time that Deco should get against the German midfield – especially if Frings is out – is going to kill Germany. Ballack did play well. Schweinsteiger DID show the drive and the five man midfield didn’t give Portugal enough time or space.
  4. Pepe and Carvalho are good in the air. Bet Gomez doesn’t start. So it’s going to be tougher for Klose to win aerial battles. Germany’s chance is going to come from one twos between Podolski and Klose. Also, whoever is coming down the right wing needs to put pressure on Ferreira – he’s the weak link. Too bad Lahm plays on the left. Maybe Loew should switch him to right back to get the matchup. I don’t know what to say when Portugal gives up two goals from headers off free kicks. Carvalho was to blame for switching off Ballack for the third goal (Ricardo too – what kind of weak attempt was that?) and Ronaldo was hanging out for Klose’s goal. Ferreira was the weak link – he was beaten on Schweinsteiger’s near post run for the first goal and unfairly got victimized by Ballack for the third goal. Shocking to me was how easily Podolski held off, and actually accelerated past, Bosingwa and Pepe on the left wing before crossing for the first goal. Carvalho was jogging back and marking grass while Ferreira let Schweinsteiger come all the way across the box and get in front of him for the finish.
  5. Germany hasn’t played well since the first half against Poland. Nothing to say.
  6. Portugal is well rested with their starters having had a week off between games. Germany had to labor through 90 minutes a few days ago against Austria and Podolski is supposedly banged up. Frings did sit out but the extra man in midfield helped. And Bastian was off for a week as well…!

However, this is the Germans, so don’t ever count them out. Especially if Portugal doesn’t get Ronaldo the ball on the wing enough. Like I said…

Pre-game prediction: Portugal 2 Germany 1

Result: Portugal 2 Germany 3

Scorers: Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose, Michael Ballack (Germany) Nuno Gomes, Helder Postiga (Portugal)

Man of the match will be Deco… Man of the match was Schweinsteiger with a goal, two assists and tons of energy.

Ronaldo – this is what happens when you start thinking about leaving Man U for Real Madrid. I think it’s 50/50 that he goes – it will come down to whether or not Man U gives him his raise.

Hopefully, CH12 is better in the Croatia v Turkey game. Croatia is my horse in that race…

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Filed under euro 2008, post match comments, SOCCER

Portugal v Germany Quarter final: pre-game prediction

Portugal wins.  No prose.  Going with the bullets.

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo.  Like he isn’t already motivated, Lehmann fires him up even more by saying that he knows his weakness since Arsenal has had great success against him over the last few years.
  2. Portugal has pace on the wings – the German midfield and back four are just too slow.  They couldn’t control Korkmaz properly.  How exactly are they going to keep up with Simao, Ronaldo, Moutinho along with Nani and Quaresma off the bench?
  3. Germany has lacked drive in the middle of the park.  IF Ballack plays well and IF Schweinsteiger shows the drive he was starting to display before his red card against Croatia, then Germany may have a chance – don’t forget that Bastian had a hat trick against Portugal in the 3rd place match at World Cup 2006.  But I think the extra time that Deco should get against the German midfield – especially if Frings is out – is going to kill Germany.
  4. Pepe and Carvalho are good in the air.  Bet Gomez doesn’t start.  So it’s going to be tougher for Klose to win aerial battles.  Germany’s chance is going to come from one twos between Podolski and Klose.  Also, whoever is coming down the right wing needs to put pressure on Ferreira – he’s the weak link.  Too bad Lahm plays on the left.  Maybe Loew should switch him to right back to get the matchup.
  5. Germany hasn’t played well since the first half against Poland.
  6. Portugal is well rested with their starters having had a week off between games.  Germany had to labor through 90 minutes a few days ago against Austria and Podolski is supposedly banged up.

However, this is the Germans, so don’t ever count them out.  Especially if Portugal doesn’t get Ronaldo the ball on the wing enough.

Pre-game prediction: Portugal 2 Germany 1

Man of the match will be Deco…

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Filed under euro 2008, match predictions, Quarter finals, SOCCER

Portugal vs Czech Republic – post game

Portugal won. Scolari still hasn’t told his guys how to play with Ronaldo – he still had to start coming deep and floating to the middle to get the ball. Deco had a better game with a goal and a brilliantly threaded assist (Moutinho regressed) and Ronaldo did finally score. It was a brilliant strike – there were five players in and around him when he struck in through the legs of the defender.  This was not going to be a walkover and it wasn’t. Pepe and Carvalho played average and Bosingwa and Ferreira had subpar games. The Czechs did play better – Baros up front instead of Koller gave Portugal fits in the first half. Sionko did eat Ferreira’s lunch a few times, including on the move that lead to the corner from which he scored and on another move early in the second half when his cut back pass flashed across the goal.  Too bad they didn’t go to him on the right wing more often. 

Portugal’s player of the match was easily Ronaldo with the goal and assist on Ricardo Quaresma’s injury time open net goal.  He also had a few blistering shots that Cech blocked.  Final rant to Big Phil – stop playing Simao.  He hasn’t done much in the last two games and you have Nani or Quaresma as a direct, quicker and better wing replacement.  On top of that, the man takes the short free kicks away from Ronaldo.  Enough already.  This isn’t Benfica or Atletico Madrid.  Also, Phil, (not a rant so it’s okay) you might want to start Almeida as Nuno Gomes is not doing enough up front.

Ronaldo – isn’t it much easier when you have Rooney, Tevez, Scholes and Giggs playing up front with you with their pace, movement, skill and the defensive attention they take off of you?  Not as easy now is it – and it will get harder against the Germans?  Lucky for you it’s going to be in the semi.  Portgual looking good so far to win the tournament as predicted.

Sionko was the player of the game for the Czechs.  Pity he couldn’t get his second header to stay down and couldn’t get his head on Ujfalusi’s header across the goal from the late corner. 

Pre-game prediction: Portugal 2 Czech 1

Result: Portugal 3 Czech 1

Scorers: Deco, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ricardo Quaresma (Portugal) Libor Sionko (Czech)

CH12 is off to a good start for the day with the CR7 scores call and the Sionko uber Ferreira call (sorry, I don’t have the Czech equivalent of uber – so you will probably see it tomorrow as well)

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Filed under euro 2008, match comments, Predictions on winner, SOCCER

Portugal vs Turkey – Half time

No surprise that Portugal look the better side and have controlled posession and had the better chances – one goal disallowed for offside and a Ronaldo free kick saved off the post.  However, Turkey looks comfortable enough and have moments of decent football. 

Portugal needs to learn from Manchester United regarding how to play with Ronaldo.  Get him the ball.  He is the best in the world, not Simao or Nuno Gomes.  He is going to start dropping deeper to get the ball and that puts him further from goal.  Let him start moving inside to get more of the ball.  Portugal’s problem is the lack of a good striker.  Gomes is neither big nor fast.  I would take Simao and Gomes off and bring on Quaresma and either Postiga or Nani and allow them to interchange with Ronaldo.  Simao is just not good enough in my book.  Deco needs to start dominating the ball – he and Moutinho should be getting the ball every time they start out of their end.  But the team does look dynamic going forward and very comfortable on the ball.  Look for Ronaldo to start making longer runs in the second half.

For Turkey, play it down the middle.  Forget the left wing.  They are not going to get change from Bosingwa.  Press Ferreira who doesn’t play at left back normally and isn’t as quick or just go through the middle.  Emre, Tuncay and Nihat can get it going.  Altintop needs to shoot a bit more – he has a great shot.  Wouldn’t be surprised to see them sneak a goal.

Portugal should win….

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