Portugal 1-0 Czech Republic: Ronaldo a constant threat and eventually gets the winner

June 21, 2012
Portugal 1-0 Czech Republic: Ronaldo a constant threat and eventually gets the winner

Cristiano Ronaldo was a greater goalscoring threat than the Czech side put together, as Portugal narrowly won a game that should have been safe much earlier.

Paulo Bento named an unchanged side again – he’s played this XI in Portugal’s last six competitive games, four at the Euros, two in the play-offs against Bosnia.

Michael Bilek was without Tomas Rosicky again, and used Vladimir Darida rather than Daniel KolarĀ in Rosicky’s attacking midfield role.

This was a one-sided game, with Portugal superior all over the pitch. Read more »

Czech Republic v Portugal preview

June 21, 2012
Czech Republic v Portugal preview

This is a battle between two reasonably similar teams. They may play different formations, but they have the same problems – and, most interestingly, will look to play down the same flank.

9 and 10?

The first similarity the lack of a prolific number nine. Milan Baros and Helder Postiga have both started all three games, but Milan Baros has had two shots in the competition (no goals) and Helder Postiga has had three (one goal). They’re simply not a consistent goal threat, and the main part of their job is holding the ball up, drawing fouls and linking with the wide players.

The second similarity is the absence of a creative attacking midfielder. We knew this about Portugal before the competition started, but for the Czechs it’s a new development. Tomas Rosicky’s injury means he’ll probably be on the bench tonight, and replacement Daniel Kolar struggles to replicate Rosicky’s impact upon matches. Read more »

England 1-0 Ukraine: cagey game

June 20, 2012
England 1-0 Ukraine: cagey game

Wayne Rooney returned to head in a simple goal, and England finish top of Group D.

Roy Hodgson dropped Andy Carroll to bring in Rooney, so Danny Welbeck returned to his position as the primary centre-forward.

Oleh Blokhin made various changes – Andriy Shevchenko wasn’t fit enough to start, and Andriy Voronin was dropped, so there was an all-new centre-forward partnership of Artem Milevskiy and Marco Devic. Serhiy Nazarenko was replaced by Denys Harmash, and Yaroslav Rakitskiy came in at the back.

Like all three of England’s matches, this was poor technical game lacking in quality, and many of the chances came from set-pieces and crosses. Read more »