Tuesday, June 10, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: Day 5 Previews

We move to the second round of group play games. Group A's two opening day winners, the Czech Republic and Portugal, meet in the early game, while the two losers, Switzerland and Turkey, will look to avoid elimination in the nightcap.

Czech Republic vs. Portugal
The venue: Stade de Geneve, Geneva, Switzerland
The broadcast: ESPN2, 12:00 pm ET
The storyline: Both teams enter the game 1-0-0, but the Portuguese look far more likely to win Group A following a solid 2-0 win over Turkey. Czech goalie Petr Cech knows Cristiano Ronaldo quite well from their Premier League clashes and he'll need every bit of that knowledge to keep his side on level terms.
The prediction: The Czechs were fortunate take all three points from their opener. They won't be as fortunate this time as Portugal wins 2-1.

Switzerland vs. Turkey
The venue: St. Jakob Park, Basel, Switzerland
The broadcast: ESPN2, 2:45 pm ET
The storyline: There's some recent ugly history between these two sides. In November 2005, the Swiss defeated Turkey in a two-legged playoff for a 2006 World Cup berth, setting off scenes of mayhem in Istanbul on and off the pitch. Both sides have downplayed the impact the incident will have on Wednesday's game.
The prediction: The Swiss were the more attractive of these two sides in their openers, but the loss of Alexander Frei significantly hampers their offensive abilities. But with the backing of the home crowd, they should have enough to eke out a 1-0 win.

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