Wednesday, June 11, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: Day 5 Recap

Portugal 3, Czech Republic 1
Turkey 2, Switzerland 1

Group A cleared up nicely today with Portugal clinching the top spot while Turkey set up a winner-take-all game against the Czech Republic for second place. Meanwhile co-hosts Switzerland became the first squad eliminated from the tournament.

A lively game in Geneva saw Portugal take a 3-1 result against the Czechs. Deco opened the scoring in the eighth minute, finishing up a broken play for the early lead. Nine minutes later, Libor Sionko brought the Czechs level on a well-timed header off a corner kick. In the second half, Cristiano Ronaldo took over, putting his side ahead in the 63rd minute and then setting up Ricardo Quaresma in extra time for the put-away goal. The result gives the Portugese six points atop the group. Based on the result the day's second game, they are assured of the top spot and will player the Group B runner-up in next Thursday's quarterfinal.

In the second game Turkey became the first team in the tournament to earn a come-from-behind victory as they rallied from a 1-0 halftime deficit to post a 2-1 win. Hakan Yakin put Switzerland ahead 32 minutes in on a comical play in which the ball came to a complete stop on the rain-soaked turf just in front of the net. But Kobi Kuhn's men could not hold the lead. Semih Senturk evened the match in the 57th minute and Arda Turan finished a counter-attack in extra time to give his side a vital three points.

With Portugal safely through, their game Sunday against Switzerland is meaningless, other than providing the Swiss one last chance to delight the home crowds. With Turkey and the Czechs level on points and goal differential, the winner of their match will take second, with a shootout to decide matters if the game ends in a draw.

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