Saturday, June 14, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: Day 9 Previews

We move to the chaos of simultaneous kickoffs for the last round of group stage matches. But in Group A, the focus will be solely on the match in Geneva, where the Czech Republic and Turkey meet for second place and a quarterfinal match against Croatia. Having already locked up the group, Portugal will face a Swiss team playing for pride.

Czech Republic vs. Turkey
The venue: Stade de Geneve, Geneva, Switzerland
The broadcast: ESPN2, 2:45 pm ET
The storyline: Turkey's last-gasp winner against Switzerland set them up to face the Czechs for a quarterfinal berth. Thanks to a new rule, if this game ends in a draw, the teams will immediately head to a shootout. Otherwise it's winner-take-all.
The prediction: The advantage of experience comes into play in high-pressure matches, and that advantage goes to the Czechs. Petr Cech keeps the Turks off the board and sends his side through with a 1-0 win.

Portugal vs. Switzerland
The venue: St. Jakob Park, Basel, Switzerland
The broadcast: ESPN Classic, 2:45 pm ET
The storyline: Portugal are fortunate to have already wrapped up the group, since all the talk around the camp this week has been about Coach Scolari's move to Chelsea. The Portuguese have gone into full lockdown mode at their team headquarters. A heartbreaking stoppage time goal against Turkey ended Switzerland's hopes of advancing to the quarters.
The prediction: Portugal have nothing to play for, but the Swiss would love to give the home fans a thrill before leaving the tournament. The more-motivated co-hosts earn a 2-1 win.

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