Euro 2012 Quarter Finals Betting Preview – Czech Republic v Portugal

June 21st, 2012 | Posted by in Euro 2012

We are down to 8 teams in the Euro 2012 with some surprising teams getting though the group stages. Below we have previews of the quarter finals of Euro 2012 thanks to our friends at Sportingbet Australia. This Preview by GMorgan for the game Czech Republic v Portugal.  Check out all the Euro 2012 betting odds from a number of European, Australian and International online sports books.

Czech Republic v Portugal – National Stadium, Warsaw – Thursday 21st June 2012

Czech Republic vs Portugal – Betting Odds from leading bookmakers and Online Sportsbooks

Having been run ragged by a rampant Russia in their opening group game, it seems almost inconceivable that the Czech Republic now find themselves in the last eight facing a Portugal side whom they will certainly not regard as unbeatable.

That 4-1 trouncing in Wroclaw saw coach Michal Bilek and his charges mercilessly pilloried in the Czech press and yet somehow they managed to regroup, reorganise and pick up six points at the expense of Greece and Poland.

And their victory over the co-hosts last weekend was even more impressive given that midfield kingpin Tomas Rosicky was absent through injury.

The Arsenal man returned to Prague for treatment on his calf problem earlier in the week, but the word coming out of the Czech camp is that he will almost certainly miss Thursday’s Quarter-Final clash.

Given how effectively Daniel Kolar deputised against Poland, however, Rosicky’s absence may not be quite such a hammer-blow to his side’s prospects of securing the Semi-Final berth that even the demanding Czech media would surely have to regard as a major achievement.

Kolar was a shining light in the 1-0 win in Wroclaw and with Tomas Hubschman also steadying the ship with his presence in the midfield engine room, the Czechs have been able to unleash the attacking talents of widemen Petr Jiracek, who bagged the winner against the Poles and Vaclav Pilar, who is starting to live up to his pre-tournament billing as genuine rising star of European football.

Unfortunately for coach Bilek, main striker Milan Baros still seems totally out of touch in front of goal and yet is almost guaranteed to retain his place against Portugal given that the Czech squad is bereft of any internationally-proven, top quality alternatives.

Questions marks also remain over goalkeeper Petr Cech who may have redeemed himself slightly with his clean sheet against the Poles but is still clearly not at his best and although full-backs Theodor Gebre Selassie and David Limbersky have won plenty of plaudits for their willingness to attack on the overlap, neither have looked especially solid defensively, a fact that will not have been lost on Cristiano Ronaldo or Nani.

What the Czechs did do well against the Poles was retain possession and strike quickly on the break when their opponents over-committed going forward and if the likes of Nani and Ronaldo neglect their defensive responsibilities in wide areas on Thursday, the Portuguese could find themselves being split open.

Fortunately for the 1996 runners-up, they have no suspension issues coming into this game and with Rosicky their only major injury doubt, it would come as no surprise if Bilek named an unchanged side from that which accounted forPoland.

So what of the Portuguese?

Like the Czechs, they lost their opening game of the tournament before bouncing back with entertaining wins over both Denmark and Netherlands.

And just when his doubters were poised to claim that Ronaldo had again failed to reproduce his amazing club form on the international stage, the Seleccao’s talisman unleashed his full array of sublime talents upon a Dutch side who were left chasing shadows.

With his customary nonchalance, the mercurial midfielder scored twice, hit the post on a further two occasions, created a hatful of opportunities for his team-mates and still managed to find time to squeeze in several theatrical tumbles, blame the perfect surface for a couple of mis-hit passes and turn his eyes to the heavens every time one of his colleagues coughed up possession or passed to someone other than himself.

All in all, it was classic Ronaldo and if the Real Madrid man can rise to the occasion again inWarsaw, his side should have a Semi-Final to look forward to next week.

Coach, Paulo Bento, meanwhile, has understandably chosen to focus upon the team spirit in the camp rather than the match-winning heroics of his skipper and the men in red certainly showed plenty of resolve to recover from conceding an early goal against Netherlands and go on to dominate the game.

Consistency of selection has been a hallmark of Bento’s approach at the tournament to date and he may well name an unchanged starting eleven for the fifth successive competitive game.

And while aware of the Czechs’ threat on the break, the Portuguese remain confident in their own ability to swiftly turn defence into attack.

Defenders Pepe, Fabio Coentrao and even Bruno Alves have all shown a great willingness to thunder forward at any opportunity, with Joao Moutinho and Raul Meireles equally happy to drop in and cover at the back in an approach that in its flexibility, bears at least some resemblance to the total football employed by the wonderful Dutch sides of the 1970s.

Although they still don’t always look overly-secure defensively, especially at set-pieces and lack both an out-an-out creator in central midfield and a world-class centre-forward, their movement all over the park is superb, they counter-attack as well as any side in the tournament and in Ronaldo, possess an individual with the priceless ability to conjure a goal from nothing.

In terms of historical omens, meanwhile, there is not too much to be drawn from the fact that the two sides have met on two previous occasions at European Championship Finals, with Portugal taking the honours in 2008 after the Czechs prevailed on their way to the Final in 1996 .

Unusually, this game looks destined to be won and lost down the flanks rather than in central midfield, meaning those of us who love a bit of traditional wing play should be in for a rare treat.

Portugal have been the more impressive at this tournament to date, emerging from the most difficult of all the groups and with Ronaldo finally hitting his straps, they should edge a tight one to make the last four.

Prediction: Czech Republic 1-2 Portugal

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