It would be fair to say that there have been several raised eye brows following the progression of these two nations into the quarter finals. In the case of the Czech Republic, Michal Bilek’s men defied all odds to progress from their group even though Russia, Greece and Poland were viewed as having a better chance. Portugal meanwhile saw off the threat of the Netherlands and Denmark, with the Portuguese joining Germany from Group B in making up the final eight teams.
After losing 4-1 in their opening game against Russia, it was no surprise to see the Czech Republic completely written off for qualification. In fact, many people had done that before the tournament had even begun, with the Czech’s seen as a weak nation this term. However, that defeat has seemed to spur the country on and they ended up winning their remaining two games, and therefore topping the group. There was immense pressure on their shoulders when they came to face Poland in their most recent game, with Bilek’s men knowing that a defeat would send them out of the tournament. However, they put in an extremely competent second half display to overcome the Poles, and eventually finished 1st courtesy of Russia’s loss against Greece.
Even though Portugal are held in a slightly higher regard than their opponents, many people still thought that Paolo Bento’s side would struggle to qualify due to the strength of their group. However, despite suffering a shock defeat to arguably their group’s weakest team, Denmark, in the opening game, Portugal responded well and ended up qualifying as runners-up after winning their next two games. To make matters more promising for the Portuguese, Cristiano Ronaldo appears to have hit form at exactly the right time after scoring twice in their last clash. Unfortunately, the odds are extremely low for him to score for a successive game and it is probably a poor value bet to back him.
As for team news, the Czech Republic could have a huge problem with Tomas Rosicky once again a doubt as he continues to struggle with an Achilles injury. The Arsenal midfielder has returned to training, but Michal Bilek may decide to select Daniel Kolar again in order to preserve Rosicky’s fitness. It’s a different story for the Portuguese meanwhile, with Paolo Bento’s side having no fresh concerns for the clash. Both Bruno Alves and Raul Meireles have recovered from their respective injuries, meaning that the Portuguese are at completely full strength.
Even though Portugal are tipped heavily for this clash, we don’t think it’ll be plain sailing for Paolo Bento’s men. However, while the Czech’s may put up a decent fight, we will still tip a narrow 2-1 victory for the Portuguese.