Czech Rep vs Portugal
Thursday 21st June 7.45pm
The Quarter-Finals for Euro 2012 begin with the Czech Republic versus Portugal. Both sides scrambled through their groups, a single goal proving decisive for the Czech’s as they eliminated co-hosts Poland from the tournament. A 72nd minute goal from Jiracek put their noses in front but they were grateful to Tomas Sivok for a last-ditch goal line clearance from Blaszcykowski in the dying moments. Having started the championship with a 4-1 defeat against Russia, the Czech Republic have done well to reach the quarter-finals and anything else will be a bonus.
This will be an attacking game and we’ll go for a bet on over 2.5 goals and a narrow 2-1 win for Portugal with great odds at BetVictor.com.
Portugal qualified for the quarter-finals by defeating a disappointing Holland side 2-1, courtesy of two-goals from Cristiano Ronaldo. The Dutch took an early lead through Van der Vaart but Ronaldo struck in the 28th minute and secured the victory sixteen minutes from the finish. In their second game, Portugal were pushed to the limit by Denmark and substitute Silvestre Varela saved their blushes with a winner just three minutes from time. Ronaldo had earlier missed two clear cut opportunities to seal the game. Portugal have always looked at their best when attacking and the Czech Republic look ideal opponents. The Portuguese will see this as a great opportunity to grab a semi-final spot and, with Ronaldo at last showing some of his domestic league form on the international stage, they must go into the game as strong favourites.
For the Czech Republic, their likely game plan will be to sit back and hope to soak up the pressure and hit Portugal on the counter attack. Goalkeeper Petr Cech came into these championships on the back of some sensational performances for Chelsea but looked suspect in their opening matches. He performed much better against Poland and the whole team will have been boosted by keeping a clean sheet. They stunned Greece with two early goals in Wroclaw but ended up hanging on grimly for a 2-1 win. Jiracek and Pilar made the most of opportunities handed to them by some uncharacteristically slack defending from the Greeks.
Understandably, the bookmakers make Portugal odds-on favourites to progress at 8-11 with the draw showing at 23-10 and a victory for the Czech Republic at 9-2. Cristiano Ronaldo is best priced at 4-1 with Ladbrokes to open the scoring after his double-strike against Holland. Helder Postiga is next best at 7-1 with Nani available at 9-1. Portugal to win by a 1-0 margin is likely to be popular at 6-1 with most firms. There is a whole range of markets available on the match including winning margin and handicap betting.