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Czech Republic - Portugal Preview: Cristiano Ronaldo & Co. set sights on semi-final berth
Paulo Bento's men face a tough challenge in the form of the Narodak, and will rely on the Real Madrid ace to guide them to the final four where Spain or France await
By Vasil Kotsev
G. Selassie, Sivok, Kadlec, Limbersky
Jiracek, Kolar, Pilar
Joao Pereira, Alves, Pepe, Coentrao
Meireles, Veloso, Moutinho
Nani, Postiga, Ronaldo
Michal Bilek's biggest worry ahead of the quarter-final clash with Portugal is the fitness of star midfielder Tomas Rosicky, who is rated doubtful for the game on Thursday following his Achilles tendon injury sustained in the game against Greece.
Should the Arsenal star fail to recover in time for the clash with Paulo Bento's men, Viktoria Plzen's Daniel Kolar will continue to deputise. Up front, Milan Baros is set to spearhead the Czech Republic attack.
Portugal have a full-strength squad at their disposal for the game against the Narodak. Helder Postiga will be supported up front by Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo, with Raul Meireles, Miguel Veloso and Joao Moutinho forming a triple pivot in midfield.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Czech Republic eliminated Portugal at the same stage of the tournament in 1996 after a narrow 1-0 victory.
- Petr Jiracek's goal after two minutes and 14 seconds against Greece was the joint-third fastest goal in the history of the tournament.
- Czech Republic qualified from Group A with a negative goal difference. This also happened at Euro 1996, when the Narodak reached the final of the competition.
- Jaroslav Plasil, David Limbersky, Tomas Rosicky, Tomas Pekhart, Petr Jiracek and Daniel Kolar will all incur a suspension should they receive a yellow card.
- Portugal's victories over Denmark and Netherlands came on the back of four games without a win in 2012, in which they scored just one goal.
- The Seleccao have never failed to advance from the group stage of a European tournament.
- Cristiano Ronaldo's double against Netherlands took him to 34 goals for Portugal, surpassing Luis Figo's haul for the national team.
- Helder Postiga, Ronaldo, Fabio Coentrao, Raul Meireles and Joao Pereira will incur a suspension should they receive a booking.
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Top 3 Predictions
Czech Rep. 1-2 Portugal
- 18.87 %
Czech Rep. 1-3 Portugal
- 16.15 %
Czech Rep. 0-2 Portugal
- 14.44 %
|Euro 2012 (EC)||Jun 21, 2012||Czech Rep. 0 - Portugal 1|
|UEFA European Championship (EC)||Jun 11, 2008||Czech Rep. 1 - Portugal 3|
|Mar 26, 2013||Armenia 0 - Czech Rep. 3||WCQ|
|Mar 22, 2013||Czech Rep. 0 - Denmark 3||WCQ|
|Feb 6, 2013||Turkey 0 - Czech Rep. 2||FR|
|Nov 14, 2012||Czech Rep. 3 - Slovakia 0||FR|
|Oct 16, 2012||Czech Rep. 0 - Bulgaria 0||WCQ|
|Returns:||Czech Republic £710.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Draw £210.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Portugal £17.00||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|2||Theodor Gebre Selassie||Defender|
The Bayer Leverkusen man is playing out of position in the centre of the Czech Republic's defence, and have done remarkably so far at Euro 2012. He will have to be at his brilliant best on Thursday to help his team contain the Portuguese juggernaut.
The Real Madrid ace silenced his critics with a stunning performance against Netherlands, and he will be keen to prove that his display was not just a part of a 'hot and cold' sequence. His pace, power, dribbling and shooting could be the key to unlock Michal Bilek's side's defence.
Both teams come into the game on the back of two wins, and while Portugal's individual class would normally see them through, at a European tournament anything can happen. The Seleccao's defensive frailties were exposed against Denmark, and the Czech Republic's collective spirit could see them hold on and force the contest into penalties.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed