The Netherlands went in to this game expected to win after incredible results in the group stages, including beating both of the 2006 World Cup Finalists (France and Italy) by three goals each time. Russia were expected to be thrashed in this game after coming second in their group, but their final game against Sweden showed that they still may have some thing to offer after playing extremely good football.
Surprisingly, Russia started off the better team, with lots of possession and some good chances, with Kolodin with three shots from way out side the penalty area resulting in good saves and extremely near misses.
Although Russia dominated, the Dutch had good chances, and Real Madrid striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy should have put Holland one up after a brilliant free kick was inches away from his boot, and although Russia had more chances, the Dutch chances were better, and the half time score was 0 – 0.
In the second half it was much the same story, with Russia leading the way and the Dutch having few chances, and it was on the sixty third minute when Roman Pavlyuchenko slotted the ball in to the near post after a brilliant cross. Their lead was canceled out on the eighty sixth minute though, when Van Nistelrooy headed from point blank range after a brilliant free kick from Sneidjer.
In the first period of extra time, Russia continued to dominate, and the Dutch looked more and more desperate, and it was in the second half of extra time when, on the one hundred and twelfth minute, Torbinsky tapped the ball home from less than a foot off the line after a cross looped over Van Der Sar’s head.
Russia confirmed their victory with four minutes remaining, when man of the match Andrei Arshavin’s deflected shot went through the legs of the Dutch keeper.
Overall a fine game, and whoever Russia face next out of Spain or Italy will be worried. Favorites Holland are out of the tournament though, and their fans will be truly disheartened, although the better team won.
This was the second quarter final of the tournament so far, with Croatia excelling in their group with three wins, including an impressive win over Germany. Turkey went in to this game after clinching the last eight spot with three very late goals in their last game against Czech Republic, meaning they came in to this game after finishing second in their group.
Croatia started well, playing some good football and keeping possession well. Turkey had a bit of possession, too, as well as a free kick that was expertly blocked by Nico Kovac. But it was just before the twenty minute mark when Croatia had a flurry of chances, with the best of which falling to Olic, who just needed to tap the ball in to the open goal, but the ball rebounded off him on to the crossbar and the ball came back out.
After that, there was no real action in the first half, although the game was relatively entertaining. Turkey had nearly two thirds of possession in the first period, as well as having more shots, but they didn’t utilize these statistics, and the game was goal less as they went in for the half time break.
The story was much the same in the second half, which Olic again missing crucial chances, and Turkey just about held on with expert saves, long clearances up the pitch and poor Croatian final touches. Because of this, the game went in to extra time.
This was by far the most exciting part of the game, and in the third period of the game, Turkey looked on top, playing brilliant football, and if they had been a bit more attacking it was fairly obvious that they would have scored, but the game went in to the fourth period goal less.
The second half of extra time belonged to Croatia, with some chances going astray before with ninety second left to play, a foolish error by the Turkish goal keeper meant that substitute Klasnic has an easy header, and Croatia thought they had won, but they hadn’t. A long ball forward from goal keeper Rustu caused some errors by the Croatian center backs, who let Senturk blast a shot in to the top corner from around eight yards, and the game went to penalties.
Croatia missed their first, third and fourth penalties with saves and two off target shots, with Turkey scoring all of their three penalties to go through to the semi finals to face Germany.
The game took around ninety minutes to warm up, but after that it got very exciting, although the best team lost, and Turkey shouldn’t really be where they are, but that’s not to take anything away from them, as they played brilliantly and ultimately scored more goals.
Final Score: Croatia 1 – 1 Turkey (Turkey win 3-1 on penalties)
This was the first quarter final of the competition, with Portugal coming top of their group with six points. Germany, however, looked shaky in the group stages, coming second in their group after a disappointing loss to Croatia.
Portugal started well, playing good football, but neither team really pressed in the first ten minutes or so. The Portuguese started to find their feet, and created a good opportunity or two that could have been turned in. But then, as we’ve seen so many times in this competition, a quick counter attack led to the first goal. Bastian Schweinsteiger applied the final touch after a bursting run and a superb cross from Klose meant an easy tap in.
It was just four minutes later when the Germans doubled their lead. A free kick from the left side of the pitch had pin point accuracy, and poor defending from the Portuguese meant that Klose had a free header to score his first goal of the tournament.
After that Germany looked extremely likely to add a second, playing extremely good football in both attack and defense, although a couple of off side decisions meant they couldn’t add another goal in the first half.
Portugal, however, added a goal before the half time whistle was blown, Nuno Gomes adding the final touch from a rebound after Jens Lehmann saved Cristiano Ronaldo’s shot.
In the second half the Germans started the brighter team, with some more good attacking play leading to another goal, extremely similar to the second. A free kick from the left, to the back post, and a little push from Michael Ballack meant that he had a bit more room to apply the finishing touch, and it looked like there was no way back for Portugal.
The Portuguese then found some confidence, but they simply couldn’t get through the German defense until late in the second half, Nani crossing for Postiga to head the ball in, bringing the Portuguese within just one goal of the Germans, but they couldn’t do enough to win it.
This was a very exciting game, with Germany dominating for the majority of the ninety minutes, and although the score line flatters the Portuguese a bit, they go home with nothing to show for their efforts, and Germany go through clear favorites for the semi final they will play against either Croatia or Turkey.
Few days ago I wrote a post on how to watch Euro 2008 online for free, using some P2P applications and by visiting couple of websites for channels links. Well I also realized couple of days ago that Justin.TV the website that gives you the ability to broadcast an online channel using your webcam or any other sources, I found that people who got Aljazeera Sports Channels or any other channels who do show Euro 2008 are actually broadcasting the matches on Justin.TV, and some of those channels are broadcasting on good quality.
You can always find the best channels before the start of the match by few minutes, you can sort by number of viewers, those channels who disable the chat have the best video quality, this is depending on my experience. You can search for channels and their schedules, you can even watch what they broadcasted before, Justing.TV keeps archives of all the broadcasts until the owner deletes them.
Spain went in to this game guaranteed first place, after beating Russia (4 – 1 to Spain) and Sweden (2 – 1 to Spain). Greece, however, went in to this game knowing that there was nothing they could do to stay in the competition, after a disappointing campaign, losing both their initial games.
In the opening stages of the game Spain looked to be the better team, with Arsenal midfielder Cesc Febregas right in the middle of the action, and he was playing very well. Spain were playing attacking football and made the Greece defense look very nervous, but they started to cope with the make shift Spanish attacking duo.
Xabi Alonso, the player who has just left Liverpool, made a brilliant chance for himself from inside the center circle, with the Greece goal keeper back pedalling frantically, but it didn’t go in.
Then, against the run of play, Greece scored. After a cross from a free kick made by Karagouni, a brilliant header from Charisteas left Spanish goal keeper Reina no chance.
After the half time break, Spain took control again, and it was inevitable when Ruben de la Red smashed a lethal shot in the sixty first minute, giving the stunned Greek goal keeper no chance at all.
Greece maybe should have scored again a few minutes later, and had a couple more opportunities in the game, but they couldn’t stop Guiza from losing his marker and scoring a header in the last minute of the game.
Overall, not a very good game, and it was slightly boring at times, although the class of Spain got them through this game with a win, and it means they top the group going in to the quarter finals. Greece will be disappointed though, as they are current holders and only managed to score once in their whole campaign.
Tonight’s results mean that Spain top the group with three wins, Russia go through with them and Sweden and Greece follow, but leave the tournament empty handed.
After both teams beat Greece and lost to Spain, the pressure was on in this game. Russia needed a win, where as Sweden could get through with a draw. Russia knew that they were under pressure, and Guus Hiddink was especially feeling the heat, as he was offered a four hundred thousand pound bonus if his Russian side got through to the quarter finals.
Russia started the game better, playing fast football and catching the Swedes out. A combination of good saves, hitting the post, missing chances and simply not engineering chances well enough meant that after twenty five minutes the game was still goal less.
But then, a moment of genius from Russia produced the first goal of the game: an excellent run by the winger, who passed the ball in to the area for the under lapping right back, who then played the ball back to Roman Pavlyuchenko who neatly finished the move, playing the ball calmly in to the bottom corner.
Sweden never really looked like scoring, and Henrik Larsson had the closest chance, heading the ball on to the post, although this would have been extremely flattering if it had gone in.
In the second half the story was much the same, and Russia got a quick goal, when a sweeping move was converted in to a goal by Andrei Arshavin, who had a brilliant game.
Russia looked likely to score more, and in the last ten minutes they should have scored at least two goals, and must have had five or six good opportunities, including a couple of headers from point blank range.
Overall a good performance by Russia, who knock Sweden out the tournament, and reach the knock out stage of a major tournament since they were the Soviet Union.
After the Netherlands were already going through, a draw would have guaranteed them first place, and there were rumors that they might let Romania win intentionally so that France and Italy were both out for the knock out stages. Romania had been playing well, after drawing with both World Cup finalists they needed either a draw in this game and the France v Italy game, or to beat the Netherlands to go through.
Neither team started particularly well, the Dutch team that had nine (yes nine!) changes looked very nervous, which was surprising due to them already being through. The closest the first half came to producing a Romanian goal was a couple of self made opportunities by former Chelsea star Adrian Mutu, where as Holland’s best opportunity fell to Arjen Robben who looked hasty and poked the ball past the post.
The second half is when a much needed goal came, and it went for the Dutch. A low cross from Afellay was calmly converted by star striker Huntelaar, and the Romanians were punished for not taking the game to Holland.
The next goal came very late in the second half, and once again fell for the Dutch. Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie skilled out the Romanian defender, leaving him literally in tangles on the floor, before smashing the ball in to the near top corner to ensure the Netherlands one hundred per cent win rate was kept intact.
Overall, not a brilliant game, with the Romanians being too conservative when they really should have pushed on the Dutch defense. Tonight’s results mean that the Netherlands top the group with nine points, the Italians come second with four points, Romania come third with two points, and France lose the group with just one point.