Team news: Czech skipper Tomas Rosicky is not available to start but team manager Vladimir Smicer has hinted that he may be risked him on an impact basis. The huge void in midfield that he leaves will be filled by Daniel Kolar, who already did it in the last match. Otherwise, Czech head coach Michal Bilek has a full roster to choose from.
One should expect a similar Portugal side to the one that beat Netherlands and knocked them out of Euro 2012. Helder Postiga, Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo will start in a forked attack. His substitute options remain a bit weak compared to other teams though, with Nelson Oliveira not having done much. Silvestre Varela has at least scored that memorable winner against Denmark.
The midfield will also remain the same, with Joao Pereira, Joao Moutinho and Miguel Veloso in a triangle.
From the camps: Czech coach Bilek says: "We know Portugal have dangerous players in midfield and up front, such as Nani, Helder Postiga and Ronaldo. We have that in mind, and we'll adjust our tactics to be more defensive. We can't play like we did against Russia." So a park-the-bus tactic may be what the Czechs will opt for.
Meanwhile, Paulo Bento seems adamant that Portugal's strategy has been good up till now and will deploy it again: "What we have been doing is that, even in the toughest moments, we do not change our strategy, nor our identity. We will see what our opponent will do and we will try to counter their strong points and explore their weak points."
Did you know: Karel Poborsky scored a lovely goal in Euro 1996 to beat Portugal. Check out the highlights below of that match.
But they know how dangerous Ronaldo is. The winger scored in Portugal's 3-1 win in 2008.
While the Czechs have scored in 12 out of their last 13 Euro matches, the Portuguese have managed to keep a cleansheet in only one out of 10 matches at the Euros.
Portugal have a fantastic record of qualifying for the knockouts every time they play in the Euros.
Say what you may, but Ronaldo is the main man for Portugal. He has scored for them at five major international tournaments and took a dozen shots against Netherlands.
Published Date: Jun 21, 2012 08:56 pm | Updated Date: Jun 21, 2012 08:57 pm