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Euro 2008 – Day One Observations

Observations from the Czech Republic .vs. Switzerland match:

You have to feel for the Swiss.  They controlled the entire match and created several fantastic opportunities, but in the end, they just couldn’t finish.  The team’s biggest opportunity came on the second shot at goal after the handball when Red Bull Salzburg forward Johan Vonlanthen hit the right post after Peter Cech’s initial save.

Forward, captain, and Swiss star Alexander Frei’s knee injury is massive.  If he cannot go the rest of the tournament, the Swiss might as well pack-it-in and play for a win since exiting the group stage would be a stretch without the country’s all-time scorer.

The Czech Republic had one shot on goal; it turned out to be all the team needed as forward Václav Svěrkoš scored his first international goal.

Prior to the tournament, several goalkeepers complained about the new ball that would be used.  Their concerns seemed justified as Peter Cech, an elite goalkeeper, struggled with the ball all match yesterday.

Observations from the Portugal .vs. Turkey match:

It was interesting to see Simão take the first free kick and not Cristiano Ronaldo.  When Ronaldo did take his first free kick, it was a tremendous strike that almost found the back of the net had it not been for a finger-tip save from the Turkish goalkeeper.

Once centre back Gökhan Zan left the match with an injury, Turkey’s chance at taking a point was lost. The back four looked perplexed after Zan’s exit as evidence by the confusion during Pepe’s first international goal and game winner for Portugal.

Today two matches on ESPN2:

11:50 a.m. – Austria .vs. Croatia (Group B) – (ESPN2)
2:30 p.m. – Germany .vs. Poland (Group B) – (ESPN2)