Saturday, June 7, 2008
Game 1: Czech it Out
In somewhat of a surprising result based on the pace of the match, the Czech Republic were able to eek out a 1-0 victory, despite the Swiss outplaying them for most of the match. I believe that if Alexander Frei did not get injured in the 1st half, the result of this match could have been quite different. Frei looked very dangerous early on with three menacing shots on target. Early on the Czechs looked very pedestrian in their play most of the match, giving away many balls out of the back, managing only 1 shot on target all match, and Petr Cech looked average at best, making all the stops, but giving up far too many rebounds. Jan Koller was MIA all the way up to the 56th minute when the game's only goal scorer Vaclav Sverkos was substituted on for the giant striker. The first twenty minutes of the second half saw the Czechs have the only sustained possession and pressure they saw all game, and they were able to capitalize on some poor clearances by the Swiss defense when Sverkos tucked away the only Czech shot on goal passed a helpless Diego Benaglio. Phillipe Senderos continued to show why he was benched for the latter 1/4 of Arsenal's season and Ludovic Magnin provided some dangerous balls into the box, but his defending was reckless and completely undisciplined (rightfully earning the first yellow card of the tournament). The other disappointment for the Swiss side for me was Gerson Fernandes; the young Man City midfielder seemed lost most of the match and was shut down by the Czech midfield. While I did predict the Czech to win this match, the Swiss were the better side and deserved to come away with at least a draw if not a full three points. This will make the quarterfinals a bridge too far for the co-hosts, and despite being outplayed the Czechs need to take care of the Turks and they should book their ticket into the quarterfinals. I know its early, but the Portuguese should be able to take 9 points from this group without breaking a sweat.
Posted by Tgalietti at 10:56 AM