The Media Guru

Jun 25, 2008



Who'd had thought about it? Even the most experienced of football pundits couldn't have come up with such predictions...

Match 1 - Portugal vs Germany


In spite of having had an under-par form throughout the group stages, Germany have successfully risen to the Portugal challenge. While Chelsea's new manager Felipe Scolari had before the match complained of the low height of his players, it was only poor defending that allowed the Germans to score easily on set pieces. The first goal, at the 22nd minute was a trademark Holland counter-attack, with Schweinsteiger scoring from close range. 4 mins later, Klose was allowed to freely head in a Schweinsteiger free kick as the Portugal defence remained motionless. Portugal fought back a goal with Nuno Gomes on the 41st min.
The second half resumed with a massive blunder from Ricardo. From another Schweinsteiger free kick, the defence was nowhere as expected & Ricardo was caught in no-man's land as he tried to make a jump for the cross. Unfortunately, he was beaten to the ball by Michael Ballack, who headed in the empty net. Portugal were losing 3-1. & they managed to pull one back on the 87th min with , but it was a little too late - there would be no last-minute equaliser. Germany was qualified.


Match 2 - Croatia vs Turkey


What a match! Although, throughout the whole 90 mins, both teams got numerous opportunities to score, they failed to do so. & finally on the last minute of extra-time, 119th min, Turkey goalkeeper Rustu made a dash for the ball, but the Croatia player managed to avoid him & deliver the cross in the six yard box, with Rustu scrambling back to the posts. Alas, the cross was met by Ivan Klasnic who headed in the golden goal, sending the stadium into ecstasy. Croatia's efforts have finally paid off & surely there would be no turning back now - they were already in the semi-final.
But as they say, a match is never over until the referee blows his whistle. & 30s later, as the whole crowd were whistling for the end of the match... Rustu desperately kicked the ball into Croatia's penalty box, where it was caught by Semih Senturk, who did a quick turnaround & fired the ball straight in the corner of the goalposts. Completely unbelievable. Turkey have managed to equalise in the last seconds of extra-time!
The match was to be decided by a penalty shoot-out. The Croatia players never recovered from that shock goal & missed 3 of their penalties. Turkey didn't fail & thus they won 3-1.


Match 3 - Netherlands vs Russia


Everyone was expecting Russia to receive a thrashing from ultra-attacking Holland. But Gus Hiddink had other plans... The master tactician managed to stiffle Holland's freestyle play by gaining the upper hand in the middle & blocking Holland's passes. & forcing Holland to defend though the tireless Andrei Arshavin. It was only an in-form Van Der Sar that prevented Russia from scoring.
However, in the 2nd half, with an inspirational play from Arshavin, Holland were struck dumb by a goal from Pavluchenko! Holland fought back & finally on the 86th min Ruud Van Nistelrooy scored the equaliser for Holland, giving them hope of a "Turkish" comeback. But instead of tiring themselves out, the Russian team attacked with more vigour & in what seemed to be an impossible position, Arshavin managed to cross the ball right into the net & Torbinsky had just to nudge the ball in. Russia were leading 2-1!!!
& 4 mins later, the same Arshavin drove the ball in between the legs of Van Der Sar to give Russia a well deserved win & becoming the tournament's revelation - Euro 2008's best player!
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovitch has already made it his priority to bring 27-year-old Andrei Arshavin to Stanford Bridge.


Match 4 - Spain vs Italy


What was supposed to be an explosive match turned out to be a dull 0-0 draw, to be decided on penalties. Both teams had few chances throughout the normal time & it was up to the goalkeepers to prove themselves. Spain captain Iker Casillas saved 2 penalties & Cesc Fabregas scored the winner to send Spain into the semis. & Spain's 4-2 win against Italy was a first after 88 years.


Germany vs Turkey
Russia vs Spain
(live MBC 3 – 22h 45)
Well, no one could have predicted such a scenario. Except of Spain, all teams who were unbeaten, all teams who rested their players are out. Germany have regained their playing skills & have a more realist attitude. Turkey have had an incredible chance, but will they stage another comeback against Germany with only 14 fit players? Russia are a reborned team with playmaker Andrei Arshavin, but Spain have already beaten them 4-1. Will Russia be able to beat the only unbeaten team? Are we going to witness history being made? Turkey vs Russia, anyone? ;)

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