Thursday, 21 June 2012

Portugal vs Czech Republic preview

"How do I make this article funny?" I thought to myself as I wept and slowly rocked back and forth on my bedroom floor this afternoon. Many of you would argue that none of my pieces are particularly funny, but it's not going to stop me trying. At the very least, I am going to use this Portugal-themed article to try and win some free chicken from Nando's. The problem for me is that Portugal - for all their technically gifted players - and Czech Republic - for all their lack of technically gifted players - just aren't as funny as say Ireland or Denmark, who have provided me with about twenty opportunities to put 'Nicklas Bendtner' and 'pants' into the same sentence.

So here's a joke:
Helder Postiga and Milan Baros walk into a European Championship. They are allowed to stay.

Portugal approach tonight's game with a favourites tag which is likely to make them fall apart. For all their flair and pace with Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani, there is often a way in which they cock it up, usually through passing the ball to Postiga, who is now likely to score a hat-trick to prove my journalistic ineptitude. Their midfield is the epitome of OK. Joao Moutinho, Raul Meireles and Miguel Veloso are all decent players, but they are essentially three Michael Carricks, only with names which would not be out of place at a Mediterranean gay bar. That's some food for thought. Nando's.

At the back, Portugal still look suspect. Their central defenders are strong, but still susceptible to being exposed by top level strikers. While Pepe has an almost child-like abandon in the way he plays, his calmness on the ball often leads to mistakes. Bruno Alves looks like Michael Jackson as a zombie in thriller. Luckily for the Portuguese, I can't see Baros and co causing them too many problems, but a potential semi-final against Spain could be good to watch.

As for the Czechs, my dinner going cold and lack of knowledge about the team means that the less said about them the better. When your only world class player starts making basic errors, you know you're in for a struggle. Thumped by the eliminated Russia in the first game, Czech Republic only just struggled past Greece who, as you'll find out tomorrow, I don't rate very highly. They not only qualified, but finished top of Group A thanks to a win over co-hosts Poland, who it turns out aren't very good either.

I'm hoping for all hell to break loose tonight. One day without football has left me hungry (Nando's) for more, so a 4-3 win for Portugal wouldn't go amiss. I predict (an actual prediction) a comfortable Portugal win, with Ronaldo slowly starting to find some form...and he's in my fantasy football team.

I will probably update this when the Czechs win 1-0, but in the meantime, feast (Nando's) on my footballing knowledge. I'm going to e-mail a certain restaurant about the opportunity to win a black card.

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