The group phase is almost over and it’s time to have a look at the first of four quarter finals. Two tournament favorites, Portugal and Germany, face each other in Basel on Thursday.
The Euro 2008 organisation had a busy week when it’s about the venue for this match. After the Switzerland – Turkey clash, where heavy rain made normal play practically impossible, the stadium in Basel needed new grass.
That grass, which had to be brought over from the Netherlands, has only been installed this week and some will be worried about its quality.
Nevertheless, both teams would be experiencing the same problems and managers Scolari and LÃƒÂ¶w will be more interested in the actual match.
Portugal have been doing well so far, with two relatively easy wins in the group phase to secure qualification. Scolari’s men did lose the last game to Switzerland, but that was nothing more than a formality.
One to watch is – as always – Cristiano Ronaldo. The Manchester United attacker was influential in the first two games and will want to show his skills once again versus the Germans.
Germany have had an up-and-down campaign so far. After an easy win over Poland, the 1996 European Champions crashed to a defeat against Croatia. Their narrow win over hosts Austria eventually earned them in a spot in the quarter finals.
Manager LÃƒÂ¶w will have to watch the match from the stands after his removal during the match with Austria, in which both coaches were ex-pulsed.
And the Germans received more bad news as Torsten Frings fractured a rib and may be out for the rest of the tournament. Playing against Portugal seems very unlikely for the influential player.
Although Germany beat Croatia 3-1 in the third-place play off at the 2006 World Cup, they will be more worried about the result achieved against the Portuguese at Euro 2000.
Portugal won that group match 3-0 and advanced to the quarter finals where as Germany wouldn’t survive the group phase at all.
If Portugal are to reach the semi finals, they would be doing so for the third consecutive time. For Germany, this is their first quarter final since 1996.
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