Thursday, 30 June 2016

Only 7 games to go

The tournament carries on, but first condolences to all the families who lost people in the attack in Turkey, a colleague of mine said after the Brexit and English defeat, that all it would need to forget about those subjects was another terrorist outrage, it is sad, how prescient he was.

Tonight, we have the first quarter final between Poland and Portugal. What can we say about these two countries apart from the fact that their names both begin with the letters Po. They are from opposite corners of the continent with Portugal being the Western most point of the landmass resting on the Atlantic coast and Poland far to the East on the coast of the Baltic sea. 

They are both proud nations with a long history, something which is not necessarily true about many European countries (the long history bit)
They both went through rather turbulent domestic times not that long ago. Portugal had a bloodless coup in 1974 which led to democracy being restored. 
In Poland, the rise in 1980 in the port of Gdansk (Danzig) of the trade union movement Solidarity,  which although brutally suppressed by the Polish government of General Jaruzelski, played a big part in the fall of Communism, a decade later.

Over the years, they have had some sort of success in big tournaments. Poland finished 3rd in both the 1974 and 1982 world cups. Portugal achieved that feat in 1966 with the legendary Eusebio in their team.
Portugal have also made it to the semi-finals of four Euros and lost in their only appearance in a final when they were upset by Greece in 2004 which was held in Portugal.

Below is a link to the Portugal v N Korea Quarter-Final from the 1966 world cup famous for Eusebio scoring four goals. It is a long clip, but well worth the time, the legendary David Coleman is the commentator. You will see eight goals and for those watching in black and white, Portugal are in the Blue shirts.
One could say that not much has changed for Portugal, always reliant on one star player, pay particular attention to what happens at 2:58 in the video, Eusebio then, Ronaldo today. Let me know what you think.

Eusebio then Ronaldo today

As those who have been following the tournament know, Portugal have just done enough to get this far, and many who follow football are wondering whether they are going to do what Greece did in 2004, reach the final despite playing poorly. 
Any team with Ronaldo in their ranks can not be taken lightly.

As for Poland, they have quietly progressed, almost under the radar. The draw they managed with the Nationalmannschaft
was very commendable and they also have their special weapon in Robert Lewandowski, whose goal scoring abilities we highlighted in an earlier post.

I would like to see Poland go through and I am looking forward to a good game.
Tomorrow I shall preview both Wales against Belgium and Germany against Italy

1 comment:

  1. purposely read this after the game. you hedged enough... and that was an amazing performance by eusebio