Czech Republic beat Switzerland in Euro 2008 Opener

Switzerland 0 – 1 Czech Republic

                          (Vaclav Sverkos 70 )

Sverkos scored the first goal of Euro 2008 Euro 2008 got to a perfect start as Czech Republic narrowly beat Switzerland in the cup opener. There was plenty of excitement for the fans, despite the lack of the goals, both teams played with attacking instincts and created chances, though they lacked in converting them. Switzerland, one of the host nations may feel that deserved something from the game after creating much better opportunities than Czechs. Peter Cech produced a commanding performance in the Republic goal as he was absolutely unbeatable.

The first half was an even affair with Switzerland being the better side and creating chances but failing to convert them. Alexander Frei was twice denied by Peter Cech until he was forced off with an injury and replaced with Yakim. The Czech’s also attacked but failed to create any clear cut chances in the match. After the restart, Czech made there first change by bringing on Vaclav Sverkos for Koller who had remained almost subdued throughout the match. Many may have considered this a surprise decision as Baros was left on the bench. But he soon silenced his doubters when he slotted in the ball from 12 yards after the ball found its way to him from top of the defence. Switzerland began to attack and they were denied by Peter Cech and then Johan Vonlanthen hit the woodwork from the rebound with almost the goal at his mercy. Swiss might feel that luck wasn’t on there side as they were denied a clear penalty with the ball hitting Jankulosvki on the hand but the referee failed to see it. There were some nervy moments but Czech Republic defended well to get an important win.

Now Switzerland will have a tough task in there hand as there remaining two matched are against Portugal and Turkey who are dangerous opponents.

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Man Utd thrash West Ham, one step away from title

Ronaldo Manchester United fans, it is time to rejoice now. We are nearly there. Only one games separates us from the title and that too may prove to be unnecessary if Newcastle United can help us by beating Chelsea on Monday. I was pretty confident that we will win the game but there was a doubt in my mind considering our last recent record against West Ham to whom we have lost the last 3 matches. But all that doubt was erased from my mind when Ronaldo raced into the area and beat Green with a deflected shot while the Hammers defenders just watched. Hammers might have got back into the game three minutes later but Patrice Evra saved on the line and we were also a bit lucky not to have conceded a penalty when Brown hand balled under pressure.

But still our passing was excellent and we created several chances. Then on 24th minute, Hargreaves delivered a beautiful cross, the defenders failed to clear and the ball went into the back off the net off Ronaldo’s thigh for his 40th goal of the season. If that was not enough, Carlos Tevez sent a vicious shot into the net from 25 yards. So beautiful was the goal that even West Ham supporters also appreciated and clapped. The game was almost over but Ashton, who has been linked to United recently scored a wonderful goal from an overhead kick. It would just have been a small amount of hope for West Ham but a foolish moment from Nani nearly cost us the game. After some brief altercation with Lucas Neill, Nani head butted him, and then produced a theatrical display of falling to the ground in hope of avoiding punishment. He was shown a straight red card and we were left with 10 men. Clearly it was a very amateurish behavior from Nani and that too in such an important game. I would have loved to see what Fergie would have told him at half time.

Luckily for us, Ashton injured his muscle in scoring the goal and he was soon replaced in second half by Carlton Cole. And the hope of West Ham comeback was gone when some poor defending allowed Carrick to score from a deflected shot at 58th minute. Fergie soon sent on Giggs for Park and Fletcher for Ronaldo and Fletcher could have added a fifth but his shot hit the upright and bounced back. We had a few decent chances afterwards but we won at 4 – 1. The record attendance at Old Trafford was 76,013 and they sensed that we have won the league, well almost. The gaffer was quick to put some pressure on Chelsea, and to be honest, i have a feeling that Chelsea might lose at Newcastle. Newcastle have been in good form lately and if Owen, Martins play to there best, added to the pressure on Chelsea to win, they might end up losing.

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Man Utd defeat Barcelona to reach Champions League Final

What a night for United and especially for Paul Scholes. Scoring only his 2nd goal of the campaign but what a goal it has turned out to be. I might have criticized Paul Scholes for the awkward challenge on Messi at the edge of the box in the first minute. Luckily, the referee judged it correctly and didn’t give a penalty. He made up for this with a devastating curling shot from 25 yards thanks to a little bit of help from Zambrotta. United were without Vidic and Rooney but they settled well in the opening minutes. We could have been 2-0 up had Park been a bit more clinical with the strike. Barcelona enjoyed superior possession and there danger man was Messi. Everytime he had the ball, i was nervous. Even though Barcelona had a lot of possession, they were reduced to shots from outside the area with the only danger being of Messi who had a decent shot saved by Van Der Sar. Nani was guilty of missing a great chance when he headed wide from 8 yards after a great cross by Park.

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Man Utd edge closer to the title with a draw against Blackburn

I had a nervy feeling before the game which almost proved to be correct. Man Utd needed a win if they wanted to remove some pressure of them before the game against Chelsea next week. Keeping in mind, the game against Barcelona at midweek, Man Utd made four changes to the side with Vidic returning and Kuszczak playing in place of Van Der Sar. There were some nervous moments at the back as Kuszczak rushed to save from Jason Roberts after just six minutes. Minutes later, United had an opportunity to take the lead but Tevez failed to apply finish to a wonderful cross by Rooney.

And it was United who were made to suffer after 21 minutes when some confusion at the defense between Vidic and Ferdinand after Pedersen’s throw allowed Santa Cruz to score his 20th goal of the season from 12 yards. And the title race was thrown wide open at that time. Sensing confidence, Blackburn started attacking and Kuszczak tipped over a shot from Bentley from 25 yards. In the past days, Capello had suggested that Rooney had all the ingredients to be a future England captain but Rooney led his frustration get to him as he launched a dangerous tackle on Samba for not being allowed a penalty. He was lucky to get only a yellow card. One player, that has kept United out of the game was Brad Friedel and he produced a fantastic save again to deny Ronaldo from Giggs corner.

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Premier League set for an exciting finish with just 6 games remaining

With just 6 games remaining, the Premier League is set for a dramatic finish, it has happened after a long time but it is worth the wait. The fight between Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea are sure to go till the end but Man Utd have an upper hand. Lets look at the remaining fixtures of all the team and analyze that which team has a good chance of winning the title

Manchester United’s remaining fixtures

  • Middlesbrough v Man Utd
  • Man Utd v Arsenal
  • Blackburn v Man Utd
  • Chelsea v Man Utd
  • Man Utd v West Ham
  • Wigan v Man Utd

The two fixtures that may have an impact on the title race are the ones against Arsenal and Chelsea. If Arsenal lost to United at Old Trafford, there title challenge could be over as the lead might increase to 9 points. United’s away match against Chelsea could very well prove important as it will be a must win for Chelsea if they want to reclaim there title. In the other fixtures, the one against Blackburn away will be somewhat difficult while i expect United to win the rest of games.

Chelsea’s remaining fixtures

  • Man City v Chelsea
  • Chelsea v Wigan
  • Everton v Chelsea
  • Chelsea v Man Utd
  • Newcastle v Chelsea
  • Chelsea v Bolton

Chelsea do have some difficult away games to Manchester City and Everton and a difficult one against Manchester United at home. With Man City and Everton both playing for Europe, they can be difficult to beat. but Chelsea have a very good home record and that will be there plus point. However, the match against Manchester United will be a must win for them.

Arsenal’s remaining fixtures

  • Arsenal v Liverpool
  • Man Utd v Arsenal
  • Arsenal v Reading
  • Derby v Arsenal
  • Arsenal v Everton
  • Sunderland v Arsenal

Arsenal definitely have a very bad ass schedule both in Premier League as well as Champions League. In a period of 10 days, they play Liverpool three times and Manchester United away. There squad depth is not very large and this may be a factor for there downfall. It will be a make or break period for them. I definitely think the match against United will decide Arsenal’s fate. While the rest of the games which they play are relatively easy, fatigue can be an important factor for them.

With Champions League also happening, it will have an impact on all the teams. And who knows, we might have a few surprises from the rest of the teams. By far, Manchester United who are in great form are my first favorites to win the title. But football is so full of surprises.

What do you guys think? Who do you think will go and win the league?

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