Friday, June 20, 2008

Euro 08--Kinda Like The World Cup I Guess, Day 13


It was a pretty uninspiring round of group play for Germany. They were one of the tournament favorites heading in, but they needed a snoozer of a win in their final match against Austria to qualify for the knockout round. Portugal, meanwhile, rolled thru 2 pretty good squads in Turkey and the Czech Republic, before resting their regulars in a loss to Switzerland. So you had to like Portugal going into this match.

But then they gave up 2 goals in a span of 5 minutes in what amounts to the third inning (soccer=90 minutes, baseball=9 innings), and all of a sudden you did not have to like them so much.

You could tell that both of these teams are good, because typically a 2-0 score means game over, but that wasn't the case here. Portugal fought back, scoring in the 39th minute when Nuno Gomes tallied off a rebound of a shot by Cristiano Ronaldo, but Chelsea's Michael Ballack scored for the second straight game in the 62nd to drive home the point that Portugal was not going to win this game.

Ballack's goal was the Germans' second of the game off a free kick set-piece, showing the German's superiority in matters of order and structure, and also serving as a metaphor for why lots of people by German cars but nobody buys Portugese cars.

Germany advances to the semifinals. Portugal is done and can now go back to their twin national past times of fado music and being sad.

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