Saturday, June 14, 2008

Euro2008 Day 9 Open Thread

11.45 a.m. PST ESPN2

An exhibition match, as Portugal are already through as group winners and Switzerland are already eliminated. Not much more to say, is there?

Switzerland 2-0 Portugal.

I have nothing to add, as I didn't watch the exhibition match but only saw highlights.

Turkey-Czech Republic
11.45 a.m. PST ESPN Classic
An elimination match for the 2nd qualifying spot and a date with Group B winners Croatia in the quarterfinals. As these two teams are tied in every way, if there is a draw then by a new UEFA rule this year the tie will be broken by a penalty shootout immediately after the full time whistle- no extra time. Again, it will be interesting to see if it's tied late if the teams go for it or play for penalties.

Pretty even matchup here, either team is capable of winning; I have a sneaking suspicion that the Turks are going to sneak it.

Turkey 3-2 Czech Republic. Final.
They made me look smarter than I am, for sure.

The match of the tournament thusfar- if the next 100 soccer matches televised in the United States all finished like this, soccer would pass the WNBA in popularity in this country.

I actually missed the first half, as my 1 hour pickup game this morning in Golden Gate Park turned into a 2.5 hour pickup match, but I cruised over to Pizza Orgasmica for the second half, and what a second half it was. Turkey were 0-1 down but having the better of it as they desperately looked for an equalizer, then Czech went 2-0 up and with Cech in goal it seemed like that was that. At some point they hit the post to get a 3rd goal, which at the time was not a big deal but in hindsight was huge. In the 74th minute they got one back on a wonderfully placed shot off the post by young star Arda after two absolutely perfect and beautiful passes to set up the chance- a beautiful goal. So 2-1 and game on. Then only 3 minutes from time Peter Cech, one of the two best goalkeepers in the world {Buffon- Italy} and certainly the best goalkeeper in the world with a fractured skull, dropped an easy cross and gifted the Turks an equalizer; this had everything to do with the driving rain- yes it was a brainfart/fuckup, but if it was dry you have to think that it never would have happened.

So 2-2 with only 2 minutes left, and before everyone could wrap their heads around the amazing comeback and that we were looking at a straight to penalty shootout tiebreaker, Nihat beat the offsides trap and slotted home a curler off the underside of the bar in the 89th minute. In real time he looked offsides by a mile, but replays showed him to be even, which is onsides. Amazing.

2-0 up with 15 minutes left with Cech in goal, and I'd have bet you damn near anything that the Czechs would not lose, not against Turkey, Brasil, Argentina, Netherlands, not anyone. That they conceded 3 goals in the last 15 minutes and two in the last 5 is beyond belief. Incredible, and the best turnaround finish of any soccer match since France was 0-1 down in their Euro2004 group stage tilt with England in extra time and Zidane scored on a free kick in the 91st minute to get a draw and then just a minute later Henry earned a penalty which Zidane cooly slotted- after vomiting on the field- to absolutely stun England, who like the Czechs today, went from winning to tying to losing in less than 2 minutes at the very end of the match.

So Turkey go through as the 2nd place team which means that they will face Group A winners Croatia in the quarterfinals on Friday.


Killing My Liver said...

Absolutely great game, unless you're a czech rep fan. I was flipping back and forth, thinking the game was over. I flipped back: "Hey Turkey scored this could get interesting". The cech dropped the cross: "Wow, penalty kicks ... pretty cool". Then Nihat killed them. Awesome game.

Kanu said...

I wonder if Turkey's backup goalkeeper is any good...

OMAA said...

The boys and I were watching and Garrett declared the game over. Then the first score and I reminded him that it wasn't over until the whistle blew. We all learned that lesson. What a great finish. It stopped our channel surfing for a few minutes.