Scolari showing weakness ahead of taking over Chelsea?
By Andrew Cuff
Thursday 19 Jun 2008 22:00:00
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Tonight the beginning of the second round of the Euro 2008 competition it’s quarter final time, four days on the trot. The two big names taking on each other in the first of the four games; Germany tournament favourites before the start of the competition though with recent performances those odds have seen a rapid decline something similar to the UK housing market and Portugal with a team of fluid and exciting players. Portugal in my opinion were favourites to win with a solid midfield and some great attacking players plus a manager with a superb track record prior to this tournament.

Germany certainly had the heat advantage and capitalised on this by scoring two goals from set pieces, though the actual goal resulted more from the disarray of the Portuguese defence. This I believe entirely down to the manager, Scolari, with either a bad defensive strategy or lack of practice on handling set pieces. Though he has taken a stance that Ballack’s nudge of the defender was the reason Germany scored and that the referees blatantly ignored this, in hindsight it may have lost Portugal the game. All things considered these days if the referee blew his whistle for every push and contact with other players the game would be at a constant standstill and would resemble a game of netball played with the feet. I am not saying that I feel the officials should never blow the whistle for genuine fouls like the shoulder charge by Pepe tonight, that was most certainly a foul and deserved a yellow card.

Bringing the next argument. What is the real benefit to the referees if all yellow cards are wiped off after the quarter finals? This then means any player can go out get a yellow card in the quarter finals, then have a clean record in the semis where once again he could get another yellow which has no real impact on the game unless the player was to get a second yellow in the same match. This is a real get out of jail free card for the players, one harsh out of order tackle a match the cool it off, or if you have a second one plead hard enough with the referee and this greatly increases your chance of getting away with it. UEFA and FIFA really should look at the impact this is having on the discipline in the quarter finals and I feel tonight was just a warm up for the tension and arguments which will break out in the next session of games.

Germany deserved to win in many respects the defended well and took full advantage of Portugal’s defensive errors. Ronaldo given captaincy half way through after Nuno Gomes was substituted for Nani. Nani who subsequently became the pain in the side of the German defence providing a perfect cross for Portugal’s second goal, though it was a little too late. Scolari left the change late into the second half meaning he could not impact the game as greatly as he could have. It also highlighted how much class this player could be capable of and how well he linked up with both Deco and Ronaldo. Something to keep an eye out for in the upcoming season.

Germany 3 - 2 Portugal

The next 3 matches this Friday through to Sunday are all at 19h45 (BST) on BBC ONE. Croatia tackle Turkey, then Saturday night sees the giants Netherlands attempt to master the Russians and finally Spain defend against the Italians. One night after the other of excitement leading to semi-finals in just under a week.

Semi-finals will be Germany vs. Croatia/Turkey and Netherlands/Russia vs. Spain/Italians. On Wednesday or Thursday next week.

Tonights result gives Ronaldo and Nani time to rest before preseason, Evra is already finished his Euro campaign. Scolari can now officially resign from his post and take over the reigns at Chelsea. Van Der Sar still has Saturday night to perform on and I am rooting for the Dutch to be in the final next week Sunday

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