Warsaw: Both sides lost their opening games at the Euro 2012, but have since rallied the troops and earned a chance to fight for one place in the semi-finals.
A 4-1 defeat is by no means a good way to start a major tournament, so no wonder the Czechs were virtually written off following the heavy defeat to Russia.
The narrow win over Greece in the second group game saw the team return into contention for the top two places, but they still needed to beat co-hosts Poland in order to go through.
Despite the odds being stacked firmly against them, the Czechs duly obliged and won the first place in the group thanks to the 1-0 triumph over Poland.
Having already achieved their goal, Michal Bilek’s side will be under no pressure in the game against Portugal, and odds of 3.40 (12/5) offered by Stan James on Czech Republic to qualify could be worth a shot.
Team’s chances will be seriously damaged if influential midfielder Tomas Rosicky fails to recover in time to face Portugal, as his Achilles injury looks more serious than first thought.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Cech – Gebre Selassie, Sivok, Kadlec, Limbersky – Hubschmann, Plasil – Jiracek, Kolar, Pilar – Baros.
Portugal, too, had a really slow start to the European Championship as the opening defeat to Germany left them in a difficult position to qualify.
The Seleccao were far from impressive in their second game against Denmark, but somehow managed to record a valuable victory and thus improved their chances before the final group game.
It was against the Netherlands that Portugal finally shone as they came from a goal behind to record a 2-1 victory.
Their performance was even better than the final result, with everybody at the camp delighted to see Cristiano Ronaldo on top of his game following two dismal performances against Germany and Denmark.
The Real Madrid forward scored both goals against the Netherlands and he is now 2.25 (5/4) with Ladbrokes to score against Czech Republic. There is a special refund offer banking on Ronaldo scoring the first goal in the game.
With no fresh selection worries to report, coach Paulo Bento is likely to stick to the same side that started all three group games.
Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Patricio – Pereira, Pepe, Alves, Coentrao – Moutinho, Veloso, Meireles – Nani, Postiga, Ronaldo.
BDST: 1508 HRS, June 20, 2012
Edited by: Manoz Halder, Newsroom Editor
All rights reserved. Sale, redistribution or reproduction of information/photos/illustrations/video/audio contents on this website in any form without prior permission from banglanews24.com are strictly prohibited and liable to legal action.