Portugal		3	2	0	1	4	2	6
	Greece		3	1	1	1	4	4	4
	Spain		3	1	1	1	2	2	4
	Russia		3	1	0	2	2	4	3

	Qualify for quarter-finals

Nuno Gomes 57

The first half was as bad as any in the tournament so far, frustrating given the quality of some of the players on show.
The highlights were provided by both goalkeepers. Casillas made an unnecessarily spectacular save from Miguel (who has
impressed me in the last two games) and at the other end Ricardo made a brilliant interception with his feet as Torres
bore down on goal. An all too rare moment of quality from Figo resulted in the only clear cut chance, he picked out
Ronaldo with a superb whipped cross but the teenager couldn't repeat his heroics against the Russians and headed wide.

Nuno Gomes replaced the hugely disappointing Pauleta at half time and scored the only goal. Deco, Maniche and Figo
were involved in the build-up, Figo with a cheeky flick onto Gomes, Gomes turned and tried his luck from the edge of the
box, his luck was in, 1-0. The prospect of elimination forced the Spanish forward. Raul wasted a glorious cross by Vicente
and headed over with the goal gaping. A delightful pass by Xabi Alonso split the Portuguese defence but Torres could only
hit the post. Casillas brilliantly kept out Real Madrid team-mate Figo's free kick then scrambled across his goal to block
Costinha's bullet header from a corner. The Portuguese struggled to clear a succession of corners and Costinha missed a
chance to seal victory and end his nations suffering when heading over a quite brilliant Valente cross.

I fail to understand why the English media were so enamoured with Spain. They were dreadful in their first two games,
there was nothing wrong with the approach play but Raul, like Vieri, undid all the good work by his midfield with appalling
finishing. I expected Portugal to go through (read the previous review) and they did. People need to give Scolari a break,
he is one of the best coaches in the World. It looks like Portugal will face England (assuming of course England beat
Croatia) for a place in the semi-finals.

Assist : Figo

RUSSIA					2-1				GREECE
Kirichenko 2									Vryzas 43
Bulykin 17

Kirichenko scored the quickest goal in European Championship history. Malafeev launched a goalkick downfield, Katsouranis,
under pressure from Kirichenko, fell as he tried to clear leaving the Russian with an easy finish. Bulykin was left unmarked
to head in Gusev's corner. The Greeks were panicking, Basinas helped on Bulykin's pass leaving Kerzhakov with the goal at
his mercy but he volleyed over. Charisteas did his Vieri impression, shooting over inches from goal. Bulykin should have
scored his second when the Greeks went missing on another Gusev corner but headed into the ground. Papadopoulos
headed on Charisteas' cross, Vryzas held off his marker, turned and sent a lob over Malafeev, brilliant finish. A fantastic save
denied dead ball specialist Tsiartas the equaliser and Kerzhakov missed another guilt edged chance following a strong run
and cross by Bugayev.

Definitely a case of nerves from the Greeks here. Failure to beat Russia will probably earn them a meeting with defending
champions France in the quarter-finals. I wonder if they will play for penalties?

Assist : Gusev (ck)

16 June 2004

Maniche 7
Rui Costa 89

Deco found his Porto team-mate Maniche with what I think was an over hit pass, Maniche did well to take the sting out of the
ball before turning and shooting past Ovchinnikov. The game then went the same route as many others in this tournament.
One team (Portugal) had a lot of possession but didn't have any notable shots on target. Sennikov's hospital pass, straight to
Pauleta, forced Ovchinnikov off his line, the 'keeper managed to stop the ball with his body but instinctively put his hand on it,
outside the box = red card.

Despite their numerical advantage the Portuguese struggled to create any chances until the introduction of Rui Costa.
A fantastic move almost resulted in Portugal scoring what would have been runner-up in the goal of the tournament
(Van Nistelrooy is obvious choice for first place). Miguel fired a ball towards Deco, he feigned to take the ball with his left foot
before jumping out of the way and leaving the ball for Nuno Gomes, Gomes played it back, Deco returned first time, Gomes spun
on the edge of the box then played in Figo, his shot was tipped onto a post by Malafeev and Deco flashed the rebound over.
A quick break gave the Portuguese a deserved second goal. Rui Costa ran with pace (!) deep from his own half and passed to
fellow substitute Ronaldo, he ran into the box, checked then hit an excellent pass with the outside of his foot and Rui Costa
arrived to complete a 50 yard one-two.

Portugal need to beat Spain to go through and I wouldn't bet against them given the way Spain have played so far. Scolari have
come in from some harsh criticism, none of which is merited. As I have said before you learn nothing from friendlies now he
knows what his players are capable of under genuine pressure and for the sake of the tournament let's hope Portugal make it to
the next round and beat France!

Assists : Deco, Ronaldo
Red Card : Ovchinnikov 45 (Russia)

GREECE					1-1				SPAIN
Charisteas 66								Morientes 28

The Spanish were looking for revenge after the Greeks surprise victory in the qualifiers. Kapsis, under pressure from Morientes
tried to pass the ball to Dellas, Raul intercepted, back heeled to Morientes who brilliantly took out Katsouranis with a subtle
dummy before thumping the ball inside the post, lovely goal.

Raul missed an absolute sitter, heading Joaquin's cross embarrassingly way over the bar. Charisteas showed an excellent touch
to bring Tsiartis's raking pass under control then shot low in off Casillas. Baraja headed Vicente's corner wide and from the other
flank Helguera, unmarked in the box, headed straight at Nikopolidis.

Greece only need a draw in their last game against Russia. I expect they'll get all three points and go through as group winners
to setup a quarter-final against England.

Assists : Raul, Tsiartis

12 June 2004

SPAIN					1-0				RUSSIA
Valeron 60

Raul wasted two great early chances then the game died as the Russian's began to settle into their defensive plan. An escape
on the half hour mark shocked the Russians into action. Ovchinnikov made a fantastic reaction save from Morientes but in doing
so the 'keeper dropped the ball at Etxeberria's feet and the winger completely miss kicked. Less then a minute later Alenichev
burst into the box, dribbled past two players but the ever alert Casillas charged him down and parried away his attempted lob.
The Russians started stroking the ball around with great confidence and Alenichev drew another save from Casillas.

The Russians went back into their defensive shell at the start of the second half and having fell asleep I awoke just in time to
see Morientes substituted for Valeron and promptly score the winner. Albelda fed Puyol on the right and he charged forward
before pulling the ball across the face of goal via Vicente's dummy, Valeron recovered from a sloppy first touch to send a left
foot shoot screaming into the net. The goal didn't bring the Russians out of their defensive shell. Torres helped get Sharonov
a second yellow card and should have scored deep into injury time but having brilliantly controlled Valeron's outrageous pass,
sliced wide of goal.

Valeron's performance confirms the belief that he and Raul simply cannot function together. Given the way the Real Madrid
forward has been playing this season it's obvious which of the two should be sitting on the bench.

Assist : Puyol
Red Card : Sharonov 88 (Russia)

Ronaldo 93									Karagounis 7
									Basinas 51 (Pen)

A mistake by new Chelsea signing Paulo Ferreira gifted Karagounis possession 25 yards from goal and as the  Portuguese
defence backed off the Inter midfielder fired a shot into the corner. Rui Costa, not renowned for his shooting, had one of the
few genuine chances created by the hosts in the first half but headed well wide. Simao and Rui Costa made way for Ronaldo
and Deco and the young midfielder had an immediate impact - Seitaridis made the most of his sloppy challenge to win a
penalty,  calmly despatched by Basinas. Ronaldo continually sent crosses to the back post unfortunately for him his
team-mates were nowhere. He did get his reward in the shape of a consolation goal from a Figo corner.

Dreadful performance by the Portuguese. With Ronaldo one of the few to emerge with any credit. The Greeks defended well,
I wouldn't say brilliantly as they weren't put under great pressure, and looked confident in attack. Figo, Couto and Rui Costa
were awful. Time for the Golden generation to retire.

Assists : Seitaridis (won pen), Figo (corner)