1 July 2004

Dellas 105

Things started well for the overwhelming favourites. Inside the first ten minutes Rosicky volleyed against the crossbar
and Jankulovski tested Nikopolidis with a trademark stinging shot. When attempting to volley Rosicky's cross, Nedved
crashed into Katsouranis, the ball fell to Jankulovski but one again he was denied by Nikopolidis. Nedved limped off with
an injury, replaced by Smicer.  Koller had a strong penalty appeal turned down by Collina, understandable though given
penalties are rarely awarded for shirt pulling in Serie A.

Koller missed the best chance in the match, shooting wide following a double one-two with Rosicky. Baros almost scored
the individual goal of the tournament when he took on the Greek defence. The Greeks had the better of extra time. Cech
was bailed out by his defence when he went walkabout on a cross. In the dying seconds Roma (and former Sheffield
United!) defender Dellas headed in Tsartas' corner minutes after missing a chance from another Tsartas set piece.

The Greeks play to their strengths and their strengths are defending. I don't think it's fair to criticise a team with what
are limited resources in terms of player personnel and it's not as if the Greeks score then defend for grim death, unlike
Italy and England. Besides how can you begrudge a team that has defeated the hosts, defending champions and favourites
a place in the final?

Assist : Tsartas (ck)

30 June 2004

Ronaldo 26									Andrade 63 (og)
Maniche 58

In stark contrast to their other matches the Portuguese started well and took a deserved lead on 26 minutes when Ronaldo
headed in Deco's corner. Overmars wasted a great chance to score an immediate equaliser. Carvalho tried to clear David's
cross but only succeeded in helping the ball to Overmars and he volleyed high over the bar. Deco volleyed a ball into space
down the right, Maniche raced away from Van Bronckhorst before hitting a pass to Pauleta which he met on the volley
forcing van der Sar into making a fantastic save. Another attack down the right, another chance. Figo burned Van Bronckhorst
before cutting inside the box and smashing a left foot shot against the post.

A goalkick straight down the middle sent Pauleta clear but he shot straight at van der Sar. Another corner kick sealed Holland's
fate. Deco played the ball short to Maniche, he took one touch, turned and hit an incredible shot which curled inside the post.
Fantastic goal Unfortunately the host broadcasters missed it as they were too busy with a reply, IDIOTS. Motson compared
the goal to Van Basten's volley in the 1988 final which is absolutely ridiculous as there is NO similarity between the two goals.
Andrade gave the Dutch hope when he turned van Bronckhorst's cross past his own 'keeper. The only other chance they
created was from Seedorf's free kick, everyone missed it including crucially Van Nistelrooy and van Bronckhorst at the back
post. Deco should have scored in injury time but one again van der Sar came to the rescue.

Great performance from van der Sar, Stam had a good match but everyone else sucked arse. Figo had his best game by some
margin. I still don't fancy the Portuguese against the Czech's but Scolari has done a marvellous job and the Portuguese FA
had better tie him down to a new contract.

Assists : Deco (ck), Ronaldo (ck)