Live Blog: Euro 2008 Quarterfinals, Portugal v. Germany
by Ryan Hudson
Welcome to day one of the quarterfinals, with what promises to be an excellent match featuring two of the top teams in the world: Portugal and Germany. Portugal, considered the 11th best team in the last FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings, has essentially had a week off, as they were able to rest in a meaningless match against Switzerland.
Germany (FIFA ranking: No. 5), however, comes in following a less than impressive 1-0 win over Austria, and is battling injuries: midfielder Simon Rolfes replacing the injured Torsten Frings, and Thomas Hitzlsperger and Bastian Schweinsteiger coming in place of Clemens Fritz and out-of-form striker Mario Gomez. Top scorer Lukas Podolski, who was questionable with a calf injury, moves up front alongside Miroslav Klose in place of Gomez.
4:37pm - And that's going to do it. Germany wins, 3-2. It was a story of too little, too late for Portugal, after their defense failed them early on as they fell behind, 2-0 in the first half of the match. Germany moves on to face the winner of tomorrow's Croatia-Turkey quarterfinal game. Portugal, goes home. Thanks for reading, and we'll see you back here tomorrow (check our Video Log in a bit for Portugal's last goal).
4:33pm - The Germans have seemingly their whole team in the box playing defense when Portugal has the ball.
4:32pm - Just began the 4 minutes of stoppage time. Portugal is getting desperate.
4:29pm - GOAL! It's not over quite yet! Portugal keeps their slim, slim hopes alive with a blast from just inside the box to make it 3-2.
4:27pm - Why is that the medical staff at soccer matches seems to use practices from roughly 100 years ago? German keeper Lehmann just was run into - the treatment? Literally rubbing pieces of ice on his thigh. That was it.
4:22pm - A good counter issued there by Portugal, off a German corner in the 80th minute, but it was all for not.
4:21pm - Here's video of Germany's third goal (sorry for the delay; blame YouTube, it's being slow today).
4:20pm - OH MAN!!! 4:20!! AHHHHH!! GET IT?!?!?! WHY AREN'T THE NETHERLANDS PLAYING!! OH MAN!! AM I RIGHT?!?!
4:18pm - Time is quickly running out on Portugal. This is rapidly becoming another disappointing Euro performance by them, after falling to Greece in 2004.
4:11pm - Germany's trying to get that 4th goal. Lahm let go a shot for the left side, but it bounded by harmlessly, wide-right.
4:08pm - Just a little more than 20 minutes remain in this match, and Germany has a pretty commanding 3-1 lead over Portugal.
4:04pm - GOAL! Germany goes up 3-1! That just might do it. Off of a free kick after Klose's take down, a curling pass from Schweinsteiger found the head of Ballack in the box, and he headed it past Portugal's keeper, Ricardo, who caught out of position, to say the least. The Portuguese had an interesting defensive strategy there, as they opted to not guard Michael Ballack, Germany's top-scorer, like, at all. It did not go well.
4:02pm - Sorry for that lull, but eating an apple and blogging at the same time can get messy. Let's play catch-up: In the 57 minutes, Portugal's Pepe puts a header over the crossbar from five yards out. I don't want to say he should have scored. But he should of scored. Minutes later, Pepe flattened Klose to earn a yellow card.
3:52pm - Great chance for the Germans, but a rocket-shot from the top of the box is blasted way too high. In the 52nd minute, and already Germany has two yellow cards called against them here in the second half.
3:49pm - Back underway in the second half. Here's video of Germany's second goal.
3:42pm - Still at the half. Here's video of Portugal's goal.
3:34pm - OK, time for some videos. First, Germany goes up 1-0.
3:31pm - A couple near goals for both sides here right in the beginning of the extra time. Ballack rips a shot but is deflected away by a diving Ricardo. Then, moments later, Ronaldo surprises Lehmann with a shot of his own, but it shoots just wide of the net.
3:25pm - GOAL! It's not over yet! Portugal just got right back into this match with a goal of their own! Ronaldo broke free on the far left side, blasted a shot a on net that was deflected out by Lehmann -- the loose ball was collected by Gomes who took advantage of the open net. It's 2-1, Germany leading, here in the 43rd minute.
3:20pm - Germany's up 2-0, and they're still applying the gas. They continue to attack and are keeping Portugal on their heels.
3:16pm - Coming in today, Portugal's defense was suspect, and now it has them behind, 2-0. It's early, but that's a big mountain for them to climb.
3:11pm - GOAL! It's 2-0 Germany in a matter of minutes! On a free kick, Schweinsteiger, lob it into the box, where its met by Klose, who perfectly heads it past the Portuguese keeper! In roughly four minutes of play, the Germans have taken control with a pair of goals.
3:06pm - GOAL! Germany's Schweinsteiger shows Portugal how you finish a goal! Racing down the left side, Podolski sends a perfect low cross in front of the net and it's hit home by a sliding Schweinsteiger. 1-0, Germany.
3:05pm - Great chance for Portugal! Excellent cross to João Moutinho, but he was unsure of how to finish and ended up awkwardly kneeing the ball out.
3:02pm - Corner for Germany...they take it quickly! Ballack's header sails over the net.
2:55pm - Good back-and-forth here so far, in the 11th minute now. The winner moves on to face either Croatia or Turkey.
2:48pm - Ronaldo tears down the far side, really showing his speed. His sends a blast on box but its an easy save for the German keeper.
2:47pm - We're two minutes in to this epic match. Before the game started, ESPN showed clips of the players inspecting the field, and it's not in great shape - the sod apparently was laid down just days ago, Hopefully it won't be a factor in the outcome.
2:40pm - The teams are lined-up and the national anthems have begun. Just minutes away now...
2:30pm - Today's match is one that even a non-soccer fan can get excited about -- two of the best teams in the world, featuring two of the best goal-scorers: Germany's Michael Ballack and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo. The latter of those two, Ronaldo, is widely considered the best play in the world, and is fresh off a 42-goal EPL season, in just 48 matches.