Great, great game yesterday, and for once the Dutch didn’t choke so much as they were outplayed by a team performing to the utmost of its ability. It looked like the Orange were going to run away with it, up 2-0 after twenty minutes, when Giovanni van Bronckhorst demonstrated why he’ll never play for Arsenal again in making a horrid back pass to no one. The Czechs jumped on it and the game was on.
Paolo Nedved was incredible, getting stronger as the game went on until he took complete control somewhere around the 75th minute. The winning goal was a brilliant display of unselfishness as Poborci declined to risk drilling the ball home from four feet away, instead faking a shot to force Van der Sar to commit himself, then flicking the ball square to create a certain finish for Smicer. Definitely the best game of the tournament so far, although the Czechs were helped by a dumb substitute by Advocaat, who removed Robben for Gosvelt which resulted in ceding control of the midfield to Nedved.
I didn’t watch the German game, but it was apparently a real snoozer. If they couldn’t score against Latvia, I don’t like their chances against the Czechs, not when Nedved is hitting crossbars from 35-40 yards away. For today, I’m thinking Greece knocks off Russia in a technical upset that everyone is expecting, and home referee conspiracies notwithstanding, Spain finishes off Portugal.