I don’t even know what to say about this. It’s as if the NFL somehow wound up with a Super Bowl of Detroit vs. San Diego – in the Ryan Leaf era, no less. Greece was a worthy winner, although the Czech Republic had numerous chances that it simply failed to put away. Rosicky, Koller and Barros all had excellent chances, and while the Greek defending was solid, the Czechs were clearly the better team even without Nedved.
The Greeks have had an unbelievable run, but I have to believe that it will all come to an end on Sunday. Scolari seems to have driven Portugal past its tendency to choke, they’re playing at home and it’s probably the last chance for their Golden Generation to win a major tournament. So, I predict a Portugal victory, 2-0.
A lot of great players are closing out their international careers with Euro 2004. Jap Stam, Philippe Cocu, Marc Overmars, Marcel Desailly, Lilian Thuran, Alessandro del Piero…. Other greats who may bow out include Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Christian Vieri and Pavel Nedved. It’s hard to imagine international soccer without them, and yet, the sport always moves inexorably on as the old lions step off the stage and are replaced by tomorrow’s stars.