Germany steel themselves for tough challenge against “Chelsea of the Mediterranean”, while Cristiano Ronaldo fires Portugal into the last four.
• Germany coach Joachim Low expects a tough challenge from Greece in tonight’s quarter-final, but has played down talk that Fernando Santos’ side could prove to be “the Chelsea of the Mediterranean”. “I have heard a few times that they are the Chelsea of the Mediterranean, but it is not that way,” he said. “Greece play good combination football. Their defence is strong, they are strong in the tackle and defending and countering is in their blood.” (Various)
• Miroslav Klose is rumoured to be starting for Germany tonight against the Greeks, at the expense of the prolific Mario Gomez. (Various)
• England goalkeeper Joe Hart yesterday rubbished suggestions it was already mission accomplished for England as he eyed a famous quarter-final win against Italy. Asked if a quarter-final berth could be considered a success, he said: “No, because we’re not those guys – we’re winners. The whole point in coming here is not to keep people happy and keep people off our backs.” (Various)
• Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has advised Italy coach Cesare Prandelli to play Mario Balotelli from the start against England: “Mario should always play. He is the best and, with him, the national team is much stronger.” (Various)
• Cristiano Ronaldo claims Portugal are growing in confidence after his second-half header sent his side into the semi-finals with a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic. Ronaldo said: “We created many chances and hit the post, but it is brilliant for us to have passed into the semi-finals. We know it is going to be difficult, but we are ready, we are confident. We are very mature, so we are ready for the fight.” (Various)
• France assistant coach Alain Boghossian has described the heated dressing-room reaction to Tuesday’s defeat by Sweden as “normal” and revealed he expects a positive response in their quarter-final with Spain. He said: “It is normal to discuss details, how they can improve their game. It is quite normal to have emotional discussions after a game.” (Various)
• A man from Changsha in China has reportedly died after staying up for 11 successive nights to watch Euro 2012 matches - the final game before he expired being Ireland’s 2-0 defeat to Italy. (Telegraph)
• Werder Bremen have completed the signing of full-back Theodor Gebre Selassie, who has impressed for the Czech Republic during the tournament. (Various)
• And Czech striker Milan Baros has retired from international football following last night’s defeat.
TODAY’S MATCH SCHEDULE
Quarter-final: Germany v Greece
7.45pm, ITV1, Gdansk
Czech Republic 0 - 1 Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo headed Portugal into the semi-finals of the European Championships at the expense of the Czech Republic in Warsaw. The Real Madrid forward had twice hit the woodwork and seen his side have a goal chalked out for offside before he arrived on cue in the six-yard box to nod in Joao Moutinho’s cross on 79 minutes. (match report)
ONE TO WATCH - Bastian Schweinsteiger
The beating heart of the Germany side, Bastian Schweinsteiger is the definition of the box-to-box midfielder. The 27-year-old Bayern Munich mainstay is the one who pulls the strings in Joachim Low team, and while his tough tackling and work ethic allows Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller to drift forward, it was Schweinsteiger who set up both of Mario Gomez’s goals against the Netherlands with laser-guided passes. France legend Patrick Vieira rates him highly too: “He can do everything. He tackles, defends, is powerful when going forward, has a good shot and is also good on the ball.”
Lothar Matthäus is the oldest player to feature in the European Championships, having played for Germany against Poland in 2000 when he was 39 years and 91 days old. He also holds the joint record for most tournaments at four, along with Edwin Van Der Sar, Lilian Thuram, Peter Schmeichel, Aron Winter and Alessandro Del Piero.
MEMORABLE GOAL OF EUROS PAST
With Spain and France set to fight it out for a spot in the semi-finals tomorrow night, we look back to a time when Les Bleus were in their 1980s pomp. The tournament belonged to their captain - and current Uefa president - Michel Platini, and his 57th minute free kick, which spilled through the hands of Spanish keeper Luis Arconada, was his ninth of the championship, and set up France for a 2-0 triumph.
Mario Gomez 2/1
Cristiano Ronaldo 21/10
Fernando Torres 9/2
Cesc Fabregas 18/1
Wayne Rooney 25/1