Round-up: Portugal given jeering send-off
Monday 04 June 2012
Portugal's dismal build-up to the European Championship finals continued on Saturday when they were beaten 3-1 by Turkey – a side who failed to qualify for Poland and Ukraine.
Consecutive goalless draws – against Poland and Macedonia – in their two previous games means that Paulo Bento's side will kick off their campaign against Germany in five days having scored just once in close to 300 minutes of football.
As they did after the Macedonia draw just over a week ago, the Iberian crowd jeered the players following Saturday's defeat, hardly the best send-off ahead of an international tournament.
Despite dictating the run of play, Portugal lacked attacking ideas and too often were guilty of poor finishing, as highlighted by Cristiano Ronaldo's 65th-minute penalty miss, Volkan Demirel diving to his left to keep out the shot.
Turkey took the lead on 35 minutes with a tap-in from Umut Bulut, who added a second on 52 minutes after a defensive blunder by Miguel Veloso. Five minutes later Nani's low drive pulled a goal back for Portugal, but Ricardo Costa's 88th-minute clearance hit Pepe and rebounded into the net to make it 3-1 to Turkey.
The size of Portugal's task to make the Euro quarter-finals was further emphasised by the fact that the other two sides in Group B, the Netherlands and Denmark, both won on the same night.
Bert van Marwijk's finalists thrashed Northern Ireland 6-0, with Arsenal's Robin van Persie and Barcelona midfielder Ibrahim Afellay scoring twice, while Denmark beat Australia 2-0 thanks to goals from Daniel Agger and Andreas Bjelland.
"The gulf in class was evident between the two teams," said Michael O'Neill, the Northern Ireland manager. "We took a bit of a spanking."
Also on Saturday, Poland warmed up for the finals with a 4-0 win over Andorra, Ludovic Obraniak, Robert Lewandowski, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Marcin Wasilewski all scoring.
Croatia, who are in Group C with Italy, Spain and the Republic of Ireland, drew 1-1 in Norway. Former Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva, who now plays for Shakhtar Donetsk, put the visitors ahead before Tarik Elyounoussi equalised in the final minute.
Last night, Andres Iniesta came off the bench to inspire Spain to a 1-0 win over China in Seville. The Barcelona midfielder gave the European Championship holders the attacking flair they were missing in the first half and he set up Manchester City's David Silva to tap in an 84th minute winner. Before then the home side had squandered a slew of chances and twice hit the crossbar through Raul Albiol and Iniesta.
Given and O'Shea return with Irish at full strength for final warm-up
Giovanni Trapattoni has named a full-strength Republic of Ireland side for tonight's friendly against Hungary in Budapest as the Irish complete their preparations for the Euro 2012.
Shay Given and John O'Shea will start after recovering from injuries, with Trapattoni confirming that the same XI is almost certain to start Ireland's opening group match, against Croatia in Poznan on Sunday.
Kevin Doyle has won the right to partner Robbie Keane in attack, although West Bromwich Albion's Simon Cox (left) is eager to impress from the bench. "I just want to get some game-time, that's it," he said. "I want to show what I can do. Scoring goals and putting in decent performances, that's how I show what I can do."
Republic of Ireland: Given; Ward, Dunne, St Ledger, O'Shea; Duff, Whelan, Andrews, McGeady; Keane, Doyle.
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