Impressive Portugal set early marker

Sat Jun 7, 2008 6:01pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Mitch Phillips

VIENNA (Reuters) - Portugal served notice that they will be again be among the title challengers when they turned on the style to outclass Turkey 2-0 on an entertaining first day of Euro 2008 on Saturday.

Co-hosts Switzerland, however, got off to the worst possible start in Basel when they lost 1-0 to Czech Republic in the other Group A game and lost captain Alex Frei to a knee injury that could well rule him out of the tournament.

Austria get things underway across the border on Sunday when they play Croatia in Vienna (1600 GMT) while tournament favorites Germany play Poland in Klagenfurt (1845) in the second Group B match -- the highest security risk match of the group stage.

Seven German supporters were arrested in the town late on Saturday after German and Polish fans exchanged increasingly hostile insults but heavy rain helped keep a lid on any trouble.

There were no other reports from either Austria or Switzerland of any serious trouble and the on-field action was free too of any major controversies or ugly incidents.

In Geneva, Portugal looked dangerous throughout, hit the woodwork three times and could easily have won by more as they began their campaign to go one better than four years ago when they were runners-up to Greece on home soil.

After weathering a bright Turkish start Portugal, soon took control and Cristiano Ronaldo was denied a goal when Volkan Demirel brilliantly tipped his low free kick on to a post.

In the second half, Nuno Gomes hit a post with a shot and looped a header against the bar but in between those efforts the striker played a lovely return pass to Pepe, marauding from the back, whose deflected shot left Volkan helpless.   Continued...

<p>Portugal's Raul Meireles (R) celebrates his goal with team mates Ricardo Carvalho (C) and Pepe during their Group A Euro 2008 soccer match against Turkey at the Stade de Geneve in Geneva, June 7, 2008. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich</p>