Second half of Turkey-Czech Republic: best 45 – or 49 – minutes of football seen thus far in Euro 2008. With twin matches now being played simultaneously for the rest of the group stage (why?), you either record one and watch two a night, or plump for one (as we did last night for Sweden-Spain), or, uniquely, as we did tonight, record both, go out for an early pizza, come back, watch the first half of one (Portugal-Switzerland – lacklustre indeed), and the second half of other, Turkey-Czech, which had maximum fire in its belly, for obvious, qualifying reasons. Good call. Even though Switzerland clawed back their host’s pride on ITV4 with two goals while we weren’t watching, it was all happening on ITV1, with a terrific comeback by Turkey, who were 2-1 down, and turned it round, thanks to Nihat, who scored twice in the 87th and 89th minute, preventing a penalties-based decider. And then, as if that wasn’t exciting enough, the Turkish keeper Volkan was red-carded for stupidly pushing Koller (who’d scored the first Czech goal while we were wading through the first half of Port-Swi). For a moment there, it looked as if the Czechs might equalise, meaning that Turkey would be defending penalites without a goalkeeper! (As it is, Volkan won’t be playing in the quarter-final.) This is why Euro 2008 is just as entertaining without England being in it. I passed a big, open, friendly young person’s bar near where I live in South Lonodon that’s formerly been packed out when England are in the big tournaments. I’d say about two people were actually watching Turkey-Czech Republic on the big screen. Shame, really.
OK, one question:
1) ITV’s coverage is the worst of the two on offer. But does anyone else like Ned Boulting? I do. (Sorry if you watch football all the time, and this is old news. I’m new round here, as you know.)
Alright, one other question:
2) What the hell are you to do if you don’t have Sky or cable or Freeview? ITV and BBC are fielding a game a night to one of their satellites until the quarter finals now. Tough luck if you don’t have access to BBC3 (home of sport!) or ITV4.