Euro 2012 heats up Thursday as the excitement of the knock out stages gets under way. To kick off the quarter finals we have Portugal vs. Czech Republic. The match starts at 2.45 p.m. EST and can be watched live on ESPN, or alternatively online through live stream on ESPN3 (details below).
Portugal will go into today's match as the firm favorites following successfully navigating their way out of the so called Group of Death, and especially after so convincingly beating one of the tournament's favorites, the Netherlands, in their last game.
Portugal and the Czech Republic met in the quarter finals of Euro 1996 in England, and on that occasion it was the Czech Republic that came out on top in a 1-0 win.
However, this time Portugal come into the game supremely confident after their win over Holland. Key players Ronaldo and Nani are coming into electrifying form at the perfect time, and if they can impose themselves on to today's game then Portugal are likely to get a convincing win over the Czech Republic.
But that could also depend on which Czech Republic side turn up. They were awful in their opening game against Russia and were soundly beaten 4-1. Losing your first group game always makes qualification more difficult, but the Czech Republic managed to do it successfully winning their second and third games against Greece and co-hosts Poland.
The Czech Republic have already been making history and became only the second side to top a Euro championship group after conceding five goals through the three games. Spain are the only other side, who managed the feat in 2000. This time the Czech Republic qualified from Group A with a negative goal difference – something they also managed to do in 1996. That year they went all the way to the final.
Portugal's Bruno Alves and Raul Meireles have both recovered from injury in the Holland game and should be good to start, meaning Portugal's starting 11 could be the same as their previous three games.
Euro 2012 quarter final Portugal vs. Czech Republic kicks off at 2.45 p.m. and can be watched live on ESPN or online through live stream on ESPN3 by clicking HERE.