Portugal to face Germany in Euro quarter-finals

The Swiss city of Basel has been swarmed by German and Portuguese football supporters awaiting the first quarter-final game of the Euro 2008. The winners will play Croatia or Turkey next Wednesday.


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BASEL - Basel filled up with thousands of boisterous German fans and a smattering of Portuguese supporters ahead of Thursday's first Euro 2008 quarter-final, with the atmosphere festive and peaceful.

Authorities said they expected 40,000 Germans and 10,000 Portuguese to flood into the city on the Rhine river which is also braced for the influx of an estimated 100,000 Dutch supporters for their quarter-final against Russia on Saturday.

At the fanzone by the river, German fans were sampling the local brew before the 1845 GMT kickoff at St Jakob stadium.

Robert Brueck, a 26-year-old museum administrator who had travelled down from Cologne with 11 friends, said the atmosphere was not as good as the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

"Portugal will be the better side but I think we will scrape a draw and then win the penalty shootout," he said over the noise of fans singing the German national anthem.

"(Portugal's Cristiano) Ronaldo will miss his penalty and (German captain Michael) Ballack will score the winning one," he said.

Manuel Dias Costa, a 50-year-old insurance executive from Lisbon, said: "At the moment there are more German fans around but later the Portuguese will be the ones celebrating".

Winger Ronaldo, defender Pepe and playmaker Deco would be too good for the Germans, he added.

The winners play Croatia or Turkey in Basel next Wednesday.

German fans were particularly enjoying mocking the handful of Dutch supporters already in the city with the refrain: "Only the refuse collectors wear orange".


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