It was this fixture, 16 years ago, where Ruud Gullit coined the term "sexy football". He was talking about Portugal, who seduced the former European Footballer of the Year with their attractive play in a Euro 96 quarter-final against Czech Republic, but still crashed out after a 1-0 defeat at Villa Park, courtesy of the famously scooped goal which earned Karel Poborsky an ill-fated move to Manchester United.
The only man from either camp involved in that 1996 encounter is Vladimir Smicer, now the Czechs' 'sports manager' - Michal Bilek's assistant in layman's terms, or their version of Gary Neville. Like England's number two, Smicer enjoyed a distinguished international career, collecting more than 80 caps. The ex-Liverpool man, in the job since 2009, has helped Bilek sift through 32 players in order to find the 23-man squad that has taken their country to a first quarter-final in eight years.
It's perhaps not a vintage Czech side - yet. This squad boasts nine players aged 26 or under as the country looks not only to the present but also to the future. Smicer had a hand in discovering midfield duo Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar - who, despite possessing fewer than 20 caps between them, have shone at this championship with two goals apiece. The Czechs surprisingly lost their first qualifying match to Lithuania and were humbled in their Euro 2012 opener against Russia, but on both occasions recovered, showing resilience, character and togetherness. If Bilek, and in particular Smicer, can instill some of that 1996 spirit into this current Czech side then their journey might just continue.
Portugal have hit form at the perfect time despite alarming pre-tournament form which saw them fail to win four matches, scoring only once. Though evidently inspired by captain Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Bento's men increasingly looked a real team unit as they emerged from the 'Group of Death' behind Germany. Despite going behind against the Dutch in their most recent game, Portugal's 2-1 win rarely looked in doubt, with top-class performances all over the park. Counter-attacking penetration came from both wings, and through the centre of midfield.