Euro 2012 quarter-final: Portugal beat Czech en route to semis
Portugal thrashed a hapless Czech Republic 1-0 at National Stadium in Warsaw yesterday to march into the Euro 2012 semi-finals against the winner of tomorrow's Spain vs France game.
It was Cristiano Ronaldo again to show his class and prove a point to his critics that great players do rise up to the occasion. Ronaldo's goal in the 79th minute of the match broke the heart of some 5,000 Czech fans who came all the way from Prague to see their side clinching an unlikely win in the Euro quarter-final.
The Czech were resolute in resisting the Portuguese trio of Nani, Ronaldo and Postiga throughout the 1st half that went uneventful barring a moment of Ronaldo magic right at the end. However, the second half saw a sense of urgency among Paulo Bento's men as Postiga's replacement Hugo Almeida created two opportunities to put his team ahead.
Soon after a Ronaldo free-kick hit the woodwork while Nani had goalie Petr Cech at full stretch. As the fans began to anticipate some goal-bound action, Ronaldo received a cross from Nani and delivered a perfect flying header at the far post. Yesterday's goal took Barcelona's '12th man' level at three goals with Mario Gómez and made him a strong contender to grab the Golden Boot award.
“He is world class, he is exceptional he is in the top three in the world with Lionel Messi and maybe Xavi or Iniesta. The interesting thing now is whether his team-mates can step it up. If they do so – and I think they have the quality to do that with Pepe, Moutinho and Nani – then you have a team who can win the Euros”, Jurgen Klinsmann said about Ronaldo in an interview with BBC Sport.