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Euro 2012 - Quarter Final 1 Recap

Ronaldo header sees Portugal through to the last four at Euro 2012

Portugal VS. Czech Republic

Portugal became the first team to reach the last four of Euro 2012 on Thursday evening after deservedly seeing off the Czech Republic 1-0 in the quarter-finals.

And it was main man Cristiano Ronaldo who once again produced the goods – the Real Madrid star rifled in a bullet header ten minutes from time to finally break the deadlock and shatter the Czech Republic’s stout resistance.

Portugal’s success was definitely the right result in the end, as despite a fairly even first half, Paulo Bento’s side began to assert their authority and dominance after the interval.

They did go close nevertheless to taking the lead in the first period through Ronaldo who almost scored what would have definitely been the goal of the tournament.

On controlling the ball deep inside Czech territory with his back to goal, Ronaldo flicked the ball on turning past Michel Kadlec before smashing his shot against the post.

That was almost a signal of things to come and indeed the Portuguese had twenty efforts on goal in total, a stark contrast to the Czech’s who never really mustered a decent chance throughout the duration of the contest.

Leading up to the tournament, many people believed that Portugal were a one man team however that is certainly not proving the case.

Bento sent out the same starting line-up for the fourth consecutive game in Warsaw and his charges did not disappoint from one through to eleven.

Pepe has always been regarded as a top drawer centre-back however his partner Bruno Alves has more than held his own.

Together, Pepe and Alves look a solid and formidable partnership and they never really appeared in danger of being breached by the Czech’s who were far from potent up front.

As an attacking unit, Portugal posed a near constant threat, as they did against the Dutch – and the rest of Europe are now beginning to sit up and take notice.

The Iberians fluidity going forward is largely due to the adventure displayed by full backs Fabio Coentrao and Jose Pereira, who once again performed extremely well.

Manchester United winger Nani is also starting to come into his own and he naturally complements the imperious Ronaldo whose quality and confidence seems to be rubbing off on his peers.

If Portugal are to have a weakness, it is in the heart of midfield as Miguel Veloso struggles at times to keep control and provide a constant back up to the skilful Joao Moutinho who enjoys pulling the strings and formulating attacks.

The Czech Republic can be proud of themselves for reaching the knockout phase, especially after qualifying for the championship via the play-offs before being shell shocked by Russia on match day one.

But Michel Bilek’s side always looked a step or two behind the Portuguese who are now more than capable of launching a serious assault on the tournament, spearheaded by Ronaldo who must surely have more goals left in his locker this summer.