It was probably the most one-sided match of the Euro 2012 tournament so far, but a great header by Cristiano Ronaldo in the 79th minute was enough to send his side into the semi-finals where they will play the winner of Spain v France.
Ronaldo was pilloried for his display against Denmark a little over a week ago when he missed two sitters. But in the two games since then, Ronaldo has put Portugal on his back and has carried them into the semi-finals.
Ronaldo was at the heart of everything good and creative that Portugal did today. Besides scoring, he hit the post twice and was a constant threat.
His goal was pure class. Joao Moutinho put in a cross from the right and Ronaldo made up 5 yards to get in front of Czech right back Gebre Selassie and power a header past Petr Cech.
“It was a fantastic game for Portugal,” said man of the match Ronaldo. “In the first 20 minutes we weren’t that good but then we improved a lot. We had a lot of opportunities. The Czechs didn’t have any – that’s a great game.”
“I think the chances (of reaching the final) are 50-50 and we just have to believe in it.”
The Czech Republic, outside of the opening 15 minutes were really disappointing. They were overrun in midfield and when they did stop a Portuguese attack and clear the ball, it came right back as the Czech forwards could not hold up the ball and give their defenders and midfield players an opportunity to move up the pitch in support.
Czech Republic coach Michal Bilek said after the game:
“Well we knew this was going to be very difficult. Portugal have a great attack. In the second half, we lost our strength and our energy and one situation was enough to decide (the match).”
This was a real dominating display by Portugal. They Portugal had 20 efforts on goal, with five on target, to the Czech’s meagre two efforts, neither of which were on goal. The Portuguese played 598 passes to the Czech’s 352 and overall held 62% of the possession.
With eight shots in total, Cristiano Ronaldo had four times as many as the entire Czech team.