Euro 2012: Portugal headed for semi-finals
- Thu 21 Jun 2012, 10:29PM
- Posted by Nicola McCarthy
Cristiano Ronaldo leads his side past the Czech Republic and into the last four.
Portugal 1-0 Czech Republic
A fine diving header from Cristiano Ronaldo sealed victory for Portugal and a place in the semi-finals of Euro 2012.
The Real Madrid striker showed a hunger from the outset and after coming close on various occasions - including hitting the woodwork twice - the Portugal captain finally got his just desserts with just ten minutes to go.
The Czech Republic started the match the sprightlier side in Warsaw, dominating possession for most of the first half with some short sharp passing, however Michal Bilek’s men lacked any creativity in the final third.
As the first half drew to a close, Portugal perked up and the Czech game plan - namely containing Ronaldo at all costs - began to unravel as the Portuguese powerhouse began to find his stride.
The Czechs did enjoy a more encouraging spell after the break, but any threat that they posed gradually receded and soon all of their energy was devoted to keeping Portugal at bay.
It was only a matter of time before Paulo Bento’s men broke through and it was no surprise when on 79 minutes Ronaldo delivered – the striker muscling his way on to a header that he planted into the ground and up in to the net.
Although the Czechs will be disappointed to be leaving the competition, no one could argue that Portugal were the better team on the night and despite squandering many chances, deserve their place in the final four.
Portugal will play either Spain or France in Donetsk on Wednesday 27 June.