Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his header and match-winner
The Euro 2012 quarter finals got underway as a dominate Portugal side outplayed and outclassed a disappointing Czech Republic team on their way to a 1-0 victory and a semi final place.
A Cristiano Ronaldo goal 11 minutes from time secured the win and the Star winger could have had two or three more if truth be told as Portugal ran out easy winners.
Portugal were rewarded for almost an hour of dominance when Joao Moutinho took a Nani pass in his stride, beat his man and whipped in a cross from the right side of the box. Ronaldo timed his run perfectly to get in front of Theodor Gebre Selassie to send his downward header into the roof of the net past Petr Cech, who got to it but couldn't keep it out.
The Czechs had the best of the opening half-hour without really troubling the Portuguese, who then stepped up a gear and created the best chance of the half when Pepe lofted the ball into the centre of the box and Ronaldo sent an overhead kick just wide.
Nani went down unsuccessfully claiming a penalty just before the break before Ronaldo effortlessly swivelled past Michal Kadlec, from a superb Moutinho pinpoint pass ,but shot against the base of the post with Cech beaten.
Seconds after the interval Hugo Almeida sent a free header from six yards wide after Raul Meireles delivered from the left side of the penalty area.
Ronaldo hit the post again, this time with a dipping free-kick, while Nani and Moutinho both forced Cech into decent saves. By this time it was complete one way traffic with the Czechs looking to hold out for extra time or sneak a goal from a set piece.
Joao Pereira was later denied as the partially unsighted Cech got across to push away his thunderbolt from 25 yards shortly after Ronaldo's goal, which was enough to set up a clash with Spain or France.
Portugal have been consistent all the way through the tournament so far and certainly showed they are a dangerous side too. Don't rule them out of getting to the final whoever they play next but a lot will depend on a certain Ronaldo who certainly is now showing his class after a slow start.
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