Cristiano Ronaldo’s header was enough to seal a narrow 1-0 victory for Portugal in a match which they dominated against a Czech Republic side which was pinned back in their own half for most of the match.
The score was a flattering one for the Czechs and should be credited more to the profligacy of Portugal’s attackers rather than their own defensive prowess. However, it must be said that Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech was impeccable between the sticks.
Joao Moutinho whipped in a cross from the right which was met by Ronaldo’s header into the net after bouncing just ahead of Petr Cech. The desire and hunger to win the game for his country was clear with the Portugal skipper in the midst of every attack they produced.
Ronaldo, who has scored 60 goals for Real Madrid this season scored a brace against Netherlands in the final Group B game and continued his scoring form to send his team to the last four with a meeting against either Spain or France in the semis.
Czech Republic, who had made it clear that they would play a defensive game, were on the back-foot on all but the few occasions they poured forward on the counter.
Apart from the goal, Ronaldo’s best chance of the match struck the post after he collected a long ball on his chest and turned in style before shooting. He hit the woodwork again from a swerving free-kick 25 yard out.
Nani, Raul Meireles and Joao Moutinho also had their chances to get on the scoresheet but most of their shots were either wildly flashed over or saved by the confident Cech.
The Czechs were held off by a solid back four marshalled by Pepe and could not manage a single shot on target. Their possession in itself was a disappointing 40%. Maybe a more positive approach could have given them something from the match but it seemed they were more interested in taking the game to penalties rather than try and win it with a goal.
With an in-form Ronaldo and a tactical plan that seems to be working for Paulo Bento, Portugal are with every win, making a case for an appearance in the finals of Euro 2012.