Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo kicks the ball in front of Czech Republic's Michal Kadlec (R) during their Euro 2012 quarter-final soccer match at the National stadium in Warsaw June 21, 2012. Picture taken June 21, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)
Cristiano Ronaldo and the Portuguese national team continued their dominating play with a 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic in Thursday's quarterfinal match at the UEFA Euro Cup 2012.
After a harsh defensive game by the Czech Republic, Cristiano Ronaldo was able to score the game-winning goal as he headed the ball in the goal. It marked the first UEFA Euro 2012 quarter-final goal and Portugal became the first team to qualify for the semi finals.
Like Us on Facebook
Throughout the game which was played at the National Stadium Warsaw, the Czechs showed promise as they actively defended their goal line. However they rarely threatened Portugal as they were only able to make two shots on goal. Michal Bílek's men looked as if they might prolongue the encounter into at least extra time before Ronaldo headed in João Moutinho's fine cross with 11 minutes left, a third goal in two games for the captain and his second straight match-winning contribution.
Bílek's intentions were to absorb Portuguese attack and prepare for counter. His plan almost came to fruition just after the quarter-hour when Vladimír Darida was sent scampering down the right. The cross the 21-year-old produced almost gave Milan Baroš the opportunity to score.
However, they rarely had these opportunities as they were preoccupied against defending their goal against Portugese attack. They were especially focused on Ronaldo and every time he ran into the penalty area five Czech players covered him.
After the interval Portugal seemed to change tactics and attacked from longer range. Nani shot a ball from a distance but found a goalkeeper more than equal to the task. Moutinho soon after powered a shot that was also stopped.
Another attempts occurred when Raul Meireles skipped down the left wing, and crossed the ball to Hugo Almeida who wasted the opportunity. Ronaldo soon after also wasted a shot on a free-kick which zipped beyond him and glanced off the outside of a post.
The Czech's dodged another bullet when a Meireles goal was disqualified because of offsides. However in the 79th minute Nani found Moutinho on the right, and his cross was met smoothly by a Ronaldo header into the back of the net.
Portugal will now have to face off against either France or Spain next Wednesday in the semi-finals.
>>Euro Cup 2012: Germany Defeats Greece 4-2
>>Euro Cup 2012: Ronaldo, Ozil, Fabregas, Gerrard the MVPs of the Group Stage
>>Euro Cup 2012: FIFA President Sepp Blatter Calls for Goal Line Technology
>>Euro Cup 2012: Germany, Portugal, Spain Are the Best Teams From the Group Stage
>>Euro Cup 2012: Netherlands, Czech Republic Among Top Surprises of Group Stage
>>Euro Cup 2012: Netherlands, Russia Among Major Disappointments of the Group Stage