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Clutch Ron sends Portugal into semis

Real Madrid star shines in his moment

By | 21st June 2012

Cristiano Ronaldo converted a late header to help Portugal claim a scrappy 1-0 win over Czech Republic and progress to the UEFA Euro 2012 semifinals.

In a toughly contested match between Group A winners Czech Republic and Group B runners-up Portugal, the latter created more chances but thanks to the heroics of Petr Cech, they could only score once.

Chelsea goalkeeper Cech made save after save to keep the Portuguese side at bay until the 79th minute, when Ronaldo hammered home a powerful header from close range to break the deadlock.

Seeing how Portugal’s patience had been rewarded, the Czechs also retained their composure and kept pushing for an equalizer until the very end.

In fact, heading into the final minute of stoppage time, Cech joined his teammates in the attack for a corner and although that opened up the chance for Portugal to score a second, the counter-attack was poor, to say the least.

Ultimately, the one-goal advantage was sufficient to send Portugal through and seal a return ticket home for the Czech Republic.

Perhaps the major story for the Czechs unfolded before the ball was even kicked this evening as star midfielder Tomas Rosicky could not make it into the starting line-up due to recurring injury concerns.

The Arsenal midfielder was listed as one of the substitutes but only Jan Rezek and Tomas Pekhart came off the bench for Michal Bilek’s men as they became the first team to be eliminated in this tournament’s quarterfinals.

Rosicky sounds off on Portugal

While Rosicky insisted that the spirited Czech side entered the quarterfinals with an equal chance of progressing, he also claimed that Portugal are perhaps the most difficult team to beat in the knock-out stages.

“We’re all equals and it’s the details that will decide who wins. There aren’t five favourites or five big teams and then the rest of us.¬†We know (Portugal) are very difficult opponents, maybe the most difficult in the Euros,” the 31-year old asserted about the chances of Ronaldo and his teammates to go all the way now.

Portugal will now face the winner of Saturday’s match between Spain and France in next Wednesday’s highly anticipated semifinal.

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