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Relentless Ronaldo does it again for Portugal

Last updated on: June 22, 2012 08:46 IST

Relentless Ronaldo does it again for Portugal

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On this evidence the Czech Republic could play a dozen quarter-finals and still not produce the number of goal attempts that Cristiano Ronaldo managed on his own in another display of awesome authority by the Portugal skipper.

-Ronaldo fires Portugal into Euro semis

In a crushingly one-sided Euro 2012 quarter-final, Ronaldo's 79th-minute header sent Portugal into a last-four meeting with Spain or France and yet again ensured his name would be in the headlines.

His third goal of the tournament helped him to another fully deserved man of the match award, though there is class oozing throughout this Portugal side.

-PHOTOS: Euro 2012 Soccer Babes

Raul Meireles and Joao Moutinho, who set up the goal with a sweet cross, were a constant supply route from midfield, as was overlapping fullback Joao Pereira.


Image: Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates
Photographs: Petr Josek Snr / Reuters

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Ronaldo was the central character in the drama

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Nani had another good game, switching wings with Ronaldo to keep the Czechs on their toes, while the defenders were virtual spectators such was the paucity of the Czechs' attacking ambition after a relatively positive opening 15 minutes Ronaldo, though, as so often, was the central character in the drama.

Even when being criticised earlier in the tournament he was always demanding the ball and now he is on a hot streak he is even more insistent.

Many hugely talented players have graced the European Championship over the years but few surely who combined the remarkable skill with the often over-looked work ethic of the 29-year-old Portuguese captain.

Minute after minute, week after week, year after year, he sets off on his lung-busting runs into space or into the box.


Image: Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo (centre) battles for the ball with Czech Republic's Tomas Sivok (right), Michal Kadlec (left) and goalkeeper Petr Cech
Photographs: Leonhard Foeger / Reuters
Tags: Ronaldo

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Ronaldo will be giving his all

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On most occasions his efforts prove fruitless but though he is quick to show his annoyance if the delivery does not match his expectations, his head does not drop for long and in the next attack you can be sure he will be giving his all to be on the end of it.

After a first-half short on thrills he woke the crowd up with an attempted overhead kick that went just wide then struck the post after bringing a 30-metre Meireles pass down on his chest and swivelling 180 degrees with the ball glued to his toe in a lovely piece of skill.

Five minutes into the second half he hit a post again with a free kick, holding up four fingers of frustration to indicate the number of times he has hit the woodwork in the tournament.

Czech full back Theodor Gebre Selassie had worked tirelessly to try to stay in touch with the world's most expensive footballer and claimed some notable victories in his one-on-one battles.

However, many a defender has been heading towards fulltime thinking he has done a job on Ronaldo, only to find himself hanging his head as his rival runs off celebrating.


Image: Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo (right) and Czech Republic's Theodor Gebre Selassie fight for the ball
Photographs: Pawel Ulatowski / Reuters

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Ronaldo could have a pedestal all to himself if he lifts a major trophy

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Gebre Selassie was better positioned when Moutinho delivered his right-wing cross but Ronaldo's nose for a goal got him moving first and he nipped in front of his marker.

Once in place he made no mistake, heading into the ground and beyond Petr Cech for his 35th goal in 94 internationals.

Eusebio, who inspired Portugal to the 1966 World Cup semi-finals, and 127-cap Luis Figo, who captained them to the same stage of the 2006 tournament, hugged in the crowd when Ronaldo struck.

The "Black Pearl" and the leader of the "golden generation" are both held in special esteem in their homeland but Ronaldo could yet have a pedestal all to himself if his goals take them all the way to lifting a major trophy for the first time.


Image: Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after he scores
Photographs: Petr Josek Snr / Reuters

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