Cristiano Ronaldo expressed his delight after scoring the only goal of the game in Portugal’s quarter-final victory over the Czech Republic this evening.
The world’s most-expensive footballer said after the game, “our great aim is to get to the final. We have a great squad and now I’d say the chances are 50-50 and we just have to believe”.
Ronaldo’s winner came in the 79th minute as he through himself at Joao Moutinho’s cross with a bullet header to beat Petr Cech. The Real Madrid forward had hit the post twice in the first half and also had an effort well-saved by the Czech Republic goalkeeper.
Portugal had 62% of the possession, and won the shot count 20-2. From 8 attempts on goal, Ronaldo scored with his only effort on target. Hugo Almeida wasted two good headed chances in the match having come on for Helder Postiga in the first half.
Joao Moutinho pulled the strings in midfield, creating 3 chances for his team mates and bringing 2 saves from Cech. He also did his fair share off the ball, winning the ball back on 6 occasions.
Rui Patricio in the Portugal goal kept his first clean sheet of the tournament without being forced into a single save. The centre back partnership of Pepe and Bruno Alves continually cleared their lines, and has I had written in my preview for this game, I didn’t expect Czech Republic to have any success down the middle. They didn’t.
Vaclav Pilar found himself in a good position twice during the game, once after a Pepe slip, and both times after Joao Pereira had been caught out of position. His final ball didn’t find a team mate in either attempt.
Portugal’s defence was well-organised and playing like this will be difficult for any nation to breakdown, including Spain who they could meet in the semi-final. The last two winners of this tournament have kept a clean sheet in each of their three knock out games, and Portugal have claimed their first this evening.