Cristiano Ronaldo’s brace takes Portugal into quarterfinals and sends Netherlands packing home
Netherlands had little hope of making it to the next round. Nonetheless, they needed Denmark to win against Germany and defeat Portugal with a lead of two goals in order to qualify for the quarterfinal stage of Euro 2012. However, the Portuguese football prodigy Cristiano Ronaldo took it upon himself to insure it was his side that qualified for the quarterfinals.
Man of the match, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace to help Portugal acquire a 2-1 victory over Netherlands. The defeat took Netherlands to their first group stage exit from the Euros since 1980. On the other hand, Portugal has been scheduled for a quarter final clash with Czech Republic.
Netherlands attacking midfielder Rafael van der Vaart scored through a beautiful curler to draw first blood in the game, but his efforts became useless as Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Portugal to a comeback victory by scoring in both halves of the game.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been in stunning form for Spanish club Real Madrid, will lead Portugal against the Czech Republic in Warsaw on Thursday. Meanwhile, Netherlands run away from Ukraine embarrassed and humiliated after three consecutive defeats. Surprisingly, this is the same team that faced Spain in the World Cup final two years ago.
Rafael van der Vaart was given a first team start and the captain’s armband from Mark van Bommel. The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder needed only 11 minutes to prove that fielding him was the right decision. After receiving a pass from Arjen Robben, Rafael van der Vaart cracked a wickedly curving ball from 25 yards out over the Portugal goal line.
Portugal instantly increased their offensive efforts with Cristiano Ronaldo breaking into the box a couple of times. The Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg was kept on his toes most of the time. A strike from Cristiano Ronaldo just went past his hands brushing the goal post on its way out. This alerted Netherlands but Portugal’s offensive power seemed was too hot to handle.
A few attacks later Cristiano Ronaldo produced the equalizer for Portugal with a close ranged powerful shot. Portugal increased the pressure after the goal but failed to score another one before the referee blew his whistle for half time.
When the play resumed Cristiano Ronaldo was at his best again. A 35-yard attempt from Cristiano Ronaldo that went screaming past the goal posts woke up the Dutchmen. Netherlands soon came up with a couple of attacks but their attacks lacked coordination. This forced the Dutch midfielder to attempt long ranged strikes.
In the 74th minute Cristiano Ronaldo came up with a winner via Nani’s pass. Netherlands unimpressive coordination prevailed through rest of the game which gave Portugal a well deserved victory and a chance to play in the semifinals.