Cristiano Ronaldo carries Portugal
Portugal qualified for the semi-finals of Euro 2012 in a narrow but quite comfortable win over Czech Republic.
It was a game dominated from start to finish by the Portuguese, but one in which they were consistently frustrated by the well-supported Czechs and then the woodwork. Cristiano Ronaldo hit the post for the fourth time in the last two matches and cut an increasingly restless figure until he popped up to grab the 78th minute winner.
The Real Madrid superstar grabbed the game's only goal as he raced onto a superb cross from the right, meeting it with a diving header that Petr Cech could only push into the roof of his net.
His celebration only served to convey how frustrated he had been, as he raged towards the corner flag before seemingly shouting "Messi" into the lens.
At this point, the game was won despite the narrow score-line. For all the industry Bilek's side had shown in defending, their attacking threat was limited to a few optimistic forays from Pilar and Jiracek – with Milan Baros ineffective throughout in what would turn out to be his final international game.
Nonetheless, the Czechs lived up to their tags as serious outsiders, and if anything Portugal looked a bit under-priced at 1.7 pre-match. Now, however, they may be quietly fancied to go all the way despite the fact they are expected to face the all-conquering Spain in the semi-finals. With Cristiano Ronaldo's record up against Alvaro Arbeloa, Portugal could well cause problems for Spain and if they do then they could be a value bet to win Euro 2012.
Cristiano Ronaldo stole the show in this game as he had done against the Netherlands, and he is in to 3.25 for the Golden Boot, second-favourite behind Mario Gomez (2.5). Level on three goals each, the Portuguese talisman has the advantage of taking free-kicks and penalties and certainly seems to offer real value in the market, even if Gomez is favoured due to the strength of the players around him.