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FT Portugal 1 – 0 Czech Republic

FT Portugal 1 – 0 Czech Republic

Painstaking research conducted by someone else reveals that the Czech Republic have been the most dynamic team of Euro 2012 so far, covering more grass than incontinent cows. And while Cristiano Ronaldo spent the first two matches of the tournament suggesting that he couldn’t hit one of said bovines on the backside with a banjo, the Real Madrid stallion found his range in spectacular style during his country’s third group game against the United Nations of Holland, thereby compensating for Portugal’s lack of a decent specialist striker and giving them the look of a top-notch side that is getting it together at exactly the right time.

Portugal’s opponents in tonight’s quarter-final are also drawing inspiration from Chelsea, as the Czech Republic intend deploying all of their dynamism to park a fleet of buses in front of Petr Cech’s goal. Tomas Rosicky will not be fit enough to start, and that no friendly wizard has magicked Jan Koller back into the fray and renewed whatever spell it was that made Milan Baros so deadly eight years ago. Their plot, then, seems to be for Cech to prevail on penalties again. For Portugal’s sake, Ronaldo better have been doing his banjo practice.

Czech Republic: Cech; Gebre Selassie, Sivok, Kadlec, Limbersky; Hubshman, Plasil; Jiracek, Darida, Pilar; Baros
Portugal: Patricio; Pereira, Pepe, Alves, Coentrao; Meireles, Veloso, Moutinho; Nani, Postiga, Ronaldo

At 79′, Ronaldo has done it! A fine diving header from 10 yards after Moutinho surged from deep to collect a pass and clip a cross in from the right. Lovely goal! 1-0 For Portugal.

Portugal deservedly swagger into the semi-finals, where they will pose a real threat to either Spain or France. Ronaldo was brilliant but he was not alone: Moutinho and Coentrao were great too. The Czechs defended very well for long periods and, of course, did well to get to this stage. But they never looked like going any farther.

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