Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Game 9: CRonaldo Strikes!

The Czech Republic followed up their less than stellar opening round performance with a much better performance against Portugal, this game was back and forth for the first hour, but Portugal's talent finally overtook the Czechs. Deco opened up the scoring in the 7th minute combining with Ronaldo to cause chaos inside the 18, and jumping in front 1-0. Libor Solonko equalized with just moments later when he sent a header rocketing past Ricardo off the corner kick by Plasil, and both sides fought hard back and forth until halftime. The Portuguse came out of the dressing room hungrier than the Czech Republic, Ronaldo and Gomes both had many shots on goal, but few troubled Petr Cech until the 63rd minute. Just seconds after a golden opportunity from Jankulovski flew just past Milan Baros the Portuguese countered with Deco made an excellent run out wide, slid the ball to an oncoming Cristiano Ronaldo, and Ronaldo cracked a low, well-placed shot, finding the back of the net and putting Portugal up 2-1. Ronaldo was off and on up until this point, and this goal gave him the confidence he needed to be a factor the rest of the match. The Czechs had a few more dangerous chances that almost saw them knot the game back up, but in the 90th minute they were caught napping after a quick restart from Deco who hit Ronaldo with no defender in 15 yards of him, unselfishly he tapped the ball across to Ricardo Quaresma to bury home essentially sealing a place for them in the quarter finals with 6 points from their first two games. The Portuguese still looked a little suspect in the back at times, but if they continue to score goals at this clip, I still feel confident in my prediction for them to win the tournament. Meanwhile the Czechs need to have a strong showing in their final match against Turkey on Sunday to qualify for the quarterfinals.

No comments: