Cristiano Ronaldo Magic takes Portugal into the Last Eight
Monday, June 18, 2012 Report by Mainak Chakraborty
No great escape for Dutch as Portugal go through by beating the Netherlands 2-1 on Sunday to set up a Euro 2012 quarter-final with the Czech Republic and condemn the Dutch to a first group-stage European Championship exit since 1980. Rafael Vand Der Vaart scores a fantastic goal from the edge of the area to put the Netherlands ahead in this game, a really fantastic finish. Quite frankly, the Dutch stunk the place out and exit with three defeats from three games, perhaps their worst ever showing at a major tournament. So often scorned for his international displays, Ronaldo was a man transformed, and after working Stekelenburg with an audacious dipping shot from 35 yards, he crashed a header narrowly wide from a corner.
Van Marwijk gambled in the second half, throwing on winger Ibrahim Afellay for left-back Jetro Willems, but still Portugal came, Nani spurning a good chance by firing at Stekelenburg after Ronaldo had rolled the ball across goal.
The Madrid man was not so forgiving when Nani returned the favour in the 74th minute, checking inside sharply to send van der Wiel sprawling and then calmly beating Stekelenburg at his near post.
Van der Vaart hit the post with a right-foot curler, but it was the only bright moment in what was a desperate second period for the Dutch, who saw Ronaldo wobble an upright in the final minute.
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