Czech Republic 0-1 Portugal (Ronaldo 78)
Man of the Match – Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Apologies for the slightly, or rather late match report. The fact is the match was one of the most dullest boring games of football I have ever watched. Yes, it was so boring, I really didn’t feel like writing a match report. I would have rather watched a match between Humberstone United and Kings Lynn, but anyways, here is the match report.
Captain Tomas Rosicky was ruled out of the match with a persistent Achilles problem, which meant that the Czechs really lacked the attacking intent or rather force going forward in midfield. It was the Czechs who had the better start exploiting space on both flanks and even keeping the ball better.
Gebre Selassie, the right back (Is he in any way related to Haile Gaibreselassie, the Ethiopian marathon runner?), was keeping close tabs on Cristiano Ronaldo. However, the Portugese soon gathered momentum, and their wingers Nani and Ronaldo were causing several problems with their pace, despite the lack of space in the Czech defensive third. Ronaldo hit the post and even attempted an overhead kick, both after some fine first touch control. Apart from that, the Czechs looked comfortable just absorbing attack after attack from the Portugese, which were rather toothless.
There was more urgency and authority from the Portugese in the second half. The central midfield of Veloso, Moutinho and Meireles controlled play much better. Ronaldo had another hatful of chances, most going narrowly wide, and with Petr Cech in such good touch. His free kick in the 50th minute struck the post, Cech completely beaten.
Hugo Almeida had the ball in the net, but it was rightly called for offside. Joao Moutinho then tested Cech with a stinging shot, but the goalkeeper was equal to it, as he palmed it over. Kadlec then blocked a couple of goal bound shots from Ronaldo and Nani.
The pressure finally told on the visibly tired Czechs, as Ronaldo’s header from a Moutinho cross beat Cech. The final 12 minutes, the Czechs tried to apply a bit of pressure, trying to outrun their weary legs. Portugal held on for the win, and will now face the winners of the game between Spain and France.
Match Ratings – Czech Republic
Cech (8.5) – A brilliant display, but beaten at the end.
Gebre Selassie (7) – Had the hardest job in football, marking Ronaldo, but did it pretty well, I thought. He was caught dreaming as Ronaldo headed in the winner.
Sivok (7.5) – A strong display, but did look suspect at times.
Kadlec (8) – A good display at the back.
Limbersky (6.5) – Had a poor game. Caught out too many times.
Hubschman (7) – A decent repressed display.
Plasil (7) – A tireless display, but Portugal dominated midfield.
Jiracek (7.5) – The hardworking midfielder put in another industrious performance, but lacked support of any sort.
Darida (7) – Bought in for Rosicky, but didn’t possess the same thrust that the Arsenal midfielder provides.
Pilar (6.5) – Made a couple of good runs, but failed to help out his defenders.
Baros (6.5) – Did he even touch the ball?
Rezek (7) – Instantly bought pace into the game.
Pekhart (No Rating)
Match Ratings – Portugal
Patricio (7) – Like Baros, did he even touch the ball?
Perreira (7.5) – Had a good game. Pilar did manage to beat him a couple of times, but was largely comfortable.
Pepe (8.5) – Simple a rock at the back.
Bruno Alves (8) – A strong commanding display from Alves.
Coentrao (8)- Made a bright start, but then slowly faded away. A good game overall.
Meireles (8) – Helped control much of the midfield.
Veloso (8) – A bit rash, but he did his job well.
Moutinho (8) – Another good game. Had a couple of shots on goal as well.
Nani (8.5) – Seems to be getting into his best nick at the right time.
Ronaldo (9) – Scored the winner, but really had a dozen chances to put the game to bed.
Postiga (7) – Unfortunate injury on 40 minutes.
Almeida (7) – Lacked a bit of pace up front. Held the ball well, allowing time and space.
Custodio (No Rating)
Rolando (No Rating)
Overall Match Ratings
Czech Republic – 7.16
Portugal – 7.87