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The first half of the match was considered disappointing for the first quarterfinal match of the competition. Early chances by the Czech Republic only came from corner kicks, which they were unable to capitalize on due to very poor deliveries.
Portugal seemed to get into the game later in the first half, when Ronaldo fired a beautiful shot that Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech was able to save with an amazing dive. The goal would not have counted if it had gone in, due to referee Howard Webb stopping play mid-pass that was not heard by the Portuguese forward.
In the final minute of the first half, Ronaldo came up again after handling a great cross from Raul Meireles. He gained control of the ball and kicked it straight into the post, the only thing that could stop him from giving Portugal the lead. The chance gave off a strong sense of determination from Portugal, who went into halftime in control of the game even though both teams have not yet scored.
Portugal came out ready to play, with Hugo Almeida missing a header by inches only a couple minutes into the second half. Ronaldo showed up yet again five minutes later with a close chance, taking a bending free-kick that struck the post again instead of hitting the back of the net.
The Czech Republic did not seem as though they were trying to take any offensive chances; Portugal controlled much of the possession throughout the early part of the second half, and the Czech’s seemed to stay on the defensive no matter what. The only real chance for the Czech Republic came in at the 60 minute mark, when Vaclav Pilar managed to speed around the Portuguese defenders with ease, only to give the ball away with a disappointing attempt at a cross.
After several more attempts from Portugal, which were all wide of the net or beautifully saved by Cech, Ronaldo was finally able to capitalize in the 80th minute after a great cross from Joao Moutinho. Ronaldo found room and headed the ball directly into the ground, which in turn ricocheted over the diving Petr Cech and into the top of the goal.
This lone goal was all that was needed in order to send Portugal into the semifinals. For a team that has never won a title at the Euro’s, Portugal heads into the semifinals as an underdog that shows no signs of letting this chance slip through their fingers.
Portugal will play in their semifinal match on June 27 against the winner of the quarterfinal match between Spain and France, which is scheduled for June 23.