The business end of Euro 2012 starts tonight as Portugal take on the Czech Republic in the first quarter-final. While the Czechs have done well to advance Paddy Power columnist Robbie Fowler believes Ronaldo and Nani will have too much firepower for them tonight.
Cristiano Ronaldo has Portugal’s fate in his hands tonight in the first quarter-final of Euro 2012 against the Czech Republic.
Teams have had the chance to recover from poor shows in the Group Stages but there’s no margin for error now.
Ronaldo is often a victim of his own success. He performs to such a high standard there’s so much expected of him all the time.
But he can’t be brilliant in every game. It’s impossible.
Everything fell in to place for him against the Dutch and I think his class is beginning to shine through now.
Nani came into the tournament struggling with an injury but improved against the Dutch. His work rate against them was magnificent and he really put in a shift.
In the past he’s tried the flicks and tricks and was maybe more concerned about his own game rather than where he fitted into the team’s performance.
But you couldn’t even fault his defending the other night which is not something you would have said about him too often in the past.
As for the Czech Republic, I was shocked after their 4-1 defeat by Russia in their Group A opener. They deserve respect for the way they’ve come back well from that defeat and have defended very well in the other games.
The Czechs will set their stall out to defend and maybe try to hit Portugal on the break. But if the Portuguese start attacking early and get a goal then it will open up the game a bit more because the Czechs will have to come out of their comfort zone and push forward.
If Portugal get an early goal than that may make it a better game to watch for the neutrals.
Then the Czechs will start to leave holes at the back as they chase an equaliser and that’s where Nani and Ronaldo will punish them.
I fancy Ronaldo to get among the goals tonight and Portugal to advance to the semi-final stage by a 3-1 scoreline.