Portugal headed for Euro semi-finals

Czech Republic 0 Portugal 1

Cristiano Ronaldo headed Portugal into the semi-finals of the European Championships at the expense of the Czech Republic in Warsaw tonight.

The Real Madrid forward had twice hit the woodwork and seen his side have a goal chalked out for offside before he arrived on cue in the six-yard box to nod in Joao Moutinho's cross on 79 minutes.

The Czechs - with captain Tomas Rosicky, the Arsenal midfielder, only on the bench because of an Achilles injury - had started brightly, but lacked a decisive move in the final third.

It had been a decent opening from Michal Bilek's side as Petr Jiracek drilled the ball in from 20 yards, but his effort was blocked by Real Madrid defender Pepe.

Portugal coach Paulo Bento named an unchanged side having beaten Holland to qualify behind Germany out of the 'Group of Death' for the last eight.

Manchester United winger Nani and Madrid star Ronaldo, who would miss the semi-final if he picked up another caution, were the most lively for the Portuguese.

On 17 minutes, the Czech Republic, who overcame a 4-1 defeat in their opening game against Russia to win Group A, broke quickly down the right and Vladimir Darida whipped over a low cross through the six-yard box, which Galatasaray striker Milan Baros just failed to connect with.

Ronaldo was played into the Czech box, holding off Michal Kadlec, and drilled the ball goalwards with Chelsea keeper Petr Cech making a smart save. However, English referee Howard Webb had blown for a foul by the Portugal forward, who could not believe the decision against him.

On 26 minutes, Nani went into the Yorkshireman's notebook after tripping David Limbersky.

The game was starting to open up as Czech full-back Theodor Gebre Selassie cut in from the right and crossed, with Pepe again alert to clear the danger.

At the other end, Ronaldo - who netted a brace against the Dutch - went close with an overhead kick at the far post.

The former Manchester United forward was then just off target again with an ambitious long-range free-kick.

Portugal were forced into a change six minutes before half-time when striker Helder Postiga pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring problem, and was replaced by 6ft 3in Besiktas frontman Hugo Almeida.

Nani claimed for a penalty after going down in the box under close attention from Limbersky, but the referee was unconvinced, with TV replays showing the United forward slipped rather than was pushed.

Portugal continued to press and Ronaldo was within inches of a spectacular opening goal when he collected a high ball into the box on his chest, swivelled around marker Kadlec and crashed the ball past Cech - only for it to strike the base of the near post.

There was another great chance for Portugal at the start of the second half, when Almeida headed over from 12 yards after being picked out by Raul Meireles' cross.

On 50 minutes, Ronaldo was denied by the woodwork again as this time his 30-yard free-kick clipped the outside of the far post with Cech beaten.

The Chelsea keeper then had to parry away a 25-yard strike from Nani, and only an offside flag prevented Portugal taking a deserved lead on 57 minutes when Almeida glanced in the United winger's cross.

The Czechs produced a counter-attack when Vaclav Pilar charged down the left and into the penalty area, only to produce a poor final pass, which was hacked clear.

Portugal were soon back on the offensive as Moutinho's dipping 25-yard effort was tipped over.

Kadlec was then left in a heap after being clattered by goalkeeper Cech, who punched clear at the edge of the penalty area.

The Chelsea man's goal was leading a charmed life, as Nani's floated ball was deflected behind.

Ronaldo finally broke the deadlock on 79 minutes, when he sent a diving header past Cech from Moutinho's right-wing cross.

Portugal continued to pour forwards, with Cech beating away an angled 25-yard effort from full-back Joao Pereira.

Ronaldo went down under a challenge from Gebre Selassie and, although he appeared to be caught by the Czech defender, referee Webb again waved play on.

Portugal saw out four minutes of stoppage time to secure their place in the semi-finals, where they will face either Spain or France.

 

News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links