Ok, now I have your attention, let's analyse what went right in Kharkiv.
|Irina Shayk: With this on the standby, any man would score *wink*|
Ronaldo alone hit the woodwork twice and his team-mates missed chance after chance. Bert van Marwijk’s team were sent home by a collective Portuguese performance, led by their inspiring captain, that shamed the Dutch divas.Van Marwijk's bravest decision must have been leaving Van Bommel out of the starting line-up. His captain and the extension of his authority on the pitch may have well bowed out on his last tournament, because at 35 years he probably does not have much left to offer. Van Bommel's place was taken by his ego-inflated vice Van Der Vaart, who needed only 11 minutes to show Van Marwijk where he has gone wrong all the while as he netted a curling effort into the left corner. Rui Patricio could do virtually nothing about the effort as it was a masterclass on its own. Van Bommel's Dutch Career may as well be over, but Van Der Vaart's dynasty might have just begun.
|Ronnie Opens the Scoring against the Dutch for his first of the Tournament.|
The Oranje fever didn't last too long as just close to the half-hour mark, Ronnie netted his first goal of the tourney. A brilliantly taken finish past Stekelenburg from about 12 yards, similar to his second miss against the Danes. This time around, there were no errors as the ball found the back of the net. The goal originated from Jetro Willems errant pass. The Portuguese moved the ball without real pressure being placed on them and Joao Peirera, the right back, flicked a pass into the area with the outside of his boot, having spotted Ronaldo darting in behind Vlaar. Ronnie's goal was calmly taken, but the pass from Pereira made all the difference in the first goal- it was a beautifully weighted pass from the right-back. The score was all level and from that moment on the Portuguese had the destiny of their advancement in their palms.Van Marwijk was impotently barking at his players from the technical area. Ronaldo could have made their predicament worse: he had already terrified Stekelenburg with one of his dipping, powerful, long-rangers when he headed just wide of the near post. Very few had expected the Dutch to fall back into shambles given the fine start they had, but the Iberians continually pressed on: Postiga had a goal disallowed and rightly so for offside, and then Ronaldo led a rapid counter, carrying the ball for some 60 yards before passing to Fabio Coentrao but his Real Madrid 'blonde haired" team-mate could not beat Stekelenburg though with a fine effort.
It was getting quite easy for the Iberians as Moutinho sent Ronaldo free down the left and the Portugal captain played a brilliant ball across the face of goal for Nani who shot straight at Stekelenburg with the goal gaping. It was a chance gone begging as the Portuguese bench were soaked in unbelief that Nani did not convert the opportunity.
And finally, the chance that ensured that Portugal were assured a place in the last eight irrespective of the result between Germany and Denmark in Lviv was set up by Nani who himself had a brilliant game. The United winger rolled the ball across the face of the area to Ronaldo who checked, left Van der Wiel on his backside, and shot low into the net after Van Der Vaart had been robbed off the ball in the Portuguese eighteen yard box. It was a classic Counter and a brilliant finish from the Portuguese Torch-bearer.Van der Vaart bent a long range shot against the post moments later, but you always had the feeling the Portuguese could get another goal if they wanted to. It wasn't that easy but it was actually "quite easy". One more counter saw Ronaldo smash the ball against the post. As at now, it was beyond doubt that the Dutch were soon moving their luggages from Kharkiv.