EURO 2012: PORTUGAL INTO FINAL FOUR

Posted on: Fri 22 Jun 2012

Raul Meireles is the first Chelsea player into the semi-finals of Euro 2012 and Petr Cech the first to head home after one goal decided Thursday evening's game.

A Cristiano Ronaldo goal 12 minutes from time finally beat Cech who made several smart saves and saw the ball hit the frame of his goal on another couple of occasions.

Portugal's win reflected the balance of play with Meireles, who had overcome an injury suffered in the previous game, enjoying his best performance of the tournament so far.

It was the Chelsea midfielder who supplied a long pass from which Ronaldo hit the post late in the first half after skillfully teeing himself up, Cech having made a good save from the Real Madrid striker earlier on although a goal would not have been given anyway due to an earlier foul.

The Czechs did exert pressure for a period early in the game but after the interval were pinned back for long spells. Meireles advanced and crossed for substitute Hugo Almeida to miss poorly in the first attack after the interval before a Ronaldo free-kick hit the outside of the post with Cech fully extended.

Another long Meireles pass ended in a Ronaldo miss and Cech denied Nani, Joao Moutinho and Joao Pereira and although he can be pleased with his performance, the keeper and captain could do nothing about Ronaldo's downward header that sets Portugal up with a semi-final against the winners of Saturday's Spain versus France match.