Tuesday 17 October 2017

We're ready for the fight -- Cristiano Ronaldo

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring the winning goal against the Czech Republic. Photo: AP
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring the winning goal against the Czech Republic. Photo: AP
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring the winning goal during the Euro 2012 soccer championship quarterfinal match against the Czech Republic. Photo: AP
Ronaldo makes a bicycle kick during the match. Photo: Reuters

Cristiano Ronaldo claims Portugal are growing in confidence after his second-half header sent his side into the semi-finals of Euro 2012 with a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic.





The Real Madrid forward had twice hit the woodwork and seen his team 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 at the National Stadium in Warsaw.



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.



Portugal, who came through the Group of Death behind Germany, will now face either France or world champions Spain in Donetsk on June 27.



Ronaldo said on BBC1: "We created many chances and hit the post, but it is brilliant for us to have passed into the semi-finals.



"We know it is going to be difficult, but we are ready, we are confident. We are very mature, so we are ready for the fight."



Portugal coach Paulo Bento felt his side grew into the game and deserved their place in the semi-finals.



"We did not start the match well in attack for the first 25 minutes, then we showed a great response in the second half, a great capacity to respond to the Czechs and that is why we really deserved this victory," Bento told a press conference.



"We had prepared ourselves in the best possible way for their strategy.



"We knew they would try to defend very deeply and would press against us on the counter-attack, because they have very quick players who are good technically.



"As the game went on we controlled the match, we played better and had more chances to create our own game."



Despite Ronaldo grabbing the headlines, Bento was reluctant to single out any individual performances.



"All the players have tasks on the pitch, and Ronaldo played to our tactical system," the Portugal coach said.



"He has the capacity to play in the penalty area, but also a little deeper."



Bento maintains his side will be ready for whomever they face in Donetsk next Wednesday night.



"In the semi-finals of a tournament like this, there are always great teams with different characteristics who are well organised with players of great quality," he said.



"We do not prefer [to play] anybody.



"It has been a lot of work by us to reach the semi-finals and we will try to recover to reach the pitch in the best condition.



"We will show the response which is necessary.



"Our aim will be to win against France or Spain. There cannot be any other goal for us."

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