The magic number is 7.
Two hungry nations competed against each other. But today was about Cristiano Ronaldo taking on the Czechs. Breaking his duck against the Dutch with 2 goals, all eyes were on him to see whether that was a one-day performance from his end?
One would expect the Czech to do all their homework coming into this game. And why not, Portugal can win a game without even playing well, because they have a superstar in the form of Ronaldo. And we all know, that it takes few seconds of brilliance from him to turn a game around. Portugal, at the moment, is a one-man team. You will notice it if you do the math. Czech, on the other hand, tends to be very team-oriented.
Except Ronaldo did more than the math. He prepared all his homework. He came out on top and so did Portugal.
To the victor go the spoils, to the defeated, well, whatever is left. The Czech’s will quietly departure. Perhaps there is another footballing chapter to create, but not now. This brings me to the magic number: 7.
Wherever Ronaldo goes he announce his coming with a barrage of yaps to let each and everyone know he was there.
As anticipated, it was an entertaining and clean fight between Ronaldo and Czech right-back, Selassie. Selassie who reminds me of Cafu with his darting runs and then Ronaldo who, as we all know, is not too keen on defending.
The Czechs seemed to have studied Ronaldo and the eventual threat he possess, very well in the first half. If observed carefully, for the majority of the time he carried the ball, more than three players would gang up on him. At one point of the game, 5 reds persisted on one white.
All this meant that Nani, playing on the other end, would have the freedom to do what his famed colleague couldn’t. It was his day to shine but he could barely pass through Limbersky.
Ronaldo came close thrice in the first half. Two of them could be considered as great opportunities.
He nearly created something quite spectacular after all that Ronaldo scrappiness. One, a spectacular effort with an attempted scissor kick, which went wide of the post. And then there was the brilliant chest-turn-touch-shot which sadly came off the post. But his eyes were always on the ball.
Enter second half.
An opportunity comes up. A free kick.
Take two for Cristiano Ronaldo. Second bit at a free kick after a futile initial attempt. Three steps back, legs wide spread – the Ronaldo stance. It was certainly within his range. Runs up, takes the zipping shot and Cech has his post to thank again.
It is given. Crosses make goals and it continues to be the thing for this championship. After constant knocking on Peter Cech’s goal, a beautiful cross from Joao Moutinho was met by Ronaldo, which turned out to be the winner. His moment was so sharp and so quick to beat Selassie for the header that the latter had no time to react. Ronaldo had finally won against Selassie.
At that time, I was wondering what, the two Portuguese greats present in the stadium, Eusebio and Luis Figo thought after watching him in action?
His game play today was basically poetry in motion. Very instinctive.
The scene changes tonight. And nowhere will the ground be rockier than coming Wednesday as Ronaldo and company take on the winners between the quarterfinal match-up of Spain and France.