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Czech Republic 0-1 Portugal - Ronaldo goal sends Portugal through to semi-finals

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal attempts an overhead kick during the UEFA EURO 2012 quarter final match between Czech Republic and Portugal at The National Stadium on June 21, 2012 in Warsaw, Poland (credit: Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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A late goal from Cristiano Ronaldo sent Portugal through to the semi-finals of Euro 2012 on Thursday night as they beat the Czech Republic 1-0.

Ronaldo's goal after 79 minutes means Portugal will play either Spain or France, who meet on Saturday night, for a place in the Euro 2012 final.

Neither side created any clear chances in front of goal in the opening 15 minutes, but it was the Czechs who made the better start to the game, with Petr Jiracek looking threatening in the early stages in front of a lively crowd at the National Stadium in Warsaw.

Portugal slowly started to settle and as the game reached the half hour mark, Ronaldo had started to become more involved, first going close when he was played in by Joao Moutinho only to see his shot well saved by Petr Cech, then narrowly firing wide with an overhead kick.

Then just a couple of minutes later, Ronaldo went close with a free-kick from 25 yards out as Paolo Bento's side started to look the more likely to open the scoring, although when the Czech Republic had the ball, they were still looking more than capable of finding the back of the net.

Portugal finished the first half the stronger of the two sides though, and just moments after they lost Helder Postiga through injury, replacing him with the less mobile Hugo Almeida, they again nearly took the lead through the brilliant Ronaldo, who pulled down Raul Meireles' ball in to the box with his chest and beat Michal Kadlec, before smashing his shot from 10 yards out against the post.

Substitute Almeida should have made it 1-0 shortly after half-time when he was found completely unmarked twelve yards out, but he put his header from a Meireles delivery over the bar, when he really should have scored.

Then just moments later, Ronaldo went close yet again from a free-kick, clipping the outside of Cech's left post from 25 yards out.

Portugal were dominating the second half as the game passed the hour mark, with the Czechs unable to get out of their own half except for a rare attack down the left flank through Vaclav Pilar, whose cross towards Milan Baros was disappointing.

But Ronaldo and Nani were running the show for the Portuguese, while Moutinho had a effort from 20 yards out while saved by Cech, who was being kept busy.

As the game entered the final 15 minutes, Portugal could have been accused of being wasteful, and after still being kept out by the Czechs, were starting to become frustrated.

But the breakthrough finally came on 79 minutes when Moutinho's superb cross from the right was too high for Almeida, but was met by man-of-the-match Ronaldo, who fired his header past Cech.

The goal killed the game, with the Czechs unable to find a late equaliser to take the tie into extra-time, and Portugal comfortable held on to run out as deserving winners.

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Czech Republic 0-1 Portugal - Ronaldo goal sends Portugal through to semi-finals

A late goal from Cristiano Ronaldo sent Portugal through to the semi-finals of Euro 2012 on Thursday night as they beat the Czech Republic 1-0.

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