KHARKIV: Cristiano Ronaldo dedicated his goals to his baby son after claiming a brace in a 2-1 win over the Netherlands that sent Portugal into the quarter-finals.
“The team was spectacular,” said Ronaldo. “We deserve this qualification because we believed in it right until the end. I’m very happy because today is also my son’s birthday and I dedicate my goals to him.”
So often maligned for failing to recapture his Real Madrid form when wearing the colours of his country, Ronaldo was the dominant figure in the match.
“We now have to take things match by match,” said the Real Madrid man. “Anything is possible. We’ll have an extremely difficult match against the Czech Republic. It’s 50-50 and we’ll have to respect them.”
We all failed: Robben
Meanwhile, the Netherlands players hinted that their campaign had been undermined by changing-room disunity.
The cracks had appeared earlier with outbursts from several players hinting at discord among a national squad with a historical reputation for feuding and in-fighting. Asked to provide explanations for his team’s struggles after the defeat by Portugal, Arjen Robben appeared at a loss.
“We lost three times,” said Robben. “We have to dare to look at ourselves in the mirror. We all failed. It’s hard to find explanations. Sometimes things are impossible to explain. Things happened in the squad, but we’ll keep that between us.”
‘Greece will be tough’
Germany’s Joachim Loew said he expects another tough battle against Greece in Friday’s quarter-final after the Germans confirmed their place in the last eight by beating Denmark 2-1.
“Against Greece, it will be a completely different type of match,” said German head coach Loew. “Nevertheless, they play a very similar game to the Danes, as they are very dangerous in attack and strong in defence. It will be tough.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2012.
More in SportsSnooker: Asif to take on Sharjeel in quarters