Euro 2012: Ronaldo double lifts Portugal past winless Dutch, Germans cruise

Euro 2012: Ronaldo double lifts Portugal past winless Dutch, Germans cruise

Euro 2012

Euro 2012: Ronaldo double lifts Portugal past winless Dutch, Germans cruise


RonaldoEuroSmirk (Getty)

Cristiano Ronaldo had endured a rough European Championship tournament heading into Sunday's final group match against the Netherlands, but he picked the perfect time to wake up and start finding the net.

Ronaldo notched a pair of goals during a masterful performance to help lead Portugal to a 2-1 victory against the Netherlands that secured Portugal's place in the Euro quarterfinals.

The loss sent the highly-regarded Dutch crashing out of Group B with an 0-3 record, a team victimized by its own terrible defending, and by an offense that never generated the kind of production expected of it when the tournament began.

The Dutch got off to a strong start when Tottenham midfielder Rafael Van De Vaart scored a beautiful opening goal to give the Netherlands life, but Ronaldo responded with his own brilliant finish to equalize in the first half.

A draw would have been enough to see Portugal into the second round, but Ronaldo added a second goal just to be sure, latching onto a Nani pass before cooly finishing off the Dutch with a well-taken finish in the 74th minute.

Portugal will move on to the quarterfinals, where they will take on the Czech Republic on Thursday.

In the other Group B match on Sunday:


The German national team continued its march to the Euro finals by dispatching Denmark, 2-1, on Sunday.

Lars Bender provided the winning goal to give Germany a perfect 3-0 record in Group B, and to set the Germans up with a quarterfinal date against surprising Greece on Friday.

The Danes looked like they might have a surprise up their sleeve when tournament star Michael Krohn-Dehli equalized to cancel out an early Lukas Podolski strike, but that's as close as Denmark came, with the Germans dominating another opponent on their way to victory.

The loss ended Denmark's tournament, which began so promisingly after upsetting the Netherlands in the opening match. Ultimately, a squandered opportunity against Portugal in a match they could have won wound up dooming the Danes.


What did you think of Sunday's matches? See Germany as the tournament favorites? Impressed with Portugal's ability to step up? See Ronaldo building on his two-goal game, or do you think he'll go quiet again?

Share your thoughts below.

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