Euro 2012 Quarterfinals A and B

Portugal 1 Czech Republic 0

Although everyone has been talking about Cristiano Ronaldo’s performance, it’s hard to exaggerate how good it was. Ronaldo could have easily had four goals with just a bit more luck, as it was he hit the post twice and narrowly missed on two other opportunities before he finally scored in the second half. With Nani largely ineffective, Ronaldo shouldered most of the burden despite being man-marked throughout the game; it didn’t matter how far back he tracked, Selassie went with him. But it was clear that Ronaldo ran him down over the course of the game, as the last goal, a header on a cross, was the result of Ronaldo simply outpacing an exhausted Selassie and arranging to be in the right place at exactly the right time. It was one of the more formidable individual performances I’ve ever seen and I don’t like Cristiano Ronaldo one little bit. Had he managed to score on the impromptu bicycle kick that went just wide right, it would probably be considered one of the great European Championship performances of all time.

Germany 4 Greece 2

Brave, dogged play from Greece. But not enough. Not nearly enough. The young German midfield may not be as talented as Spain’s, but they do have one advantage over the Spanish, which is to say, they aren’t afraid to shoot the ball from anywhere. The Teutonic brute force is capable of overpowering even the most stubborn defense, but as Greece showed, they are vulnerable to counterattacks. That’s why Italy could give them a lot of trouble, though from England, I would expect rather less.