Fri, Jun 13, 2008 - Page 24 News List

Portugal dreaming of glory after winning Group A


Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo, front, vies for the ball with defender Zdenek Grygera of the Czech Republic during their Euro 2008 Group A match at the Stade de Geneve in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday.


Portugal are daring to dream of Euro 2008 glory after their impressive 3-1 win over the Czech Republic, team hero Cristiano Ronaldo said.

The 23-year-old winger showed exactly why Manchester United are fighting to keep him out of Real Madrid’s clutches by creating two goals and scoring one against the Czechs on Wednesday.

Having drawn Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech out of position in the eighth minute, Ronaldo created enough space for Barcelona’s Deco to flick the ball home and then followed up with a precision strike of his own on 63 minutes.

He capped a man-of-the-match performance by setting up Portugal substitute Ricardo Quaresmo to score a third goal in extra-time.

With a maximum six points after two wins, Portugal are through to the Euro 2008 quarter-finals as the winners of Group A and Ronaldo believes his side can go one better than four years ago when they lost to Greece in the final.

“Can the Portuguese dream? We can all dream, we are starting to have the belief to dream high, but we must take it a step at a time,” said the Portuguese star, whose side face Switzerland on Sunday in their final Group A game. “The road is long, but we are on track.”

Ronaldo said he makes no excuses for his high-risk soccer which paid off against the Czech Republic in such dramatic style.

“I try to always give my best,” he said. “Sometimes people do not understand, but it’s the same game I play for Manchester and that is how I will always play. I do not know play differently. I only know risk.”

“When things go badly I miss balls, but when things go well I score goals or create them,” he said. “In the second-half [against the Czech Republic] things went better me, I managed to make a goal, it was good. But the group is not over for us, we still have one more match to play.”

“I think there were some 10 to 15 minutes we had the more strength, we had an excellent opponent and that is why we ended up under pressure, the Portuguese simply played excellent football,” he said.

Czech Republic coach Karel Bruckner heaped praise on the Manchester United star saying he looks set to become the player of the tournament.

“Ronaldo is one of the best players, he is a very dangerous weapon,” Bruckner said. “The Portugal team is not just about Ronaldo, they have an excellent passing game, but, yes, Ronaldo might be the best player of Euro 2008.”

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