Will Cristiano Ronaldo Lead Portugal To The Euro Semi-Finals?

Posted on by Sreya

Portugal Ronaldo - Free Kick

The UEFA Euro 2016 has seen its fair share of upsets with Italy dominating Spain in a 2-0 victory in the last eight while England fell to Iceland in a heartbreaking 2-1 loss, which resulted in Roy Hodgson announcing his departure from the post of manager for the Three Lions.

The quarter-finals line-up has been decided with Portugal facing Poland, Wales meeting Belgium, Germany playing Italy and France being drawn against the surprise package Iceland.

While Wales vs Belgium and Germany vs Italy promise to be exciting contests with no clear favorites and France vs Iceland sees the hosts and tournament favorites meeting one of the true underdogs of European football, it is the first quarter-final which is expected to garner the most eyeballs due to the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Portugal, who were one of the contenders of the UEFA Euro 2016, stuttered through the group stage finishing third behind Hungary and Iceland. Against Croatia, it took Portugal close to 120 minutes to get their first shot on the goal, which coincidentally helped them go through to the quarter-finals.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s timely brace helped the Portuguese avoid embarrassment against Hungary but the Portuguese should be wary of Poland who have the dangerous Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski and experienced midfield campaigner Jakub Blaszczykowski in their ranks.

“Poland is a different game. We want to win. For penalties, we are prepared. Some people say it’s about luck. One thing I know is that you have to be confident in the way you kick the ball. If it happens then we must go into it with confidence.”

Nani, Portugal.

It will be a supremely difficult task for Cristiano Ronaldo to dismantle Portugal on his own, with the Polish side boasting of one of the best defences in the competition, having conceded just one goal, bettered by the World Champions Germany only.

The duo of Robert Lewandowski and Arkadiusz Milik have only scored once from their twenty three shots so far in the competition, although both entered the Euros on back of excellent seasons. Portugal, on the other hand have been trigger-happy, registering 19 shots per game on an average in spite of their overall lackluster results.

Cristiano Ronaldo himself has registered an average of over 7 shots per match, which is a testimony that the Real Madrid forward is getting into the right zones to score a goal. Considering their Head-2-Head record of four wins and three losses in ten meetings with Poland, the odds favor Portugal.

With Lionel Messi failing to lead his nation Argentina to championship glory earlier this week, the spotlight is firmly on Cristiano Ronaldo as the world waits with bated breath to see if one of modern football’s absolute greats can lead his country Portugal to the Euro semi-finals.

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