Cristiano Ronaldo finally got his reward at UEFA EURO 2012 as his two-goal performance against the Netherlands ensured Portugal progressed to the last eight from Group B.
Coming into the match in Kharkiv, the prolific Real Madrid CF winger-cum-striker had unusually not found the back of the net from a tournament-high eight efforts on target. His luck changed emphatically, however – he unleashed a torrent of shots which earned him the Castrol EDGE Index honours with an impressive rating of 9.75, eclipsing the previous best of 9.7 set by Andriy Shevchenko against Sweden.
In total, the Portugal captain had ten strikes at Maarten Stekelenburg's goal, five of which hit the target − both highs for a match at these finals. The 27-year-old clearly subscribes to the maxim that 'if at first you don't succeed, try, try again', for his first goal in Poland and Ukraine, after Rafael van der Vaart had put the Oranje ahead, came from his 14th attempt.
While his shooting accounted for the bulk of his score, his ability to win free-kicks was also significant. As the Index rewards players for their contribution to goals depending where on the pitch their actions take place, by drawing three fouls (second only to Arjen Robben) he earned additional points for creating scoring opportunities.
Nani and Fábio Coentrão made it a clean sweep of the top-three positions for Portugal, the former having laid on Ronaldo for his second of the night 16 minutes from time.
Castrol EDGE Index: Portugal v Netherlands
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (POR) 9.75
2. Nani (POR) 9.01
3. Fábio Coentrão (POR) 8.96
4. Wesley Sneijder (NED) 8.85
5. Maarten Stekelenburg (NED) 8.76
6 – Portugal have progressed from their group in all six of their UEFA European Championship finals campaigns.
7 – By equalising in Kharkiv, Ronaldo joined Hélder Postiga, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Thierry Henry, Nuno Gomes, Vladimír Šmicer and Jürgen Klinsmann in having scored at three UEFA European Championships.
7 – Seven players have scored twice in a match at UEFA EURO 2012: Alan Dzagoev, Mario Mandžukić, Andriy Shevchenko, Nicklas Bendtner, Mario Gomez, Fernando Torres and Ronaldo.
10 – Attempts on goal by Ronaldo against the Netherlands.
1980 – The Dutch had not exited a tournament at the group stage since the 1980 European Championship, when their section was topped by West Germany.
Cristiano Ronaldo: "The team were spectacular and we deserve congratulations – we have achieved our big aim of qualifying for the quarter-finals."
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