While Cristiano Ronaldo attracted the plaudits for a second successive match-winning display, the role of Portugal team-mate Pepe in the first UEFA EURO 2012 quarter-final should not be overlooked.
Pepe, one of five squad captains appointed by coach Paulo Bento before the tournament, performed in a manner befitting the post as he topped the Castrol EDGE Index against the Czech Republic with a score of 9.53.
Such was his influence at the heart of the Selecção back line that Michal Bílek's team were restricted to just two shots at goal in Warsaw, neither of which was on target.
Allied to his immaculate defending was his sound distribution. The Real Madrid CF player – together with Bruno Alves – was second to João Moutinho, who provided the cross for Ronaldo to head the only goal, in the pass completion stakes with an 81% success rate. Helping Portugal recover possession 14 times, three of those occasions being close to the Czech goal, also counted heavily in his favour.
Alves, Pepe's partner in central defence, was second in the Index for the same reasons, while Raul Meireles completes the top three. As well as aiding his defenders in restricting the Czech threat, the Chelsea FC midfielder had two shots off target, one of which Pepe had a role in setting up.
Castrol EDGE Index: Czech Republic v Portugal
1. Pepe (POR) 9.53
2. Bruno Alves (POR) 9.49
3. Raul Meireles (POR) 9.30
4. João Pereira (POR) 9.19
5. Fábio Coentrão (POR) 8.96
0 – The Czech Republic were the first team not to register a shot on target during a UEFA EURO 2012 match.
4 – Number of times that Cristiano Ronaldo has hit the woodwork in the tournament (including two in this game), more than any of the 15 other teams.
6 – Ronaldo has struck six goals in UEFA European Championship finals, leaving him level with Nuno Gomes as his country's record scorer on the EURO stage.
18 – The Portugal captain scored the 18th headed goal in Poland/Ukraine, more than at any previous EURO.
26 – Crosses that the Selecção attempted from open play against the Czechs, a UEFA EURO 2012 high.
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