Ronaldo seals Portugal's progress as Czechs miss out in EURO 2008 Group A

Czech Republic 1-3 Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo turned on the style as Group A winners Portugal qualified for the quarter-finals again.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring Portugal's second goal
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring Portugal's second goal ©Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo scored one goal and set up two more as Portugal qualified for the UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-finals as Group A winners after a 3-1 defeat of the Czech Republic in Geneva.

Deco gave Portugal an eighth-minute lead after good work from Ronaldo before Libor Sionko's thumping header levelled proceedings. However, Ronaldo turned on the style in the second half, providing a sublime finish from the edge of the area in the 63rd minute before supplying Ricardo Quaresma to round things off in added time.

EURO 2008: All you need to know

The win left Portugal top of Group A with six points and their last-eight place was confirmed by Turkey's last-gasp victory over Switzerland later in the evening – a result that leaves the Czechs tied in second with Fatih Terim's side on three points ahead of their decisive meeting on Sunday, which if it is drawn will go to penalties.

While Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari kept faith with the XI that served him so well in the opener against Turkey, Czech counterpart Karel Brückner dropped Jan Koller in favour of Milan Baroš, top scorer at UEFA EURO 2004, and elected not to give Václav Svěrkoš the chance to shine from the start despite his winning strike against the Swiss. The Czechs may have registered the first shot on goal after Sionko's mazy run, but it was Portugal who delivered the first telling blow.

Highlights: The best goals of EURO 2008
Highlights: The best goals of EURO 2008

The ever-menacing Ronaldo escaped the clutches of his marker down the left before a swift one-two with Nuno Gomes left the Manchester United FC winger with just Petr Čech to beat. The goalkeeper foiled Ronaldo's attempt to waltz around him but the ball fell invitingly for Deco to slot home at the second attempt from close range, giving Scolari's men the perfect start.

The Czechs, who had clearly targeted Paulo Ferreira as Portugal's weak link down the right, sought an instant response through Marek Jankulovski but, after cleverly making space for himself, he could only send his long-range effort wide of Ricardo's post. The game was developing into an absorbing contest played at a breathtaking pace and it came as no surprise when the Czechs restored parity in the 18th minute.

Jaroslav Plašil was the architect, swinging in a vicious corner and Sionko, who had been at the heart of almost every Czech attack, powered a diving header beyond the despairing dive of Ricardo.

Great EURO 2008 saves: Casillas, Buffon and more
Great EURO 2008 saves: Casillas, Buffon and more

The merits of hard work and a deft touch were apparent in both midfields with Petit always assured on the ball and the Czech trio working tirelessly to close down Portugal's wing quartet whenever they looked threatening. Although Ronaldo had three efforts on goal before the interval, Portugal evidently emerged from their half-time team talk with renewed vigour.

First Nuno Gomes, anonymous to that point, had two efforts in quick succession before Scolari's team regained the lead through a combination of young legs and an older head. After wave upon wave of Portuguese attacks, the ball fell to Deco on the right of the area and he weighted his pass perfectly for Ronaldo to supply the smooth finish with a right-foot shot into the bottom left-hand corner of Čech's goal from the edge of the area.

It was his 46th goal of an incredible season. The Czechs threw everything at Portugal in the closing stages but could not find their way past Ricardo and his resolute defence. In the final minute, with the entire Czech team committed to an attack, Ronaldo raced clear before squaring to Quaresma who slotted the ball home to complete the victory.

EURO 2008: Team of the Tournament

Lineups

Portugal line up in Geneva
Portugal line up in GenevaBongarts/Getty Images

Czech Republic: Čech; Jankulovski, Rozenhal, Ujfaluši (c), Grygera; Plašíl (Jarolím 84). Polák, Galásek (Koller 73), Matĕjovský (Vlček 68), Sionko; Baroš
Substitutes: Blažek, Zítka, Kováč, Fenin, Svĕrkoš, Pospĕch, Kadlec, Sivok, Skácel
Coach: Karel Brückner

Portugal: Ricardo; Paulo Ferreira, Carvalho, Pepe, Bosingwa; Simão (Quaresma 80), Moutinho (Fernando Meira 75), Deco, Petit, Ronaldo; Nuno Gomes (c) (Hugo Almeida 79)
Substitutes: Nuno, Rui Patrício, Bruno Alves, Raul Meireles, Miguel, Jorge Ribeiro, Miguel Veloso, Nani, Hélder Postiga
Coach: Luiz Felipe Scolari

Referee: Kyros Vassaras (Greece)

Man of the Match: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)