What can I say about that game? Portugal had 60% of the ball, the Czechs had two shots off target. Portugal endlessly attacked high up the field, the Czechs cleared and called it a pass. Portugal had Europe’s best player, the Czechs had Milan Baros. Seriously, somewhere millions of miles away there is an incredibly small piece of rock drifting aimlessly around our solar system, and it had more of an influence on the game than the now retired (Czech fans: ‘thanks god’) Baros.
I think we all wanted to deny the game we were seeing at first. The Republic have been quietly going about their business in the group games and looking good. Even during their hammering by Russia I thought they looked a competent side. They have shown us such exciting prospects as Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar. But let’s face it, they weren’t trying to win that game last night.
I’m not gonna go full Klinsmann on them but they didn’t look the part. I wouldn’t go as far to say anti-football, I just don’t think they could muster anything other than hitting on the break with long balls. It was a shame, I didn’t think they’d win but I thought they’d put up a fight.
In the end, it seemed like their players lacked self belief. The aforementioned pair have been full of take ons and great runs so far this tournament, but aside from a moment where Pilar absolutely destroyed the Portuguese right side, there wasn’t much creativity.
I can forgive their other stand-out performer Theodor Gebre Selassie for not supporting the attack more seeing as he was up against Ronaldo, but that attacking intent needed to be made up for and it wasn’t.
In the end it was one player’s night – Raul Meireles. Nah, I’m yanking your chain, that guy sucked.
C-Ron was on it again, showing on the European stage why he is the best in the world excluding Argentina. I actually feel sorry for the gelled up baby seal that conversations about his performance always end up coming back to a certain Barcelona player. So I’m not gonna go there.
What makes him so great is that rare quality in forwards – unplayability.
Although it’s not unheard of it is the most valuable thing in football. But it isn’t this that automatically makes him a football god, it’s his access to that unplayability. On his day Andy Carroll can be an unplayable striker, but that day only comes on leap years when Jupiter is aligned and a goat has been slaughtered. With Ronaldo it’s 4/5 times.
And just him alone having an unplayable game changes the entire opposition team. In a similar way that lesser teams play Spain (sit deep, kick long, pray), teams must also rely on more defensive orientated tactics and luck to nullify Ronaldo, and even then it seldom works. I mean you can outscore him or hope he hits the woodwork, but not stop him.
His sheer level of performance is insane. When he comes off the left to face a back peddling fullback, just as he get’s to the 18 yard line that’s it. It is done. There will be a shot, cross, or corner, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. And if you’re lucky he might just do something like this: