While we are all set for the first semi-final of the Euro 2012 championships between Portugal and Spain, the match can be seen as a crucial contest between in-form Cristiano Ronaldo vs the 11 men from Spain. The defending champions will be aware of his individual brilliance and will unquestionably come up with a strategy against CR7.
Several players from the Spanish squad reckoned that their side is capable of handling Ronaldo, but most probably the same players might be forced to eat their words after the first semi-final.
The 28-year-old striker didn’t begin the campaign on a confident note and then as expected, questions were raised about his form. But as the tournament progressed, he silenced the critics with an alarming comeback. Ronaldo delivered for his team under crucial circumstances scoring three goals in the last two league games to take Portugal a step closer to their first final since Euro 2004, when they were defeated in front of their home crowd by Gre
Such is Ronaldo’s form that even though Lionel Messi is not a part of the Euro Cup 2012, the debating societies once again expressed their opinions whether the Portugese star is greater than the Argentine. Ronaldo has scored 86 league goals in the past two seasons for Real Madrid which has got him closer to the great Messi.
But the Real Madrid star has often conceded that he gets frustrated when compared with the legend. The problem with Ronaldo is that he takes too much of pressure on himself by trying to prove his individual vividness on the ground. We all know that his teammates, including Nani are willing to pass the ball to the winger, who with his lightning speed can hit the target from a fair distance. But even Ronaldo should realise that for a positive result, he will have to play as a team player and take the right decisions.
Not to forget, Nani will have to play a major role as well. All eyes would be on Ronaldo as Spain would try their best to shackle him and as a result of this, Nani should get ample opportunities to score. He has the potential to turn a game on his own and only if he converts the chances that come his way, there is no reason why the deadly Nani-Ronaldo combo cannot deflate the European Champions.
Portugal will back their defense along with this duo to register a win. Ronaldo was just 19 when his side lost to Greece in the 2004 Euro Cup final. Eight years later, he will not only try to take Portugal into the final, but also help them win their maiden Euro Cup title.
Today’s big match is the perfect opportunity for the Ronaldo star to show his worth at the big stage. The Portuguese fans, coach Paulo Bento and even his female fans in the stadium, will want him to score. To stop Spain from winning their third Euro Cup title, CR7 will have to play the game of his life. Only if he scores and lives upto the expectations, Portugal can cruise into the finals.
Let the match begin!
(The views expressed by the author are personal)