Destiny awaits Ronaldo & co.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
Portugal and the Czech Republic will clash in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Euro 2012 on Thursday night at theStadion Narodowy in Warszawa at 20h45 (CAT). The Czech Republic finished at the top of their group to set up a meeting with Group B runners-up Portugal.
Both sides suffered a single defeat en route to their last eight qualifications. Portugal suffered their only defeat at the hands of Germany in their opening match whilst the Czechs lost out Russia in their opener.
Czech coach Michal Bilek's biggest worry ahead of the quarterfinal clash is the fitness of star midfielder Tomas Rosicky, who is rated doubtful for the game on Thursday following his Achilles tendon injury sustained in the game against Greece. Rosicky spent the last few days in his native city of Prague to receive treatment but has returned to the tournament.
Should the Arsenal star fail to recover in time for the clash with Paulo Bento's men, Viktoria Plzen's Daniel Kolar will continue to deputise. Up front, Milan Baros is set to spearhead the Czech Republic attack.
Czech Republic eliminated Portugal at the same stage of the tournament in 1996 after a narrow 1-0 victory. Ironically, the Czechs qualified from Group A with a negative goal difference. This also happened at Euro 1996, when they reached the semifinals.
Portugal has a full-strength squad at their disposal for the game against the Narodak. Helder Postiga will be supported up front by Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo, with Raul Meireles, Miguel Veloso and Joao Moutinho forming a triple team in midfield.
When Ronaldo scored a double against Netherlands it took him to 34 goals for Portugal, surpassing Luis Figo's haul for the national team.
But bad news for Portugal is that should Helder Postiga, Ronaldo, Fabio Coentrao, Raul Meireles and Joao Pereira receive a booking during this encounter they will miss the semifinals.
The last time these two sides met in the European Championships was four years ago and the Portuguese prevailed 3-1.