Euro 2012 day 10 analysis: Cristiano Ronaldo comes to life

 

Cristiano Ronaldo proved against the Netherlands why many regard him as the best current European footballer.

The Real Madrid forward's two goals gave Portugal a 2-1 victory over the Dutch to set-up a quarter-final clash against Czech Republic.

But Ronaldo's contribution to Portugal was much more than his two strikes. The 27-year-old hit the woodwork twice, had the most shots on goal of all the players in the match and drove his team forward with blistering pace.

As the statistics show below, Ronaldo has grown in confidence during the tournament and now appears to be showing the sort of potency he showed for the Spanish champions this season, when he scored 60 goals.

Statistics show Ronaldo hit the heights:

Player statistics
  • Ronaldo had 12 shots on goal - the most by a single player in a single game since Euro 1980
  • Seven of Ronaldo's shots came from outside the area - he scored with two from inside the area
  • Ronaldo's first goal at Euro 2012 came with his 14th shot (including blocked shots)
  • Ronaldo's 33rd goal moved him into third place on the all-time Portuguese goalscorers list, ahead of Luis Figo, but behind Pauleta (47) and Eusebio (41).
  • Ronaldo is the first Portugal player to score at five major tournaments (Euro 2004, 2008 & 2012 and World Cups 2006 & 2010)
  • Ronaldo is the seventh player to score in three Euros, joining Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thierry Henry, Vladimir Smicer, Helder Postiga, Jurgen Klinsmann and Nuno Gomes.
  • Ronaldo's time in possession of the ball has increased over the three group games (v Germany 49 seconds; v Denmark 1:01 & v Netherlands 1:29)
  • Ronaldo had the joint-best percentage of successful passes in the Portugal side (79%), along with Joao Moutinho and Nani

BBC Radio 5 live summariser Graham Taylor:

BBC pundit Graham Taylor

"I was pleased I was at this game, why? Because I have seen Ronaldo play. Whenever he had the ball he threatened the Dutch goal.

"When Ronaldo got the ball and laid it off to someone else I was a bit disappointed. There are parts of Ronaldo we don't like - going to ground and things like that - but he is such a good player.

"I have read comments where he himself has said that he should be doing better and I like players who can say that about themselves. It should be left to the players themselves to say 'yes, this is what I can do.'

"We were so fortunate to see this young boy come to Manchester United at Old Trafford and develop over the years into the player he is today."

Match of the Day pundit Lee Dixon:

Lee Dixon

"Ronaldo was absolutely unbelievable, having not had a great first two games.

"When he moves forward from his wide position, he won't look up before cutting inside.

"He's also superb in air and dominates possession. He's got a good shot too in his locker. Players are afraid of his pace and skill.

"He showed signs of getting back against the Dutch, although they did give him a lot of space."

What they said about Ronaldo:

"Ronaldo got so much criticism in the last game and he is back now. That is how fast things can change." - Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk

"The individual effort of players is not important. The issue of the effort players show for their clubs and country we have already talked about so much. We have discussed that enough." - Portugal coach Paulo Bento

"Now, everything is possible," Portugal goalscorer and man-of-the-match Cristiano Ronaldo