Euro 2012 Live Blog: Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal Make It Tough on Themselves, Advance Past Czech Republic Into Semifinal

Euro 2012 Live Blog: Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal Make It Tough on Themselves, Advance Past Czech Republic Into SemifinalFinal, 1-0 Portugal: It's all over in Warsaw, and Portugal has prevailed over the Czech Republic. We expected Portugal to overrun the Czech Republic, and it did just that. It just forgot to score a bunch of goals to reflect the advantage.

The Czechs made it difficult for Portugal. But Portugal made it difficult for itself. But it doesn't matter in the end. Ronaldo and company have booked a place in the semifinal of Euro 2012.

The Czechs will probably take a train back home. They can do so with their heads held high. Few expected them to make it to the knockout rounds, so it is a moral victory in itself. One can only wonder what effect Tomas Rosicky would have made.

Portugal will face the winner of Spain-France on June 27 in Donetsk, Ukraine.

That's all for now and thanks for joining us. Let's discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion that is on the way on NESN.com.

90th minute, 1-0 Portugal: The Czechs are the ones who have to push forward in search of the tying goal, but you couldn't tell by watching the game.

Portugal has kept its opponent on its back foot. It looks far more likely to score a second before the Czechs score a first.

79th minute, 1-0 Portugal: There goes that man Ronaldo.

He scores with a diving header thanks to a superb delivery from Moutinho.

Selassie had Ronaldo marked, but then found himself awestruck (and stationary) by the quality of the pass from Moutinho.

Ronaldo slipped in front of him, dove and headed it past Cech.

74th minute, 0-0: Portugal is pretty much carving the Czech defense apart at this point.

Nani gets behind the defense, but his chipped effort goes over the bar.

We have to ask the question: At what point does karma come back to bite the wasteful Portuguese in the backside?

They have controlled the last 50 minutes of the contest and created all these scoring chances. Yet they have nothing to show for it. THe soccer gods usually frown upon such shenanigans.

70th minute, 0-0: Kadlec is down on the ground after Cech came off his line to punch a ball away and crunched his teammate.

Insert ice hockey pun here.

65th minute, 0-0: Cech wasn't up to his usual standards in the group stage, but he has been spectacular in the second half.

Moutinho's shot looked like it was going to dip under the bar, but the dependable Cech made a save that was every bit as good as the effort.

58th minute, 0-0: Almeida looks to make amends. It looked like he scored with a diving header, but the referee's assistant ruled him offside.

54th minute, 0-0: The many faces of Ronaldo are showing themselves after each miss.

He came close with a free kick in the 49th minute, and his grimace drew laughter from all sectors of the earth.

His most recent effort went well wide of goal, drawing another … we're not sure what it was.

46th minute, 0-0: Almeida has a chance to put Portugal ahead in the opening moments of the second half, but he puts a header from close range deep into the stands.

Halftime, 0-0: The Czechs have stymied and frustrated Portugal for 45 minutes. They'll go into halftime with the feeling that it's possible to win this one.

Ronaldo has been the danger-man, as expected. His two efforts have been of the highest quality, and he missed another chance with the free kick.

The Czech Republic had a couple of good chances early on, but the class of Portugal was overwhelming toward the end of the half.

45th minute, plus one, 0-0: Portugal is taking control of the game as it nears halftime.

Ronaldo produced another moment of magic in the area, when he controlled a pass with his chest, turned and brought it down with his feet, and beat Cech with a shot.

Unfortunately it hit the post, or it would have been another great goal.

40th minute, 0-0: Postiga is being stretchered off. It looks like he's injured his hamstring. Almeida is coming on in his place.

Portugal was razor-thin when it comes to out-and-out strikers. Now it is running on fumes in that department. Good thing they've got Ronaldo doing the job of two attackers.

33rd minute, 0-0: After a little comedy at the back by the Czech's, Ronaldo comes close with a bicycle kick. It would have surely been the goal of the tournament if it hadn't gone five or six feet wide.

27th minute, 0-0: Nani is the first player booked. He fouled Limbersky on the touchline, and his alleged Manchester United teammate (and referee) Howard Webb displays no club solidarity in Poland of all places.

25th minute, 0-0: Ronaldo gets his first attempt of the game, as he brushes off a defender (fouls him), and rifles a shot at Cech from close range.

19th minute, 0-0: If the Czechs were supposed to be sacrificial lambs in this contest, nobody told them.

They look dangerous and have created a couple of scoring chances against the heavily favored opposition.

14th minute, 0-0: Eusebio and Luis Figo are sitting next to each other at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland. Who gets the larger share of the arm-rest? Both are legends of the world game, and I can't imagine either backing down in that contest.

11th minute, 0-0: The Czechs are making it difficult for Portugal to find space and break them down. Perhaps an upset is in the air.

Eighth minute, 0-0: A teammate misplaces a pass, and Ronaldo pulls his first hissy-fit of the game. What's the over-under on his total for this game?

Second minute, 0-0: We're not sure what's up with that mud patch in the Portugal goal-mouth. That doesn't make for good television.

Pregame: The yellow-card watch is on. If Portugal's Coentrao, Meireles, Pereira or Ronaldo are booked, they will miss out on the semfinal.

For Czech Republic Limbersky, Plasil and Jiracek are in the same predicament.

2 p.m. ET: Here are the lineups:

Portugal

Rui Patricio (12), goalkeeper
Joao Pereira (21), right back
Pepe (3), center back
Bruno Alves (2), center back
Fabio Coentrao (5), left back
Raul Meireles (16), midfielder
Miguel Veloso (4), midfielder
Joao Moutinho (8), midfielder
Nani (17), forward
Cristiano Ronaldo (7), forward
Helder Postiga (23), striker

Substitutes

Beto (22), goalkeeper
Eduardo (1), goalkeeper
Ricardo Costa (13), defender
Rolando (14), defender
Custódio Dias de Castro (6), midfielder
Ricardo Quaresma (10), midfielder
Ruben Micael (15), midfielder
Varela (18), midfielder
Miguel Lopes (19), midfielder
Miguel Hugo Viana (20), midfielder
Hugo Almeida (9), forward
Nelson Miguel Castro Oliveira (11), forward

Czech Republic

Petr Cech (1), goalkeeper
Theodor Gebre Selassie (2), right back
Tomas Sivok (6), center back
Michal Kadlec (3), center back
David Limbersky (8), left back
Tomas Hubschman (17), midfielder
Jaroslav Plasil (13), midfielder
Petr Jiracek (19), midfielder
Vladimir Darida (22), midfielder
Vaclav Pilar (14), forward
Milan Baros (15), striker

Substitutes

Jan Lastuvka (16), goalkeeper
Jaroslav Drobny (23), goalkeeper
Roman Hubnik (5), defender
Marek Suchy (4), midfielder
Jan Rezek (9), midfielder
Tomas Rosicky (10), midfielder
Milan Petrzela (11), midfielder
Frantisek Rajtoral (12), midfielder
Daniel Kolar (18), midfielder
Tomas Necid (7), midfielder
Tomas Pekhart (20), forward
David Lafata (21), forward

12:00 p.m. ET: The knockout phase of the 2012 UEFA European Championships is upon us. Eight national teams survived the group stage, and now are vying for the right to call themselves "Europe's best."

Portugal and the Czech Republic kick off the fun with their quartefinal meeting.

The youthful Czech Republic team escaped a wide-open Group A courtesy of its dramatic victory over Poland. Beating the co-host on the final day of group play made the Czech players "the boys of summer" back home. Few gave them a chance of reaching this point in the competition, but they stand on the brink of a semifinal appearance.

Portugal emerged from Group B, the so-called "Group of Death," by recovering from a loss to Germany in its first game. It beat Denmark and the Netherlands with character and style. Cristiano Ronaldo answered his critics with a pair of goals that buried the Dutch. He became the first Portuguese player to score at five major tournaments.

We'll bring you all the action right here starting at 2 p.m. ET.

Have a question for Marcus Kwesi O'Mard? Send it to him via Twitter at @NESNsoccer, NESN Soccer's Facebook page or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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