|Cristiano Ronaldo turned in a brilliant performance last night by scoring one goal and setting up two others as Portugal cruised into the quarterfinals of Euro 2008 as champions of Group A following a 3 to 1 victory over the Czech Republic.|
The Manchester United midfielder scored eight goals during Portugal’s qualifying campaign but was widely criticised following his team’s first match in the finals against Turkey on Saturday even though it finished in a two goal victory. Uncertainty over Ronaldo and the rest of the team saw bookmakers such as Intertops.com offer Portugal at odds of 6-1 to win Euro 2008. However, following last night’s victory in Geneva, the team has joined The Netherlands as joint third favourites at odds of 9-4 to reach the final match and 4-1 to win it.
According to OddsChecker.com, Ronaldo is now joint favourite with Germany’s Michael Ballack to be the tournament’s top goal scorer at odds of 7-1. The two could well face off when Portugal next take to the pitch a week from today for their quarterfinal contest depending on Germany’s match against Croatia tonight in Klagenfurt.
Portugal will play the second placed team from Group B with the German’s 4-5 favourites to win with PaddyPower.com while Croatia can only muster odds of 4-1 with BetFred.com. A German win would see them take a commanding lead in Group B and, thus, avoid Portugal and other stronger teams until later in the competition.
Last night’s other Group A match saw co-hosts Switzerland elliminated from the competition following a 2 to 1 defeat at the hands of Turkey in a rainy Basel. Having led at half time thanks to a Hakan Yakin goal, the Swiss were undone first by Semih Senturk in the 57th minute and then by Ardan Turan's deflected goal deep into injury time. Turkey must now beat the Czech Republic on Sunday to go through to the next round with Bet365.com offering odds of 11-10 that they will do so while the Czechs are 4-6.