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Euro 2012: Ronaldo puts Portugal into semis

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Cristiano Ronaldo was the hero as Portugal beat an ultra-defensive Czech Republic 1-0 at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland on Thursday in their quarter-final to qualify for the Euro 2012 semi-finals. 

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Portuguese football fans react as they watch the UEFA EURO 2012 football quarter-final match between Portugal and Czech Republic at Campo Pequeno Square in Lisbon. AFP

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Euro 2012: Ronaldo uses his head to help Portugal enter semis

Cristiano Ronaldo was the hero as Portugal beat an ultra-defensive Czech Republic 1-0 at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland on Thursday in their quarter-final to qualify for the Euro 2012 semi-finals.

Portugal fans and neutrals alike hoping for a special edition of the Cristiano Ronaldo roadshow had their appetite satisfied as he single-handedly steered his country into the Euro 2012 semi-finals by beating the Czech Republic 1-0.

Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo's header finds the back of the net at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland. AFP

Ronaldo showed the same kind of sparkle that saw the Portugal captain dominate play and claim a brace in his team's 2-1 defeat of the Netherlands last Sunday – goals he had dedicated to his son, who turned two the same day.

So often maligned for failing to recapture his Real Madrid form when wearing the Portugal shirt, Ronaldo's 79th-minute header took his Euro 2012 tally to three, making him joint top scorer with Germany's Mario Gomez – plus Russia's Alan Dzagoev and Croatia's Mario Mandzukic, whose teams failed to advance from the group stage.

Portuguese defender Pepe (L) vies with Czech forward Milan Baros. AFP

A divisive figure, Ronaldo won the loudest cheer from his fans in Warsaw's National Stadium when the announcer reeled off each squad, but earned catcalls from Czech supporters when he stepped up to take free kicks.

The high-profile player is often a target for his opponents' supporters.

Denmark's fans even tried to get under his skin by chanting the name of his nemesis in the Spanish league, Lionel Messi, during their country's 3-2 loss to Portugal last week.

That, coupled with repeated media criticism, has led Portugal to rally round their captain and, earlier in the tournament, to shun the press in protest – though the man himself did speak to Portuguese television.

The 27-year-old striker struggled early in the half against the Czechs in part because of the lacklustre performance of his team-mates.

The frustration showed as he and Czech defender Petr Jiracek avoided a booking from referee Howard Webb after they angrily pawed at each other in front the Czechs' goal.

He was finally to find his stride 25 minutes in, when midfielder Joao Moutinho fed him the ball, only for Czech keeper and captain Petr Cech to block his strike.

Cristiano Ronaldo prepares for a free kick. AFP

Eight minutes later his attempted bicycle kick went wide, followed almost immediately by an off-target free kick.

Seconds into stoppage time, he notched up a sublime effort while beating a cluster of defenders, chesting the ball and tapping it into the line of fire – only to blast against the post.

After the return from the dressing room, Ronaldo showed his hunger was rising, shooting a free kick wide, and setting up a string of further attacks.

Dominating play, Portugal continued to pound the Czech defence, and Moutinho's cross found an advancing Ronaldo, who leapt to take the header, beating a floundering Cech to take Portugal through. AFP

react – to behave in a particular way because of something that is happening around you or something that someone is doing to you ตอบสนอง, เกิดปฏิกิริยา
quarter-finals – competitions between the last eight competitors remaining in a tournament การแข่งขันก่อนรอบบรองชนะเลิศ
ultra- – extremely ที่สุด
defensive – focusing on defending rather than attacking เน้นการป้องกัน
qualify – to defeat another person or team in order to enter or continue in a competition  เข้ารอบ
semi-final (or semifinal) – one of the two games that are played immediately before the last game in a sports competition. The two people or teams who win the semifinals play each other in the last game, called the final, to decide who wins the competition  การแข่งขันกีฬารอบรองชนะเลิศ
neutral – not supporting either side in a disagreement, competition or war  เป็นกลาง, ไม่ฝักใฝ่ฝ่ายใดฝ่ายหนึ่ง
edition – a single show in a series
appetite – a strong desire for something ความอยาก, ความปรารถนา
single-handedly – by yourself with nobody helping you โดยตัวคนเดียว
steer – to control the direction in which something or someone moves นำทาง
sparkle – to be full of life, enthusiasm; to be very lively and interesting
dominate – to be in control ครอบคลุม ควบคุม
brace – two goals in a single game
defeat – to win a victory over someone in a fight, war or competition ชนะ, ปราบ
dedicate – to say that you are doing something for somebody, as a way of thanking them or showing respect  อุทิศให้กับ
malign – to say bad things about somebody/something publicly  ใส่ร้าย, พูดให้ร้าย, กล่าวหา
recapture – to bring back a feeling or repeat an experience that you had in the past พบอีก, ปะสบอีก, นึกถึงอีก
form – how well somebody/something is performing; the fact that somebody/something is performing well  ระดับความสามารถ, ฝีมือ, ความเก่ง
tally – a record or count of a number of items การบันทึกจำนวน
joint – done together; belonging to or shared between two or more people ที่ร่วมกัน, ความร่วมมือกัน
advance – to move forward, in this case, to the next round of the tournament เข้ารอบ
group-stage – the opening part of a tournament where the teams are put into groups and compete against other group members. The top teams (usually two) then go on to the next stage
divisive – likely to cause arguments between people อันจะก่อให้เกิดความแตกแยก
figure – someone who is important in some way บุคคลสำคัญ
reel off – to say or repeat something quickly
squad – a team in sports from which the players for a match are chosen ทีม
catcall – a noise or shout expressing anger at or disapproval of somebody who is speaking or performing in public เสียงรบกวน
high-profile – receiving a lot of attention from the public ที่มีชื่อ ที่ได้รับความสนใจจากสาธารณชน
target – a person, business, building, area, etc., that someone intends to attack เป้าหมาย
opponent – a person or team being competed against in a sports event คู่ต่อสู้
get under the skin – to annoy somebody;  to make someone angry or upset ทำให้รำคาญใจ
chant – to keep shouting or singing a word or phrase many times โห่ร้อง, โห่ร้องต้อนรับ
nemesis – someone or something that continues to oppose you and cannot easily be defeated  คนหรือสิ่งที่ไม่สามารถทำให้แพ้
coupled with – together with ผนวกับ
media – newspapers, television, radio, etc. สื่อ
criticism – comments that show that you think something is wrong or bad การวิจารณ์
rally around – to support someone, especially in difficult times  ให้การสนับสนุน
shun – to deliberately avoid a person, place or activity หลบเลี่ยง
press – newspapers and magazines, and those parts of television and radio which broadcast news, or reporters and photographers who work for them สื่อมวลชน
protest – a strong complaint or disagreement การประท้วง
struggle – to try hard to do something that you find very difficult พยายาม lacklustre – not lively, exciting, or impressive ที่น่าเบื่อ, ไม่แวววาว
team-mate – a member of the same team or group as yourself ผู้ร่วมกลุ่ม
frustration – an annoyed or discouraged feeling because you cannot do or have what you want ความผิดหวัง,  ความไม่พอใจ
avoid – to try to prevent something from happening หลีกเลี่ยง
booking – an occasion when a football player’s name is officially recorded by the referee because he or she has broken a rule
referee – a person who is in charge of a sports game and who makes certain that the rules are followed ผู้ตัดสิน, กรรมการตัดสิน
paw – to touch someone in a rough way ตะกุย, ตะปบ
find your stride – to begin to do something with confidence and at a good speed after a slow, uncertain start เริ่มทำอะไรด้วยความมั่นใหลังจากเริ่มต้นช้าไม่แน่ใจ
block – to stop someone/ something from moving through or along something else  ปิดกั้น, กีดขวาง
bicycle kick – a physical move made by throwing the body up into the air with the back towards the ground and getting one leg in front of the other without holding on to the ground
immediately – happening right after something else with no delay; right away ทันที
stoppage time – extra allowed at the end of a half of football for stoppages during normal time, especially for injuries
notch – to succeed in doing something; to achieve something such as a win or a high score ประสบความสำเร็จ
sublime – of very high quality and causing great admiration ล้ำเลิศ, เป็นเลิศ, ยิ่งยวด
cluster – group of people, animals or things close together  กลุ่ม
chest – the upper front part of the body of humans and some animals, between the stomach and the neck, containing the heart and lungs หน้าอก
chest – (in football) to control the ball with your chest
tap – to hit somebody/something quickly and lightly แตะเบาๆ เคาะ
blast – to kick, throw or hit with great force
post – a piece of wood or metal that is set in the ground in a vertical position, especially to support something, in this case, the goal หลัก
string – a series of similar or connected events that happen one after the other การเรียงต่อเนื่องของเหตุการณ์หรือสิ่งต่างๆ
pound – to attack repeatedly โจมตีต่อเนื่อง
defence – the players who must prevent the other team from scoring; the position of these players on the sports field  ผู้ป้องกัน
cross – (in football) the action of kicking the ball from one side of the field to someone in the middle or on the other side เตะบอลขวางสนาม
advance – to move forward เคลื่อนไปข้างหน้า
leap – to make a large jump or sudden movement, usually from one place to another กระโดด
flounder – to struggle to move or get somewhere; to struggle to know what to do or say ตะเกียกตะกาย

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