Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo has Petr Cech worried
Usually when you get to the quarter-finals and dreams of glory are turning ever more real, the phrase ‘we are up against an entire nation’ usually pops up.
However, Petr Cech has gone to the other extreme and told his team-mates they are up against just one man: Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Czech Republic face Portugal in the first quarter-final tonight, with Cech’s side shock qualifiers for the last-eight stage having been thrashed 4-1 by Russia in their opening game.
However, they came back to beat both Greece and Poland and book a clash against the in-form Portuguese.
If there’s one man responsible for Portugal’s surge through Group B, it’s Ronaldo. The Real Madrid man scored both goals in his side’s impressive 2-1 victory over the Netherlands, a win that sealed their quarters berth. And Cech is all too aware that if he runs riot in Warsaw tonight the Czechs can wave goodbye to their Euro dream.
“I’ve faced him in many matches and I can use my experience from them, but it is crucial for us to work as a team to succeed,” the Chelsea keeper said. “He’s a player who works hard to get better and he’s got a powerful shot.
“He’s dangerous because he is able to shoot with both the right and left foot from any position.
“With Chelsea, we always carefully prepared for the matches against Manchester United. It’s crucial not to give him space because his speed is exceptional.”
Ronaldo was criticised for his opening two displays against Germany and Denmark. But the fantastic forward was back to his best against Netherlands as the Portuguese made a serious statement of intent.
The underdogs however, have been boosted by the news their skipper and talisman Tomas Rosicky could make an appearance at the National Stadium.
Rosicky picked up an Achilles tendon injury during the Czech Republic’s 2-1 win over Greece on June 12 and hasn’t trained since. The injury forced him to miss his side’s 1-0 victory over Poland on Saturday when his place in the midfield went to Daniel Kolar.
But the 31-year-old has taken part in training and will face a late fitness test before the game.