Soccer / Euro 2012 / Ronaldo sends Dutch to new low
Brace sends Portugal into quarterfinal round alongside perfect Germany.
KHARKIV - Cristiano Ronaldo shone for the first time at Euro 2012, scoring twice in Portugal's 2-1 win over the Netherlands in their Group B game on Sunday to secure a quarterfinal place and send the winless Dutch home.
In an open and entertaining game, Ronaldo canceled out Rafael van der Vaart's 11th-minute opener and hit the winner with 16 minutes left as Portugal went through as runners-up behind Germany and now faces the Czech Republic on Thursday.
Dutch midfielder Van der Vaart beat keeper Rui Patricio with an exquisite curling shot from outside the box but Ronaldo, the world's most expensive player, latched on to Joao Pereira's slide-rule pass to level for the Portuguese in the 28th.
As the Dutch, World Cup finalists two years ago, left huge gaps at the back after the break, Ronaldo was fed by Nani and had time to pick his spot and fire past Maarten Stekelenburg.
Germany uber Denmark
In Lviv, German defender Lars Bender scored a late goal to give Germany a workmanlike 2-1 win over Denmark to secure the top of Group B.
Germany, which looked comfortable throughout and finished with the maximum nine points, will play Greece, runners-up in Group A, in the quarterfinals.
Bender benefited from poor Danish defending to run on to a pass from Mesut Ozil and calmly slot home from close range in the 80th minute. Lukas Podolski scored his 44th international goal in his 100th match in the 19th minute, smacking the ball into the net after it ricocheted off the boot of teammate Mario Gomez, falling perfectly into his path some 10 meters out.
Michael Krohn-Dehli leveled for Denmark in the 24th minute with his second goal of the tournament, nodding in unmarked after German defender Mats Hummels failed to cut out a header into the danger zone from Nicklas Bendtner.
The Danes, who needed to win to go through, could have taken the lead in the 51st minute but Jakob Poulsen shaved the post from 10 meters after great set-up play from Bendtner, who was one of Denmark's best players in the tournament. Denmark did little else to threaten the German goal and could easily have lost had Podolski, Thomas Mueller and in particular Sami Khedira converted presentable first-half chances.
Man-of-the-match Podolski, 27, became the youngest European player to win 100 caps for his country.
Germany had the better of the first half and could have scored in the sixth minute when Mueller scuffed a shot from close range that keeper Stephan Andersen had to scramble to save.