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18 June 2012
• Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist, Kharkiv
Referee: N. Rizzoli
• Attendance: 37445
Cristiano Ronaldo 28', 74'
R. van der Vaart 11'
90' + 4'
And that's the match! The Netherands have crashed out of the Euros in historic and spectacular fashion, whereas Portugal advance from the Group of Death in second place behind Germany. There's certainly gong to be much press and reaction about both sides all over the world; keep your eyes on Goal.com for full coverage! I'm Julian De Martinis and it was a pleasure to bring you this match's commentary. For everyone here at Goal.com, I'd like to thank you for joining me for what was a fantastic match!
90' + 2'
Yellow Card João Pereira
90' + 2'
Four minutes of extra time have been added on, with two of those already gone. The Portugal fans are ecstatic as they celebrate their side's victory in full song and dance!
With just injury time to go, the Netherlands are on pace to make history: for the first time ever, the country is on the verge of losing all three games in a major tournament. Ronaldo nearly confirms it as he leads a counter and bounces his shot off the post!
Van Persie misses a glorious chance! Unbelievable! The Dutch put together a gorgeous move that ends with the ball slipped to the striker, in between the Portugese centre-backs in the box, but his shot goes wide of the right post!!
Audacious volley from Huntelaar who tries to redirect a wayward ball, but it goes well wide of the post. Nani off for Rolando to much applause around the stadium.
Nani cuts in from his flank and tries an effort on target, but it's well wide of Stekelenburg's post. Very little from the Oranje now, who are all but definitely out of the tournament.
Pepe nods Van Persie's cross into the box out for a corner, which is played short and easily intercepted by Portugal. Nani leads a counter and tries to chip the ball to Ronaldo but his pass ends up on the roof of the net.
The Netherlands have resorted to long balls up to Van Persie now, few of which are reaching their intended target. Van der Vaart decides to go on his own again and whips a shot in that bounces off the far post!!! Nearly identical to his goal from before- just slightly less fortunate!
Van Persie gets his head on a cross in the box but with little power or direction. Patricio easily collects.
Portugal get two free headers on the ball from a corner but the second is directly at Stekelenburg, who catches the ball in his midriff. The Netherlands look totally deflated.
Oliveira with some awful decision making, electing to take a shot from way out instead of passing to the wide open Ronaldo. His effort, on the turn, is weak and fizzles out of bounds for a goal-kick.
Martin Langer, currently in the stadium, details the sheer joy of the Portugese fans watching their side: "Sheer joy in the Portuguese stands after Cristiano's second goal. The celebrations lasted for a couple of minutes and gave way to a collective display of jumping to the tune of "those who don't jump are not Portuguese", they feel the ticket is within reach and cannot by more ecstatic."
Nani plays a fantastic ball into the box from the wing and Stekelenburg just gets to it ahead of Ronaldo, who's anxiously chasing a hat-trick!
Stefan Gillet wonders if there's any hope for the Dutch now: "Great goal by Ronaldo! That's why he's the player he is: didn't rush, kept his head and executed. That should be game over. Deserved on what we've seen so far. Can the Dutch raise themselves from their stupor? I doubt it - Portugal are more likely to bag another on the counter."
Goal Cristiano Ronaldo
RONALDO GOOOOALLLL! IT'S ALL BUT OVER FOR THE NETHERLANDS! On a superb counter- three on two defenders for Portugal- Ronaldo gets the ball with acres of space in the box. He stops, leaves Van der Weil for dead, picks out the corner, and slots it home! 2-1 now and Portugal are in a commanding lead!
Nani with a superb pass to send Ronaldo down the left flank. Nani makes a run into the box and Ronaldo squares the ball to him but somehow, the Manchester United winger fails to score from near point blank range! Stekelenburg pulled out a fantastic save to keep it out but Nani really should've scored from there!
Custodio coming on now for Meireles as Bento makes another substitution.
A major weakness of this Netherlands' side during the match has been woeful playmaking and distributing from the back. Numerous balls are just whipped forward and go right into the feet of Portugese defenders without players looking for their teammates.
Yellow Card Robin van Persie
Van Persie booked; a flailing hand as he went up for the ball smacked Pepe in the face, who's rolling on the ground in some agony.
Martin Langer with more on the Ronaldo counter-attack: "Funny and bizarre situation in the stands. As Meireles fell down after a challenge by De Jong, the Portuguese fans where whistling for the Dutch players to send the ball out, they didn't but neither did Ronaldo when he got it back and started a counterattack that ended up with a great save by Stekelenburg after a shot by Coentrao. It seems fair play should be applied at convenience."
Van Marwijk going for broke now, taking off Willems for Affelay in an incredibly attacking shuffle. He knows his side need two goals in order to advance and is willing to gamble to get them.
Portugal have a man down (Meireles) but Ronaldo continues play, leading a counter. He feeds Coentrao on the edge of the box, who unleashes a superb shot that forces Stekelenburg into a diving parry!
Van Persie unleashes a belter from outside the box but his shot is blocked by Alves. The Netherlands are slowly working their way back into the match.
First change of the match and it's from Bento as Postiga comes off for Oliviera; an attacking move, looking to get fresh legs to run at a tiring Dutch defence.
The half is getting increasingly tense, and Martin Langer sees that it's affecting the fans: "Portuguese fans are groing anxious by the minute, their "Purtugal, Purtugal" cheers are not as strong as before and they ask over and over what the score of the other match is. They seem to be happy by the way the team is playing but know that one mistake and their dream will be over."
As Stefan Coerts notes, Van Persie's move to the right has yet to pay dividends. The Arsenal man, who had a sensational year in the Premier League, has barely been involved all night- and the switch hasn't changed that at all.
Stephen Gillett analyzes the half so far: "Portugal started the second half brightly, but that header from Vlaar from Sneijder's cross underlines that they can easily ship a goal. Their marking on that was shoddy - about ten red shirts against only five Dutch ones, and still they don't defend it. On a separate note, Joao Pereira is an annoying little rascal at times and I can see him getting under Dutch skins already..."
A Dutch corner now, played into the area by Sneijder but easily cleared by the Portugese defence.
Despite needing two more goals to have a chance of advancing, the Netherlands aren't quite pressing like one might expect. Portugal have a corner now, which Meireles plays to the far post. It's initially cleared but played in and POSTIGA SCORES.... no it's offside! The Netherlands just scrape by with that as Postiga was offside as he turned in Ronaldo's shot.
From a very wide angle in the box, Ronaldo tries a cheeky chip over Stekelenburg but hasn't fooled the goalie at all there. A very poor decision from the captain, who had teammates around him.
The Dutch are awarded a free-kick, and before taking it, Sneijder pushes Pereira over. Rizzoli doesn't like that and has a word with the Inter man, who apologizes before playing the ball into the far post. De Jong gets a head to it but fails to turn it on target.
Moutinho fires wide from outside the box, without really troubling Stekelenburg at all. Goal.com's Greg Stobart, meanwhile, notes that the stadium has gotten awfully quiet: "It’s eerily quiet inside the Metalist Stadium as Netherlands and Portugal spar in the early stages of the second-half. The calm before the storm, perhaps? Or are the Dutch ready to give hope on their quarter-final hopes?"
Robben runs into Pereira after losing possession, and Rizzoli awards a free-kick to Portugal. Very nervy play, this, with both sides now looking more afraid of conceding than wanting to score.
This half has been quite tame so far compared to the breathless pacing of the first. The half-time break seems to have taken a bit of momentum away from Portugal. Vlaar rises high on a corner and the ball bounces off his shoulder and over the bar! Another missed chance for the Dutch!
Yellow Card Jetro Willems
Mathijsen flicks on Sneijder's pass in the box, but Patricio easily collects. Willems is booked moments later for an awful, awful challenge on Moutinho, catching the midfielder's leg with his studs. Should the Netherlands advance out of the group, that booking means Willems is suspended for the next match.
Stefan Coerts on the subtle changes that Van Marwijk has made during half-time: "No substitutions on Holland's side, but Van Marwijk has made a few tactical changes. Robben seems to start the second half from the left, with Sneijder back in his normal position as attacking midfielder, and Van Persie in a free role from the right. Seems like the right move after a very anonymous first half from both Van Persie and Sneijder."
The initial ball into the box is cleared, but Portugal regain possession down the flanks. The ball is crossed in and falls for Moutinho, who miscues his shot and sends it well over the crossbar.
Vlaar catches Ronaldo's feet instead of the ball, conceding a free-kick about 10 yards outside the box, to the left. Moutinho stands over it, looking to play it into the box.
Portugal finally get the ball for the first time this half after intercepting Sneijder's ball for Robben. Nani chips it over the defence, who finds Ronaldo perfectly in the box, but his shot is blocked and cleared!
The second half is now underway! No substitutes for either side as the Netherlands begin with the ball. The Dutch maintain possession but fail to make any inroads to the box in this first minute of the half.
Martin Langer gives us the inside scoop on how Portugese journalists at the stadium are reacting to this score: "As the referee Niccola Rizzoli whistled for half time, the first thing many of the Portuguese fans in the stadium did was to approach the journalist booths to find out the result between Germany and Denmark. It took them a little bit to understand that they would qualify with these results but none of them seemed relieved, they certainly expected to hear that the Germans were easily winning."
Our stats- which you can see to the right of these live updates- show that the Netherlands have dominated possession but haven't turned that into useful chances. After checking those out, be sure to chat with us via the chat-box on the right and make your predictions for the second half!
Stephen Gillet with analysis on a brilliant half of football: "Half-time: Credit to Portugal for responding so positively to falling behind. They've looked dangerous in the final third and look to have more goals in them. Fair play to Ronaldo, Nani and Postiga - the three of them have caused all manner of problems. My only concern is that I've seen Paulo Bento's side dominate games in the past, only to get caught by a sucker punch or two. If they maintain their concentration, however, I can see the Seleccao winning - the Dutch look ropey at the back with Van Persie and Huntelaar surprisingly powderpuff in attack. The Oranje look like they've run out of juice!"
As of right now, should the scores from this game and the other hold, Germany and Portugal will be advancing from this group, with Denmark and the Netherlands going home.
Stephen Gillet notes that for all the good Portugal have done this half, they've still left the Netherlands with a chance to win: " Ronaldo and Nani are tearing the Dutch apart at times here. The only concern for Portugal has got be that they've dominated the latter part of the half without taking the lead. "
The Netherlands are finally keeping enough of the ball to keep Portugal from attacking, but fail to score. No extra-time added on as Rizzoli blows for half time!
Pepe has no trouble clearing a pass meant for Van Persie. At this rate, the Netherlands will be happy to go into the half with a tie and will hope to gain momentum during the second 45 minutes.
Huntelaar takes down Stekelenburg's goal kick with his arms, and is duly whistled for it. Portugal's form since conceding that early goal cannot be understated- they're playing the Dutch right off the park.
It's a poor delivery from the captain, who sends the ball right into Patricio's arms. Portugal counter and Ronaldo spins to leave Van der Wiel for dead before firing well wide of the post.
The Netherlands have sustained possession for the first time in quite some time, and win a throw-in deep in Portugal's half. Van der Vaart to play this into the box.
Martin Langer on how the fans in the stadium have suddenly changed their behavior: "Eerie silence in the Dutch stands, they might be a majority but the stadium belongs to the Portuguese, who jump sing and celebrate their team's good performance on the pitch so far, as the Oranje fans still cannot believe they are about to book a ticket back to Holland."
With that goal, by the way, Ronaldo has become the first Portugese to score at five major tournaments. Veloso delivers a solid free-kick that whizzes over the bar.
Goal.com's Stephen Gillett thinks the game is now Portugal's to lose: "Ronaldo's finding the kind of space he could only dream about in the first two games - and if he gets time, he'll cause mayhem, as we've seen in the first half hour here. Portugal have got them on the rack...can they make it pay. A goal before half-time could suck the life out of the Dutch..."
From the corner, Ronaldo unleashes an absolute bullet of a header that goes just wide of the near post! Once again the Dutch defence is absolutely nowhere to be seen!!
Corner for Portugal as Ronaldo's cross to Nani gets deflected out. The Portugese captain looks like a man with a point to prove as he's really turning on the flair now, with step overs and powerful shots.
From quite a long ways out, Ronaldo unleashes a belter that Stekelenburg only manages to dive and punch away! Portugal's attack looks close to scoring with nearly every foray now, and the Dutch momentum is nearly entirely gone now. It's all Portugal!
Willems again passes it right to Portugal as he attempts to clear the ball. It's been a bit of a nightmare game for him thus far, though his defensive teammates haven't been much better.
Martin Langer reports on how much that goal meant to Portugese fans in the stadium: "Huge celebrations in the Portugal stand. The fans were suffering the game like nobody else, refusing to sit down and cursing and swearing everytime their team lost the ball or missed a chance. Their explosion of joy was a thing to behold!"
As of right now, Portugal and Germany would advance due to the former's head to head record against Denmark. Nani fires a shot that goes just wide of the far post- Portugal looking for a second here at a ferocious pace, and the Dutch defence is looking weaker with every attack!
Assist João Pereira
Goal Cristiano Ronaldo
GOAL RONALDO!!!! Portugal level the match after another defensive mistake from Willems, who gives the ball away from a clearance. Ronaldo is found b Pereira with an inch perfect through ball right in between the Netherlands' centre-backs, and he slots it perfectly in behind Stekelenburg! 1-1 and the Netherlands are in serious trouble now!
Sneijder has a shot on goal that Patricio gets down well to cover on his right. Encouraging from the Netherlands, who are trying to gain some momentum back after falling off the map a bit!
Stephen Gillett on how neither side is impressing on defence in this first half: "Seleccao lucky not to be two down from that corner...and then Ronaldo unlucky not to turn home that Nani cross. The Portuguese don't look safe at the back, but - for me - the Dutch look even shakier. Defending high and wide open for balls slipped through the channels...great game, though!"
An update from the other match: Denmark have just scored to level the match, meaning that if all scores stand, Germany and Denmark would advance with the most points. At this rate, though, who would bet on no more goals being scored?
Stefan Coerts on how the tide has shifted in this match since Van der Vaart's goal: "Netherlands losing grip on the game a bit now as Portugal create three big chances within the space of five minutes. Fortunately for Oranje, Cristiano Ronaldo, Postiga and Meireles all fail to find the net. Giving away that much space is inevitable in Holland's attacking line-up, but what other options do they have? They have no other choice but to attack."
Ronaldo's turn now with a header, as he gets on the end of a superb cross but fires his shot right at Stekelenburg from yards out! Chance after chance for both sides in this first half!!!!
No one is marking De Jong at the far post on the corner, who gets his head onto it and heads it over from nearly point-blank range!
Both sides' defences are being torn up as the forwards are nealry waltzing into the boxes. Coentrao somehow slides to get on the end of Sneijder's free-kick, and the Netherlands have a corner!
Greg Stobary sums up this breathless pace by analyzing how the two sides are electing to play: "There is a real sense of belief both on the pitch and in the stands for the Dutch. It feels like a home game for Bert Van Marwijk’s side and they have been full of attacking intent so far. It’s a fantastic game to watch though, because Netherlands are so open and leaving space for Portugal to counter-attack."
It's absolutely wide open now! Immediately after the Netherlands' miss a chance when Robben hits Huntelaar with his shot in the box, Ronaldo rolls a ball across the Netherlands box that no one gets on the end of!
Portugal take the corner well and eventually find Meireles in the box. From a wide angle he lashes ferociously at the ball that hits the side netting!
What a chance for Portugal! Van der Wiel with a howler as he passes the ball directly to Postiga at the back, who's clear through on goal. He runs towards net and shoots; Stekelenburg just gets enough of his hand on it to go out for a corner! Unbelievable scenes at the back!
Ronaldo goes on a dribble down the left flank, cuts inside Vlaar in the box, and puts a very good low shot on goal but it goes just wide! The Portugal captain is shaking his head in disbelief!!
Stephen Gillett with some analysis on how the game's been so far: "Well, I thought Portugal needed to assert themselves on this game early - and it's the Dutch who've drawn first blood. Nothing Patricio could've done. Portugal need to keep their heads, conceding a second now would be disastrous."
Encouraging signs of life from Portugal, who despite being a goal down, are racing forward at every opportunity to try and equalize. So far they have yet to really test the Netherlands' defence but there's a lot left in this to go!
As it stands, Denmark and Germany would go through despite the Netherlands' lead, as the side need at least one more goal in order to beat Denmark on the tiebreaker criteria.
Assist Arjen Robben
Goal Rafael van der Vaart
GOLAZO FROM VAN DER VAART!!!!!!! The captain justifies his inclusion tonight with an absolutely superb finessed shot from just outside the box which left Patricio with no chance as it curled into the far corner! 1-0 to the Netherlands and the side are not out of this just yet!
Van der Vaart plays a long through-ball to Sniejder, who just fails to reach it but is whistled for offside anyway. Martin Langer, meanwhile, has been keeping a close eye on Ronaldo: "Ronaldo seems really anxious and the match has just started. The Real Madrid star harshly complained about a foul that wasn't whistled, turning his back to the ball and missing a chance to control it as it passed right next to him. He seems to know that not only his team's luck is at stake but also his reputation as a National team player, but he's not canalizing it well so far."
Nani attempts a very ambitious pass to himself on the wing but it fails as Sneijder gets in his way. Portugal are going to need more creativity than that to advance forward!
Vlaar clears the corner initially, but it's played back into the box, forcing Stekelenburg to rush forward to collect. Postiga is whistled for fouling the Roma goalkeeper as he collected the ball, and Rizzoli awardsa goal-kick.
Van der Wiel takes down Postiga from behind, giving Portugal a free-kick about 15 yards outside the box. None other than Ronaldo standing over this, and it's deflected over by Vlaar in the wall for a corner.
Martin Langer has some commentary about the fans in the stadium tonight: "It's safe to say that 50% of the stadium is dressed in Orange, either because they are Dutch or because they are locals who have been endeared to the Dutch fans that have flooded Kharkiv and mingled very well with the population. Curiously, the Dutch team are dressed in black tonight!"
A very bright attack from the Netherlands, sparked after a fantastic backheel from Robben to open up the wings. Sneijder ends the attack as he slices his shot well wide of the near post, but that was promising for Van Marwijk's side.
Van der Vaart urging his teammates to press forward, before Willems plays a solid cross into Huntelaar's path in the box. Patricio collects it as it bounces harmlessly over the striker.
Very cautious from the Netherlands here, who are keeping the ball with their defence and De Jong at the moment. They're waiting for space to open up instead of trying a risky pass. Slowly they make their way forward.
And we have kick-off!! The match is officially underway, with Portugal beginning with possession. They promptly lose the ball in their half for a Dutch throw-in and Van der Vaart commits a foul to give the ball back to Portugal. As usual, a nervy start as the sides settle in.
We're near moments away from kick-off now! The excitement is evident and both teams know that a win is almost a necessity to advance to the next round!
National anthems are going on right now as both teams are on the pitch. The stadium may not be quite full but the fans are in full swing so far!
Goal.com's Martin Langer, at the stadium tonight, notes that full stadiums have not quite been a staple of the matches at this edition of the Euros: "As it has happened many times during this tournament, the stadium is taking its time to be full. Only seven minutes to kick off and you can see huge gaps in some parts of the stands. I would say that it's 80% full at the moment, which is surprising for such a crunch match."
The referee for tonight's match will be the Italian Nicola Rizzoli and it will be taking place at the Metalist Stadium, in the aforementioned Kharkiv.
Less than 15 minutes until kick-off now! Group B will be decided in roughly two hours and either of these teams- or both, or neither!- could be in the next round.
Our very own Stephen Gillet reports that there are foul Portugese players starting tonight that are at risk of suspension should they receive a booking: Fabio Coentrao, Cristiano Ronaldo, Hélder Postiga, Raul Meireles.
Portugal have not lost in their last six matches against the Netherlands in all competitions- Bert van Marwijk will have to finally buck that trend in order for his side to have any hope of making the next round!
Goal.com correspondent Greg Stobart has front row seats to tonight's action in Kharkiv: " I'm yards away from the Netherlands substitutes as they warm up. Benched captain Mark Van Bommel has the players prepare to roars from the Dutch supporters, particularly the 3,000 or so housed behind the goal to my left."
Stephen Gillett, our Portugal expert here at Goal, says there are no real surprises in Paulo Bento's side: "Portugal team, as expected. Bento will be hoping his consistency in selection will bear fruit (aka goals) tonight. Expect Varela to make an appearance off the bench at some stage given his impact in the first two group games."
Formationally, the teams looks identical to their usual shapes. Portugal will be playing in a 4-3-3 with Nani and Ronaldo flanking Postiga; the Netherlands are in their 4-2-3-1 which looks quite attacking with Van der Vaart in Van Bommel's slot in the "2" and Van Persie playing behind Huntelaar.
Much more interestingly, Bert van Marwijk has made a number of changes for this must-win Netherlands clash. Ibrahim Afellas has been dropped, along with captain Mark van Bommel and John Heitinga. In their places come Rafael van der Vaart, Ron Vlaar, and Klass-Jan Huntelaar! Netherlands: Stekelenburg; Van der Wiel, Vlaar, Mathijsen, Willems; De Jong, Van der Vaart; Van Persie, Sneijder, Robben; Huntelaar.
Team line-ups have been announced. Portugal have not changed a single man in their starting XI from the win over Denmark, which was also the same XI that began the tournament. Even Silvestre Varela who scored the late winner last match-day has failed to break into the starting selection. Portugal: Rui Patrício, Alves, Pepe, Coentrão, Pereira, Veloso, Moutinho, Meireles, Nani, Ronaldo, Postiga
For the Netherlands to advance, they must beat Portugal by two goals or more and hope that Denmark don't beat Germany. Portugal can go through with a win if Denmark loses, or even if Denmark wins, depending on goal differential and head-to-head scenarios. In short, there's all to play for tonight in Group B!
Amazingly, despite Germany having six points and Netherlands zero, any of these teams can still go through or be eliminated. The scenarios get quite complicated for Portugal to advance, given that they are tied with Denmark and a win levels them with Germany, but it becomes rather easier to see how the Netherlands could go through (more on that in a second).
Portugal began their Euros with a 1-0 loss to Germany, following a second half goal from Mario Gomez. Last matchday they participated in one of the games of the tournament to pull of a very late 3-2 win against Denmark.
Let's recap how these two teams ended up in their positions. The Netherlands were left to pay for missing chances in their Matchday 1 opener against Denmark, falling to a shock 1-0 defeat. Sch profligacy would haunt them again in the second Matchday against Germany, where a late Robin van Persie strike wasn't enough to inspire a comeback following Mario Gomez's brace in the first half.
Dubbed "The Group of Death" prior to the tournament, Group B has certainly lived up to it's hype. The Netherlands are currently languishing on the bottom of the table with no points from two matches; Portugal are tied for second with a win and a loss. Only Germany have a perfect record thus far!
Welcome to Goal.com's LIVE match coverage of an absolute massive Group B encounter between Portugal and the Netherlands! I'm Julian De Martinis and I'll be taking you through this fascinating encounter where both teams are fighting to make it to the knockout rounds.
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