The Real Madrid forward scored twice against the Dutch to send his side through to the quarter-finals and bring himself back into contention for the top scorer prize at Euro 2012Portugal's final group match against Netherlands was not only a fascinating and enthralling encounter but saw Cristiano Ronaldo command a game in the manner in which he has done so often for his club side in the past. Sportingbet now quote him as 9/2 (5.50) third favourite to finish with the most goals at this summer's tournament, a price which has been cut from around 25/1 before the match.
The Real Madrid man had endured a relatively slow start to the championship by his exceptionally high standards.
A loss to Germany in Portugal's opening Group B match was followed by a poor performance against Denmark in which he garnered plenty of attention, but for all the wrong reasons, missing several good chances and relying on others around him to score the goals that eventually saw Portugal sneak a narrow win.
|Euro 2012 - Top Goalscorer
|Goals so far indicated in brackets
|Mario Gomez (3)||2/1|
|Fernando Torres (2)||7/2|
|Cristiano Ronaldo (2)||9/2|
|Mario Mandzukic (3)||14/1|
|Cesc Fabregas (2)||14/1|
|Karim Benzema (0)||25/1|
Ronaldo was sublime, he took control of the game and his direct running and lightning pace carved out chance after chance for his side.
Despite a bright start from the Dutch which saw them take an early lead, they were overshadowed by a combination of their own tactical failings and Portugal's desire to win, spearheaded by Ronaldo as he scored the equaliser midway through the first half.
As the game wore on Ronaldo's impact became more and more pronounced as he led blistering counter attacks which could have seen Portugal take the lead on several occasions.
The most notable opportunity came from a cross which Nani failed to convert at the back post, seeing his shot saved at point blank range.
That all changed when Ronaldo himself made a lung-busting run to latch onto a sublime pass from his former Manchester United team-mate and finished neatly past the helpless Maarten Stekelenburg.
It's a performance which sets up Portugal against Czech Republic in the quarter-finals and Ronaldo will want to improve on his total of two goals so far.
His double sees him sit just one behind the leading candidate and 2/1 (3.0) favourite Mario Gomez, who failed to make it three games in succession on the scoresheet as Germany eased past Denmark to qualify with nine points from Group B.
Next in the betting comes another striker who went someway towards silencing his doubters following a disastrous cameo in his first game, Fernando Torres, who is 7/2 (4.50).
The Chelsea frontman scored twice against Republic of Ireland and with Spain's game against Croatia still to come, will be hopeful that he can at least equal Gomez and opponent on Mario Mandzukic (14/1) on three goals.
Cesc Fabregas is still a contender after his two goals but is way behind the front three in terms of the betting, priced as he is at 14/1 (15.0) with Sportingbet.
Karim Benzema is a 25/1 (26.0) outsider after failing to score in France's opening two group games but a final group match against already eliminated Sweden could allow Benzema to get himself back in the running.
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Jim Knight is Betting Editor at Goal.com and has been tipping football games since he was old enough to place a bet. He is a Leicester City fan, writer and member of the We Are Going Up Podcast
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