Ronaldo lets his feat do the talking

KHARKIV, Ukraine - Cristiano Ronaldo found time to change his hairstyle at half-time, going from a mini-Mohican in the first half to a swept-back look in the second.

Either way, the Portuguese superstar was a cut above anyone else on the pitch.

Mocked by Danish fans who played on his rivalry with Argentinian World Player of the Year Lionel Messi in his last outing, the Real Madrid player replied with the outstanding individual performance of Euro 2012 so far on Sunday, sending Portugal into the quarter-finals.

The strutting, preening winger scored both goals in the 2-1 win over the Netherlands and repeatedly tore down the left flank, creating havoc whenever he got the ball, performing his full range of shimmies and stepovers.

That familiar air of arrogance was also there as he celebrated his first goal by sucking his thumb, pointing at the camera and making an undeciphered comment, and his second by sliding on his knees and thumping his chest.

Portugal had insisted from the start of the tournament that Ronaldo's performances would be a reflection of the team.

In their opening 0-1 defeat by Germany, he had only a few touches of the ball as the supply lines dried up.

In the 3-2 win over Denmark, he got plenty of it but failed to make the most of it, missing two gilt-edged chances.

Against the Dutch, Portugal were adept at playing the ball quickly out of defence and giving Ronaldo the ball where he wanted it on the left flank.

And after he turned the Dutch defence inside out all night, he decided against hitting back at his critics during the post-match interviews.

"Portugal have succeeded in our aim of qualifying, now we have to play against the Czechs and that is going to be hard but we'll see what happens", was all he could muster.

Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk put it more succinctly.

"After a lot of criticism, Ronaldo was decisive," he said. "He did everything this evening."

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