Euro 2012 knockout stage: Ronaldo chokes, Balotelli shines

After several excellent goals, a few thrilling penalty kick endings and the toppling of another tournament favorite, Euro 2012 is nearing its finale.  With Italy and Spain on their way to the Euro Final, let’s look back at the defining moments of the knockout stage.

England stays true to its ways

After yet another valiant attempt to stave off elimination by hanging on to a tie game, England continued an age-old tradition of cracking under pressure as they fell on penalties to Italy.

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UEFA EURO 2012: Knockout stages preview

Just 12 days removed from the opening match in Poland, Euro 2012 has been as good as advertised and more, with 60 goals scored and not a single 0-0 draw in 24 group stage matches.  Host countries Poland and Ukraine each treated their fans to close and controversial thrillers before narrowly missing the knockout stage, while four teams that won their opening match (including Ukraine) somehow failed to escape the group stage.  As the quarterfinals kick off this afternoon, here are some keys to look for throughout the knockout rounds.

How far can Cristiano Ronaldo carry Portugal?

After wasting two golden opportunities against Denmark, Cristiano Ronaldo came alive against the Dutch in his final group stage match, scoring the equalizer and game-winner to send Portugal through to the quarterfinals.  [Read more…]