By Fitzgerald Cecilio

Kharkiv, Ukraine

Forward Cristiano Ronaldo, criticized for his lack of form early in the tournament, delivered when it mattered most, scoring two goals to lift Portugal past the Netherlands, 2-1, Sunday and into the quarterfinals of the European Championship 2012.

Portugal advanced to the last eight together with Germany, a 2-1 winner over Denmark at the Arena Lviv. The Germans topped Group B, known as the "Group of Death", with nine points while Portugal finished second with six points.

The Germans and the Portuguese join Czech Republic and Greece in the quarterfinals. The Czechs and Greeks advanced after finishing 1-2 in Group A.

Portugal will face the Czech Republic Thursday in Warsaw while Germany squares off on with Greece Friday in Gdansk.

Rafael van der Vaart scored in the 11th minute for Netherlands with a curler that zoomed past goalkeeper Rui Patricio at the Metalist Stadium.

Ronaldo, who only had one goal before the game, tied the count in the 28th minute with a fine strike past Maarten Stekelenburg from a pass by Joao Pereira.

In the 74th minute, Nani fed a long pass to Ronaldo, who eluded Gregory Van der Weil in the box and booted home the game-winning goal.

"Ronaldo got so much criticism in the last game and he is back now," Netherlands coach Bert Van Marwijk said. "That is how fast things can change."

"It won't be easy. We'll have to be this good again to reach the semifinals," Portugal coach Paulo Bento told when asked about their upcoming match against Czech Republic.

Meanwhile, Lukas Podolski opened the scoring for Germany in the 19th minute and Lars Bender slotted home the winner in the 80th after Michael Krohn-Dehli had equalized for Denmark in the 24th minute.

In his 100th international match, Podolski scored his first goal of the event from an assist by Mario Gomez.

Denmark replied just five minutes later with a header from Krohn-Dehli for his second goal at Euro 2012.

Bender, who replaced suspended right back Jerome Boateng, picked up a pass from Mesut Oezil and made it 2-1.


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