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Portugal – Belgium

March 25, 2007

The 22-year-old winger, who has scored 22 goals this season, said: “We created lots of opportunities in the first half but in the second we showed more guts.

“We began the second half with greater drive. We have a very strong side.”

Ronaldo is tipped to be in the running for the end-of-season domestic awards because of his rich vein of form.

His Portugal team-mate Nuno Gomes broke the deadlock against Belgium in the 52nd minute, with Ronaldo scoring from a header two minutes later.

Ricardo Quaresma added a third on 68 minutes before Ronaldo completed his double.

Portugal are three points behind Group A leaders Poland, who have played a game more than the Portuguese.

Poland, who trounced Azerbaijan 5-0, are on 13 points, while Roy Hodgson’s Finland are second on 11 points.

—————–

Winger Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Portugal crushed Belgium 4-0 in their Euro 2008 qualifier in Group A on Saturday.

Two goals in the space of two minutes paved the way for Portugal’s victory, with Nuno Gomes breaking the deadlock in the 52nd minute and Ronaldo getting his first of the night almost immediately afterwards with a header.

Ricardo Quaresma added the third in the 68th minute before Ronaldo completed a rout which left the Euro 2004 hosts in a promising position in their group.

Poland are top on 13 points, having played a game more, after trouncing Azerbaijan 5-0. Finland are second on 11 points, while Portugal moved up to third on 10.

Serbia, who also have 10 points, lost 2-1 to Kazakhstan on Saturday.

Portugal coach Luis Felipe Scolari, whose side had fired blanks in the first half, said: “We did the same thing in the second half. What was missing was greater precision.”

Ronaldo said Portugal “started the second half with greater drive,” adding: “We have a very strong side.”

PORTUGAL (4-3-3): Ricardo; Miguel, Jorge Andrade, Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira; Petit, Tiago and Moutinho (Hugo Viana); Cristiano Ronaldo, Nuno Gomes (Hugo Almeida) and Quaresma.

BELGIUM (4-4-2): Stijnen, Vermaelen, Kompany, Van Buyten, Hoefkens, Léonard, Vanden Borre, Mudingayi, Geraerts, Mpenza, Vandenbergh

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