++ [ originally posted by Kevin ] ++
Ronaldo's piece of skill for that second goal (first of his two great assists) was absolutely stunning! He also saved Portugal's asses last week with 1 goal, 1 assist, in a 2-0 win!
It's great to see the younger players step up and fill the so-called unfillable shoes of Portuguese players like Figo and Rui Costa.
But yes -- Ronaldo has been the key to Portugal's success in both matches. His assist on the second goal was amazing in how he just left the Estonian defender spinning, clearing enough space to put in a good cross. But perhaps the more signature point, IMO, was his assist on the last goal by Postiga.
Portugal was ahead 3-0 and in injury time, and you could catch a flash moment in Ronaldo where he recognized that he could just turn on the juice for a moment and beat his defender for a good cross. He then commits to a jarring dash and a great cross ... and that quickly it was 4-0.
Seeing that kind of instant flash of recognition in an athlete who then capitalizes on it late in a match was a sort of throwback to me for how Michael Jordan would patiently wait out the brief appearance of an opportunity and then just seize on it. Of course Jordan would do it repeatedly in deadlocked games where his final shot would win the game, but it's not often that you see players in any sport exhibit that kind of instinct.