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Oliver to twist the knife in Ronaldo

Germans have plans for Cristiano

By Steven Beacom

German legend Oliver Bierhoff has revealed his team have special plans to eliminate the threat of Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in tonight's Euro 2008 quarter-final.

The tournament proved to be entertaining in the group stages and the feeling is it will get even better in the knockout stages. And there could not be a better match to start the last eight than seeing the strength of Germany take on the skill of Portugal.

Ronaldo may not have been the best player in the European Championships to date £ Spain's David Villa and Holland's Wesley Sneijder are vying for that mantle £ but he has been the dominant figure due to the prospect of a controversial world record move from Manchester United to Real Madrid.

He will make an announcement about his future plans once Portugal's participation in the competition is over.

Germany, whose manager Joachim Low will serve a one match touchline ban, feel that will happen tonight in Basle.

And they make no bones about the fact that stopping Ronaldo is crucial to their chances.

"We have a special plan for Ronaldo," said former Germany striker and current national team general manager Bierhoff, who once scored a SIX minute hat-trick against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.

"Ronaldo is the best player in the world," added Bierhoff.

"We can't expect one or two players to stop him so it has to be the group as a whole that needs to confront him.

"Portugal are favourites but Germany play better when facing top teams. We will be ready."

This could be Luiz Felipe Scolari's last game in charge of Portugal before moving to Chelsea to take over at Stamford Bridge. He says that Germany's main threat will come from Michael Ballack, who of course plays for Chelsea.

Expect a compelling encounter.

See page 32

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