Casillas eyes 100th win in Portugal semi
By Iain Rogers
GNIEWINO, Poland (Reuters) - Spain captain Iker Casillas can become the first player to notch up 100 victories in international football if his team beat Portugal in Wednesday's Euro 2012 semi-final.
To do so, on his 136th appearance for his country, the Real Madrid goalkeeper will have to thwart his club team mate and Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo, who has three goals at the tournament and has been on scintillating form.
Eliminating the Portuguese, who have only beaten their Iberian neighbors once in seven competitive games, would give Spain a chance to become the first nation to win back-to-back continental titles with a World Cup in between.
Casillas believes former World Player of the Year Ronaldo has still not quite reproduced the form that helped Real win La Liga for the first time in four years last season.
"His season at Madrid was incredible in terms of the way he played, the goals and the records," the 31-year-old, known in Spain as "Saint Iker" thanks to his miraculous saves, was quoted as saying in Monday's Marca sports daily.
"I don't think that right now he is at his best level," he added.
A fired-up Ronaldo has been peppering opposition goals with shots in Portugal's four Euro 2012 outings and Casillas said he will have to be wary of any deviation in the air due to the peculiar way Ronaldo strikes the ball.
"The ball does something strange," he told Marca, adding that those being used at Euro 2012 did not bend and swerve as much as the "Jabulani" used at the World Cup two years ago. Continued...