Ronaldo is great. He entered the Guinness Book of Records and gave the national team the victory in the 89th minute!
Anatoly Romanov Jun 21, 2023 00:12 UTC Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.
It is true that Portugal beat the Icelanders in the selection for the Euro not without the help of the judges.
The Icelandic team, much talked about during Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018, has faded into the shadows in recent years. Thus, the team began the qualifying phase of Euro 2024 with two defeats in three days. The game with Group J leaders Portugal was perhaps the Icelanders’ last chance to stay in contention for first or second place and a ticket to the finals.
The match at the stadium with the romantic name “Laugardalsvöllur” will be remembered by Ronaldo for life. On this day, Cristiano became the first footballer in history to play 200 games with the national team. In Reykjavik, he even received a Guinness Book of Records certificate. Al-Nasr, 38, led his team onto the pitch with the captain’s armband and returned to the center forward position in a 3-4-2-1 formation. From the position of insiders, Bernardo Silva (right) and Rafael Leau (left) supported him. Ronaldo was opposed by two former RPL defenders: Ingason and Magnusson. In general, the Icelanders have relied on a compact and defensive 4-4-2 formation.
The Portuguese team had possession of the ball almost 70% of the time, had a territorial advantage and stretched the defense of the locals due to the wide positions of the full-backs. In the first half alone, Roberto Martínez’s team made 18 crosses, winning six corners in half an hour. But the balls were fired over and over again by Icelandic central defender Paulsson of MLS club DC United. This guy had almost the best time of his career: six clearances in 45 minutes! As a result, the guests only hit the target twice before the break. Ronaldo made only 12 touches, all of them outside the penalty area, and before going to the locker room he managed not to score with a header from two or three meters. But the goalkeeper Runarsson will not be counted as a great save with his foot: the judges scored a small offside by Cristiano. This mistake really caught Cristiano.
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Iceland was dangerous by standards. The locals hit the target only once, and the highlight of the first half was the same Paulsson, whom the Portuguese for some reason abandoned during the exchange six or seven meters from the gate. There was an empty corner in front of the defender, but he hit the ball clumsily, like a real destroyer.
After the break, the Portuguese team increased in speed, moved the ball better. Martínez’s team got a few more corners and, thanks to one of them, created a scoring chance for Ronaldo. Cristiano hit his head freely and missed. He crossed his arms in disgust and shook his head. This was Cristiano’s first touch in the rival area, carried out without infringing the rules. The hosts simply forgot about the counterplay. The Icelandic fans began to chant their formidable “Hu!” to charge the players of the Aage Hareide team with energy.
The Icelanders still managed to drive the game away from their gates. The most remembered confrontation of the second half was the duel between Ingason and Ronaldo. The former Rostov defender was not inferior to Cristiano by a meter: he beat the Portuguese star in martial arts, blocked his shot attempts and, if the situation required it, committed a foul. Iceland became an island of bad luck for Ronaldo. Only offside he counted five pieces. But in the 80th minute, the referee gave Cristiano and company a good chance to win: he sent off Willumsson. The hosts’ entrance looked terrifying, but he played the ball. Controversial second yellow.
In the last minutes, the guests pressed on, and the hosts had one task – to somehow counterattack. Ronaldo was looking for his moment, but couldn’t find it. Cristiano received a yellow card for feigning, then nearly got another for handballing in the Iceland box. Angered by this blow to the hand, the striker took the ball and explained something to him in pure Portuguese, like a naughty child. And it worked! Ronaldo scored in the 89th minute. Cristiano’s goal was also disallowed first for offside, however after lengthy control it was counted. It was the first shot on goal in the second half for two teams.
Then Portugal got the fourth victory in four rounds. Ronaldo finished the game with 36 touches (seven in the area), three shots and a kick pass. Now Cristiano has 123 goals with the national team.