LUSAIL, Qatar – Bruno Fernandes overtook Cristiano Ronaldo by scoring both goals for Portugal on Monday as a 2-0 win against Uruguay sealed a place for the 2016 European champions into the knockout rounds of the 2022 World Cup.
In a tough encounter at the Lusail Stadium, Fernandes made the crucial difference for Portugal as a defeat by Uruguay left them bottom of Group H and needing a win in their final game against Ghana to have any chance of qualifying for the next stage. Let there be hope
1. Portugal prove they are a top team in Qatar
Portugal join France and Brazil in securing their place in the Round of 16 in Qatar 2022, but while they are among the favorites to win two football heavyweight World Cups, no one should underestimate this Portugal team.
They were able to overcome a stubborn Uruguay, who offered to go ahead by winning without relying on Ronaldo’s goals. And but for a last-minute strike at the post, Manchester United’s Fernandes would have become the first player to score a hat-trick in Qatar.
Fernandes, a midfielder, is one of Portugal’s few players who are stars in their own right but are often overshadowed by Ronaldo. Portugal also boasts top-class defenders in the likes of Bernardo Silva, Rafael Leao, Joao Felix and Ruben Dias, and veteran veteran Pepe.
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Portugal is always a contender in major tournaments and a threat to more fancied nations, but their only international success to date was at Euro 2016.
Yet as the World Cup moves into the knockout stage, Portugal is a team that the top teams should avoid as they are capable of beating anyone and win the World Cup this time.
2. Ronaldo’s desire for goals turns timid
Ronaldo hasn’t scored more than 800 goals in a career without a burning desire to put the ball into the net, but he went so far as to claim he didn’t score against Uruguay in a sneaky attempt.
The 37-year-old, now without a club following his acrimonious exit from Manchester United last week, became the first player to score in five World Cup tournaments when he scored a penalty in Portugal’s opening game in a 3-2 win against Ghana. Queue.
But he tried to celebrate by reacting to Bruno Fernandes’ 54th-minute strike in this game against Uruguay as if he was heading in the midfielder’s cross.
At first glance, there seemed to be nothing more than a light touch from Ronaldo’s head, but his reaction showed no doubt that he had delivered the crucial touch. Yet a series of replays actually showed that Ronaldo had not touched the ball or deflected it into the net at all.
When the Lusail Stadium big screen announced moments later that Fernandes had been awarded the goal, Ronaldo’s reaction was caught on camera: he looked at the screen and panicked to try to hide his disappointment. Laughter was visible, or simply his disbelief that someone had the audacity to shoot off the target.
It was a similar form to Ronaldo when replaced by manager Fernando Santos in the closing stages.
3. Cynical Uruguay is turning back the clock
Uruguay is a nation that has been, and continues to be, rich in world-class footballing talent, which has been disproportionately high for a population of only 3.5 million people.
But when their great attacking players don’t dominate games, Uruguay can often rely on a more physical approach to get results, especially against talented teams like Portugal.
It was one of those occasions when manager Diego Alonso’s players displayed their cynical side, attempting to finish off the game at every opportunity with late challenges, shirt tugs and a general sense of over-physicality. On Fernandes’ penalty, Portugal’s players guarded the spot from Uruguay’s players, who were trying to clear it out.
Uruguay have always produced tough, committed players and their combination of tenacity and ability is the reason why the likes of Luis Suárez, Diego Godin and Edinson Cavani have been successful at many of Europe’s leading clubs over the years.
But apart from late attacks chasing the game, Uruguay played the game as if satisfied with a draw and tried to score points by crossing the line on several occasions. Rodrigo Bentancur and Mathias Oliveira were both issued yellow cards and were again lucky not to be sent off for further fouls.
It’s a shame to see a team of such talent perform in such a negative manner, especially when they have the players to beat any team on their day.
Portugal: Diogo Costa 6; Joao Cancelo 7, Ruben Dias 6, Pepe 7, Nuno Mendes 5; Bernardo Silva 6, Ruben Neves 6, William Carvalho 6; Bruno Fernandes 7, Cristiano Ronaldo 5, Joao Felix 7.
sub: Rafael Guerrero 6, Rafael Leo 6, Goncalo Ramos 6, Joao Palhinha 6, Matheus Nunes 6.
Uruguay: Sergio Rochet 7; Sebastian Coates 6, Diego Godin 7, Jose Maria Jimenez 6; Fede Valverde 6, Matias Vecino 6, Rodrigo Bentancur 5; Guillermo Varela 6, Mathias Oliveira 5; Darwin Nunez 5, Edinson Cavani 5.
sub: Facundo Pellistri 6, Georgiann D’Arrascaeta 6, Maxi Gomez 6, Luis Suarez 6.
best and worst performers
Best: Bruno Fernandes, Portugal
The Manchester United midfielder stood out when he scored the winning goal of a disappointing game.
Bad: Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
The Portugal captain was anonymous and only attracted attention when he tried to claim a goal that was not his.
Highlights and Notable Moments
The match-defining goal came in the 54th minute. Bruno Fernandes launched a cross into the box, and Cristiano Ronaldo rose for a free header as the ball bounced into the back of the net.
Ronaldo celebrated as if it was his goal and was initially credited with scoring, but upon closer inspection it appeared that he missed the ball, and the goal was credited to Fernandes. This was Fernandes’ first goal in the World Cup.
Does Ronaldo get a touch on this goal? pic.twitter.com/SdW0v6NjCZ
— Fox Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 28, 2022
However, Fernandes was not done.
Portugal were awarded a somewhat dubious penalty when Fernández crushed the ball through Luis Suárez’s legs and, Suárez falling to the ground, put his arm out to stop the fall and the ball went out of his hands. The referee determined it was a handball after a video review.
Portugal are awarded a penalty for this handball pic.twitter.com/FyG8XT9Fjg
— Fox Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 28, 2022
After the match: What the players and managers said
Check back soon…
Key Stats (Provided by ESPN Stats & Info)
Bruno Fernandes scored his first World Cup goal in four World Cup appearances of his career.
Fernandes has been involved in four of the five goals Portugal has scored at this World Cup (two goals, two assists).
Portugal: Group H continues on Friday, December 2 when Portugal faces South Korea at 10am ET. However, with their victory over Uruguay, Portugal qualified for the knockout rounds.
Uruguay: Likewise, Uruguay will face Ghana on Friday, December 2 at 10am ET to round out the group stage. But after losing to Portugal, they need to win against Ghana and see if the second game in Group H helps their cause.