Even after the game had ended and in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Cristiano Ronaldo continued to insist that he had scored. The superstar without a club was turned down, along with another piece of Portuguese football history, and may eventually have to concede that his nation’s calm advancement into the World Cup’s last 16 was somewhat more significant. Despite Ronaldo’s protests that he scored the first goal against Uruguay, Bruno Fernandes scored twice to ensure Portugal joined Brazil and France as the only teams in the competition with a perfect start. Although a highly anticipated matchup between two gifted and temperamental heavyweights fell short of expectations, the consequences could be profound for Uruguay. To avoid an embarrassing early exit, the South Americans must defeat Ghana on Friday and hope that Portugal helps them out against South Korea. For 12 years, Ghana has been waiting for the chance to exact revenge on Luis Suárez for the infamous loss they suffered at the 2010 World Cup. How they would love to humiliate a Uruguay team in Qatar that has yet to fully realise the potential of its star players.
Diego Alonso, head coach of Uruguay, insisted, “It is a crucial game, but it has nothing to do with what happened 12 years ago.” “This is a unique circumstance. We’re bringing every weapon we have. Federico Valverde, Rodrigo Bentancur, Darwin Nez, and Edinson Cavani were Alonso’s first four players. Suárez and Maxi Gómez, who he introduced, came very close to tying the score before Portugal was given an absurdly harsh penalty in stoppage time.
They were, however, outmatched throughout by a Portugal team that had to wait before breaking through a staunch Uruguay defence in the second half. When Bentancur recklessly fouled Rben Dias in the first minute and twenty-five seconds, Uruguay made their first foul. Despite the presence of Pepe, Suárez, and others, it did not turn into a boiling game of chess and scheming. In the first thirty minutes, neither Uruguay nor Portugal showed any signs of urgency, allowing Portugal to control possession without severely testing Sergio Rochet in net. Up until Bentancur finally added enthusiasm to Uruguay’s performance, Cavani and Nez were left alone.
The Tottenham midfielder could have started the scoring after making a strong run past Dias and William Carvalho from inside his own half. There was only one task left, but as Diogo Costa moved forward, he fired directly at the Portugal goalkeeper, who made a thigh save before scooping the rebound. Faces communicated everything. Bentancur swore as he glared up at the sky. Carvalho and Dias exchanged glares as they lamented their lack of defence.
Early in the second half, a brave and lone pitch invader went onto the field holding a rainbow flag in opposition to Qatar’s discriminating legislation. The protester was wearing a Superman t-shirt with the words “Save Ukraine” and “Respect for Iranian Women” emblazoned on the front and back, respectively. Two security guards wrestled him to the ground before further guards assisted in escorting him away.
Portugal took the lead when the game restarted thanks to Fernandes’ exquisite left-wing cross. Guillermo Varela, the right wingback, played Ronaldo onside as he read the Manchester United midfielder’s purpose correctly. Ronaldo then soared to shoot a looping header into the far corner. Everyone would have assumed as much based on Ronaldo’s celebrations. He never made contact, according to replays, and Fernandes was appropriately given the goal.
Ronaldo watched in joy and awe as his tenth World Cup goal was ruled off as he regarded a large screen. It would have tied him for Portugal’s most World Cup goals scored with Eusébio. All nine of his appeared in the 1966 edition. The fact that we fulfilled our goal of moving on to the next round is what matters most, according to Fernandes. “I jubilated as if Cristiano had scored. I had the impression that he had contact with the ball. To cross the ball for him was my goal.
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