Ronaldo in need of Portugal supporting cast to perform

Information 26 Jun 2018, 16:33 IST


Moscow, Jun 26 (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo’s off-night in opposition to Iran almost price Portugal their World Cup dream and underlined the stark want for his team-mates to contribute extra in assist of the Actual Madrid celebrity.

Ronaldo carried Portugal by means of their first two group video games, hitting a memorable hat-trick in a Three-Three draw with Spain earlier than netting the winner in a gritty 1-Zero victory over Morocco.

That left the European champions requiring only a level from their conflict with Carlos Queiroz’s Iran in Saransk, however an uncharacteristic show from Ronaldo had them sweating over a spot within the final 16.

The five-time world participant of the yr missed a penalty that will have given Portugal a 2-Zero lead, Ronaldo was then maybe lucky to obtain simply yellow after an elbow on Iran defender Morteza Pouraliganji.

A disputed Iran penalty arrange a tense ultimate jiffy for Portugal, who solely superior to the knockout rounds after Mehdi Taremi fired a last-gasp likelihood into the facet netting.

Qualification was finally assured, albeit with an upcoming tie in opposition to Uruguay reasonably than hosts Russia, however Ronaldo was removed from impressed.

“I perceive, it is regular. The perfect gamers on this planet face that when there is not a chance to essentially make it occur,” mentioned Portugal boss Fernando Santos.

“That hurts much more to them than to different gamers. They at all times wish to win. They wish to be the most effective and refuse to fail, and after they fail they get very upset.”

Santos tried to alleviate a number of the burden on Ronaldo by aligning Andre Silva alongside the Portugal captain in assault, with Ricardo Quaresma additionally handed his first World Cup begin.

Whereas Quaresma rewarded his coach with a surprising opening aim simply earlier than half-time, Silva supplied little as Ronaldo discovered himself remoted and his alternatives restricted.

Goncalo Guedes and Bernardo Silva have been dropped after failing to shine within the opening two video games, however yesterday’s efficiency confirmed Portugal are nonetheless scrambling to seek out the dynamic that finest helps Ronaldo.

“There have been plenty of misplaced passes, the tempo was sluggish after the primary 15 minutes,”

Santos mentioned within the wake of the Morocco match.

“Our crew is powerful however we should progress. We should do higher than that.” Subsequent up for Portugal is a Uruguay crew, marshalled by the rugged centre-back pairing of Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez, that has but to concede in Russia.

“We’ve got our weapons and we should attempt to profit from them,” Santos mentioned yesterday.

Gelson Martins, the gifted younger winger who made a 30-minute look off the bench in opposition to Morocco, is an alternative choice who might be known as upon going ahead.

The query is just not if Portugal have the weapons however whether or not they are often assembled in a method that performs to Ronaldo’s strengths at his fourth and sure ultimate World Cup

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