LUSAIL, Qatar — Bruno Fernandes overshadowed Cristiano Ronaldo by scoring each objectives for Portugal on Monday as a 2-0 win towards Uruguay sealed a spot within the 2022 World Cup’s knockout spherical for the 2016 European champions.
In a hard-fought sport at Lusail Stadium, Fernandes made the important thing distinction for Portugal as Uruguay’s loss left them on the backside of Group H and needing to win towards Ghana of their closing sport to have any hope of qualifying for the following stage.
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1. Portugal show they’re a high staff in Qatar
Portugal joined France and Brazil by securing their place within the spherical of 16, however whereas these two soccer heavyweights are among the many favourites to win the World Cup, no person ought to underestimate this Portugal staff.
They have been in a position to overcome a cussed Uruguay, who supplied little going ahead, by profitable with out counting on the objectives of Ronaldo. And however for a last-minute strike that hit the submit, Manchester United’s Fernandes would have turn into the primary participant to attain a hat trick in Qatar.
Fernandes, a midfielder, is simply a kind of Portugal gamers who’re stars in their very own proper however too typically overshadowed by Ronaldo. Portugal even have Bernardo Silva, Rafael Leao, Joao Felix and top-class defenders resembling Ruben Dias and the veteran Pepe.
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Portugal are at all times a contender at main tournaments and a menace to extra fancied nations, however their solely worldwide success thus far was at Euro 2016.
But because the World Cup strikes into the knockout stage, Portugal are a staff to be prevented by the highest sides as a result of they’re able to beating anybody and will go all the best way this time round.
2. Ronaldo’s want for objectives turns sneaky
Ronaldo hasn’t scored over 800 profession objectives with out an intense want to stay the ball into the online, however he went so far as making an attempt to sneakily declare one he did not rating towards Uruguay.
The 37-year-old, now with out a membership following his acrimonious exit from Manchester United final week, turned the primary participant to attain in 5 World Cup tournaments when he netted a penalty within the 3-2 win towards Ghana in Portugal’s opening sport in Qatar.
However he additionally tried to disclaim Fernandes the opening aim on this sport towards Uruguay by reacting to the 54th-minute strike by celebrating as if he had headed within the midfielder’s cross.
At first look, there appeared to be nothing however the faintest contact from Ronaldo’s head, however his response advised little question that he had delivered the essential contact. But a sequence of replays confirmed that Ronaldo hadn’t touched the ball or diverted it into the online in any respect.
When the massive screens within the Lusail Stadium introduced moments later that Fernandes had been awarded the aim, Ronaldo’s response was caught on digicam: He was wanting on the display and gave what seemed to be a nervous snigger of making an attempt to masks his disappointment, or just his disbelief that any person had the audacity to take the aim off him.
It was the same look from Ronaldo when he was substituted by supervisor Fernando Santos within the closing levels.
3. Cynical Uruguay turns again clock with tough strategy
Uruguay is a nation that has been, and continues to be, blessed with world-class soccer expertise, which has at all times been disproportionately excessive for its inhabitants of simply 3.5 million folks.
However when their nice attacking gamers do not dominate the sport, Uruguay can too typically depend on a extra bodily strategy to get a outcome, particularly towards groups as gifted as Portugal.
This was a kind of events when supervisor Diego Alonso’s gamers displayed Uruguay’s cynical aspect, trying to kill the sport at each alternative with late challenges, shirt tugs and a basic sense of over-physicality. On Fernandes’ penalty, Portugal gamers guarded the spot from Uruguay gamers searching for to scuff it up.
Uruguay has at all times produced robust, dedicated gamers and their mix of tenacity and talent is why so many, resembling Luis Suarez, Diego Godin and Edinson Cavani, have succeeded at Europe’s main golf equipment over time.
However apart from a late flurry of assaults when chasing the sport, Uruguay performed this one as if content material with a draw and so they tried to get the purpose by crossing the road on a number of events. Each Rodrigo Bentancur and Mathias Olivera have been issued yellow playing cards and have been then fortunate to not be despatched off for additional fouls.
It’s a disgrace to see a staff of such expertise carry out in such a unfavourable method, particularly once they have the gamers to beat any aspect 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.
Subs: Raphael Guerreiro 6, Rafael Leao 6, Goncalo Ramos 6, Joao Palhinha 6, Matheus Nunes 6.
Uruguay: Sergio Rochet 7; Sebastian Coates 6, Diego Godin 7, Jose Maria Gimenez 6; Fede Valverde 6, Matias Vecino 6, Rodrigo Bentancur 5; Guillermo Varela 6, Mathias Oliveira 5; Darwin Nunez 5, Edinson Cavani 5.
Subs: Facundo Pellistri 6, Giorgian de Arrascaeta 6, Maxi Gomez 6, Luis Suarez 6.
Finest and worst performers
BEST: Bruno Fernandes, Portugal
The Manchester United midfielder stood out just by scoring the aim that determined this dismal sport.
WORST: Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
The Portugal captain was nameless and solely caught the eye when he tried to assert a aim that wasn’t his.
Highlights and notable moments
The sport-defining aim got here within the 54th minute. Bruno Fernandes launched a cross into the field, and Cristiano Ronaldo rose up for a free header because the ball bounced into the again of the online.
Ronaldo celebrated prefer it was his aim and he was initially credited with scoring, however upon nearer inspection it seems he missed the ball, and the aim was credited to Fernandes. The aim was Fernandes’ first in a World Cup.
Does Ronaldo get a contact on this aim? pic.twitter.com/SdW0v6NjCZ
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 28, 2022
Fernandes wasn’t executed, although.
A considerably doubtful penalty was awarded to Portugal when Fernandes nutmegged the ball by means of Jose Maria Gimenez’s legs and, Gimenez falling to the bottom, put his arm out to brace his fall and the ball brushed previous his hand. The referee decided it was a handball after a video evaluation.
A penalty is awarded to Portugal for this handball pic.twitter.com/FyG8XT9Fjg
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 28, 2022
After the match: What the gamers and managers stated
Bruno Fernandes on credit score for the aim altering: “We’re pleased with the victory no matter who scored. Crucial factor is that we achieved our goal, which is to be within the subsequent spherical. I celebrated [the opener against Uruguay] as if it had been Cristiano’s aim. It appeared to me that he had touched the ball. My goal was to cross the ball for him.”
Portugal coach Fernando Santos on who scored Fernandes’ first aim: “I believe it was an amazing match, our staff performed very effectively and the remainder for me doesn’t matter.”
Santos on the outcome: “It was a deserved victory. The staff did what it stated it will. We’re by means of to the following spherical. Now we now have to proceed working to enhance what we now have to enhance on. I advised my gamers at halftime that we needed to play our sport, enjoying, displaying up with confidence. That is our sport and we would have liked to select it up. There was some fatigue, others may have entered, however there are 26 of them and so they can all play. The vital factor is that we received and we received effectively.”
Santos on whether or not he’ll relaxation gamers for the Friday sport towards South Korea: “The sport is over, we’re certified. Tomorrow I will calmly take into consideration these items.”
Key stats (offered by ESPN Stats & Info)
Bruno Fernandes scored his first World Cup aim in 4 profession appearances within the event.
Fernandes has been concerned in 4 out of the 5 objectives scored by Portugal this World Cup (two objectives, two assists).
Portugal: Group H continues Friday when Portugal faces South Korea at 10 a.m. ET. With their win over Uruguay, nevertheless, Portugal have certified for the knockout spherical.
Uruguay: Likewise, Uruguay will face Ghana on Friday at 10 a.m. ET to shut out the group stage. However with their loss to Portugal, they have to win towards Ghana and see if the opposite Group H sport on the similar time helps their trigger.