Even after the game ended, Cristiano Ronaldo continued to insist that he had scored in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The superstar without a club was turned down, along with another piece of Portuguese football history, and may finally 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 guarantee Portugal joined Brazil and France as the only sides in the championship with a perfect start.
Although a highly anticipated matchup between two gifted and temperamental heavyweights fell short of expectations, Uruguay’s consequences could be profound. 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 their catastrophic loss at the 2010 World Cup. How they would love to humiliate an Uruguay squad in Qatar that has yet to fully realize the potential of its star players.
Diego Alonso, head coach of Uruguay, said, “It is a significant 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, whom 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 defense in the second half. When Bentancur recklessly fouled Ruben 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 the 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 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 defense.
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 additional 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 got the impression that he had contact with the ball. To cross the ball for him was my goal.
After a clever interchange on the outskirts of the Portugal penalty area, Gómez struck a post, which would have allowed Uruguay to tie the score. Costa was badly outmatched, but his left-hand post kept him alive. Before entering the field, Suárez got into a verbal altercation with the fourth official. Suárez missed Giorgian de Arrascaeta’s free-kick at the near post by a matter of inches.
Unfortunately for them, Portugal was given a penalty in stoppage time when Fernandes fouled José Mara Giménez on the edge of the box. The defender fell into the challenge and used his arm to hold himself as the ball struck the defender’s trailing hand, but the Iranian referee was told to check the pitch-side monitor.
He issued a brutal penalty, which understandably infuriated Uruguay’s players. Fernandes maintained his composure and used a hop, skip, and jump to send Rochet running away from the area. The Uruguayan goalkeeper’s legs and a post in the last seconds stopped the United midfielder from scoring a hat-trick. Then he had to endure Ronaldo whining about how the first goal had brushed his hair, even though he would have taken the penalty had he not been replaced. Well, let’s move forward from here.
Oh no, not another article about Cristiano Ronaldo. What else might it be, then? Is anyone else who might it be? What about André Ayew, whose goal tied the game at 1-1 and turned an otherwise quiet night into a chaotic game? Joo Félix, who neatly swished in a shot to give Portugal the lead once more? Rafael Leo may have directed his first shot into the goal. Osman Bukari scored with two minutes left in the game—actually, 10—and Zaki Williams scored with a flash of brilliance at the very end that almost allowed Ghana to win.
With the potential to tie the score at 3-3 suddenly appearing and the entire stadium gasping, Williams sneaked up behind Portugal’s goalkeeper Diogo Costa and snatched the ball from his feet. However, as he turned back toward the goal, he slipped.