Find out what caught the attention of our journalist present at the Lusail stadium on Monday evening, for the match of the second day between Portugal and Uruguay.
Special envoy to Lusail
Ronaldo is Mandrake the Magician
At 37, Cristiano Ronaldo has more than one trick up his sleeve. A magician who scores goals… without touching the leather. In any case, it seems that the now ex-Mancunian did not touch the ball on this cross from Bruno Fernandes, his… former teammate with the Red Devils. Fifa has officially awarded the goal to the 28-year-old playmaker after initially giving it to his glorious elder. Unless the directors find an angle where we see CR7 touching the ball, it is by his mere presence that he helped to deceive Sergio Rochet (54th) and unblock the situation in this long closed meeting (see elsewhere) . The five-time Ballon d’Or winner will have to wait to celebrate his 119th international goal, but he will gladly be content with this 2-0 success over Uruguay, which sends his country to the 8th round of the World Cup.
Portugal assumes its rank
After France and Brazil, Portugal is the third nation to score its ticket for the round of 16. A draw against South Korea, on the third day, will be enough for the Portuguese to take first place in the standings of this group H and probably avoid the Brazilian Seleçao in 8th. Certainly, the team of Fernando Santos is not always brilliant. She also trembled this Thursday, after the opener. But the result is there. And the dream of Cristiano Ronaldo’s band remains intact, more alive than ever.
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Two assists against Ghana (3-2 victory), two goals against Uruguay (2-0): Bruno Fernandes is the providential man for the Portugal team at the start of the tournament. The star is obviously Ronaldo. But the Manchester United player changed everything on Thursday, with that kick that finally ended in the bottom and the nerves to convert the penalty at the end. Leader, engine, scorer. He does everything. 83 balls hit in this meeting, six shots (3 on target) but also two tackles, efforts. MVP of the day.
How José Gimenez can avoid touching the ball with his hand, on this penalty whistled in the 89th minute? The referee and his little comrades from the Var truck felt that the Atlético player had made a mistake. Admittedly, he stops the ball with his hand, that’s a fact. But falling back, one wonders how he could have avoided putting his hand in this position. Under these conditions, it is difficult to attribute to him the “deliberate” desire to touch the ball or to consider that the person concerned would have “artificially increased the area covered by his body“. And yet, Portugal did benefit from this penalty for the break.
Bad weather for Mendes, Portugal and… PSG
Bad news for Portugal. Spared during the first meeting, Nuno Mendes gave up his place at the very end of the first period (42nd), in tears. Has the thigh injury that sidelined him for three weeks in October with PSG woken up? One thing is certain: the capital club saw two of its players come out in tears on this Lusail lawn, Neymar with Brazil and therefore Mendes, with Portugal. Bad luck for the Reds and Blues. In the meantime, it is the team of Fernando Santos who will have to do without the speed and technical qualities of the former Sporting CP player. For how long ?
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The too late awakening of a weak Uruguay team
Harmless against South Korea (0-0), the Uruguayans were no more able to create play against Portugal. We will not forget that Diogo Costa saved the Lusitanian house after the magic trick of Rodrigo Bentancur (32nd). An individual feat is all that could have saved Uruguay for a long time this Thursday evening, in the stadium which will host the final on December 18 (88,868 spectators announced). Finally, the South Americans let go of the horses and seriously shaken the Portuguese, overwhelmed by their commitment. Only after the opener. And without success. Too late, then. Note that Portugal did not have the chances to match their dominance in a soporific game until the goal.
The Uruguayan butcher’s shop
Failing to shine with the quality of their game, the Uruguayans chose to take out the slap box. We understood from the 6th minute, with this yellow collected by Bentancur. No less than seven faults in the first half hour for Edinson Cavani’s teammates, determined not to be stepped on, even if it means crushing those of their opponents. La Céleste committed 16 fouls and received two yellow cards. The Portuguese caught up in this area when they took on the water (10 faults, three yellows).
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The magic of Ronaldo, a parody of Var… Favorites and scratches from our special correspondent after Portugal-Uruguay