World Cup 2022: Portugal break South American hoodoo
November 28, 2022
Portugal are into the last 16 after a 2-0 victory over Uruguay. Bruno Fernandes scored both to give Portugal their first World Cup win over a South American nation since 1966, but Cristiano Ronaldo claimed the opener.
Given the frosty reception Cristiano Ronaldo received from Bruno Fernandes ahead of the World Cup following Ronaldo's bombshell interview about his second spell at Manchester United, one can assume his claiming of Fernandes' first goal will do little to thaw personal relations between the two.
Fernandes whipped in a cross for his former club teammate and Ronaldo appeared to have got the deftest of touches on the ball, but replays showed Ronaldo's touch was more non-existent than deft — but that didn't stop him from celebrating like he'd scored.
There was some doubt about the second too, scored from the spot by Fernandes, who profited from Jose Gimenez's unfortunate handball. Following a VAR check, Fernandes rubber-stamped Portugal's first World Cup victory over a South American nation in 56 years, when they beat Brazil in Liverpool.
Uruguay versus Ghana — the sequel
There are many similarities between the two teams that met in Lusail, where the final will be held in a little under three weeks. Both are built upon a solid defensive foundation, with guile and graft in midfield and a sprinkling of flair attacking players. Portugal are very much the Uruguay of Europe, while Uruguay are the Portugal of South America.
Uruguay, whose coach Diego Alonso dropped forward Luis Suarez in favor of Edinson Cavani, will rue not at least getting a point here given the chances they had. Rodrigo Bentancur, the classy Tottenham Hotspur midfielder, spurned the best chance, waltzing through the Portugal defense in the first half but failing to convert in a one-on-one with Diogo Costa in the Portugal goal.
The game was also notable for a second half interruption when a fan ran onto the field clutching a pride flag and in a t-shirt with the words 'Respect for Iranian women'. More than a week in, this World Cup remains one of the most politically charged in decades.
The result means Uruguay remain in the tournament but, with just a point to their names, will have to beat in-form Ghana to stand a chance of going through, in a game that will stoke memories of their infamous meeting in 2010.
Despite tensions between Ronaldo and Fernandes, the Portuguese have successfully navigated the group stage with maximum points. But Ronaldo's ninth World Cup goal, which would equal Eusebio's national record, will have to wait.