Ronaldo assists as Portugal advances to Euro 2024 knockout stage with 3-0 win vs. Turkey


And so Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal go marching merrily onward, a 3-0 victory over Turkey on Saturday the latest step in what is hurriedly becoming an imposing campaign that looks destined for big things.

Ronaldo, the 39-year-old icon of the game, did not score in Dortmund but was influential and active, as Portugal made the most of a calamitous own goal to clinch a spot in the round of 16.

Roberto Martinez’s side are also confirmed as the winner of Group F, even with a game still to play — against Georgia on Wednesday in Gelsenkirchen.

Bernardo Silva claimed the opening goal midway through the first half as Portugal, the only team with a perfect record in qualifying, stamped its authority early.

Nuno Mendes’ cross from the left flank bounced around and fell into Silva’s path, from where the Manchester City playmaker comfortably beat goalkeeper Altay Bayindir.

The second effectively sealed the contest and was a comedy of errors. Samet Akaydin failed to notice Bayindir’s position before aiming a backpass towards goal — the keeper’s effort to rush back and keep it out of his net was in vain, and Portugal was rolling.

Before the clash, Martinez insisted that despite his long history as a relentless goalscorer, Ronaldo’s greater value to this team is the attention he draws from defenders, opening up space for his teammates.

That much was clear after 55 minutes when he laid the ball on a plate for Bruno Fernandes to strike home the third, and complete what was a clear signal of intent from the 2016 champions.

The message is this, Portugal means business, Ronaldo is going nowhere, and this is a team that feels it can beat anyone.

[Related: Portugal coach Martinez defends usage of Ronaldo, says he ‘deserves’ to be with national team]

Turkey is far from finished, and is still in position to claim second spot in the group. It can secure that place with a draw or better against Czechia in Hamburg, at the same time as the Portugal-Georgia (3 p.m. ET on FOX) game.

As for Portugal, its spot in the bracket could be considered a friendly one. If all goes to plan, it would not meet another group winner, possibly Spain or Germany, until the semifinal stage.

Then there was chaos as three fans got on the field at different times in the second half and attempted selfies with Ronaldo. He accepted the first but looked unhappy at the other two.

Another phone-waving supporter, wearing a Portugal jersey, got to Ronaldo moments after the final whistle and security had to hold back another person attempting to confront one of the most famous sports stars in the world as he walked off the field with his teammates.

Ronaldo might be more unhappy at failing to score against a Turkey team that was its own worst enemy at times.

Not least in the 28th minute when, trailing 1-0 to Bernardo Silva’s strike seven minutes earlier, Turkey center back Samet Akaydin delivered a back-pass that rolled to the side of his goalkeeper and straight into the net.

Portugal backed up its opening 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic and has qualified with a match to spare from Group F.

[Check out all the top moments from Portugal’s win over Turkey]

Reporting by The Associated Press.



Get more from UEFA Euro Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more




Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *