If you missed the highlight of day ninth in the World Cup, there was some confusion about Portugal’s first offensive against the South Americans.
Bruno Fernandes made a cross that Ronaldo rose to meet. The legendary shooter claimed that his head touched the ball before it went to the net and celebrated as if it were his own.
However, the repetitions were inconclusive and the goal was officially awarded to Fernandes.
Ronaldo reportedly continued to insist on making contact with the ball, saying he had contacted Piers Morgan, who was in regular contact with the clubless star.
Fernandes was also on Ronaldo’s side. «I celebrated (the goal) like it was Cristiano’s goal,» Fernandes said in a post-match interview. “It seemed to me that he had touched the ball. My goal was to pass the ball for him.”
But FIFA and ball manufacturer Adidas proved to ESPN that the tech in the match ball was unequivocally no contact.
«In the match between Portugal and Uruguay, we are absolutely unable to show Cristiano Ronaldo’s contact on the ball for the opening goal of the game, using the Connected Ball Technology found in adidas’ Al Rihla Official Match Ball.» From FIFA to ESPN on behalf of Adidas.
“No external force on the ball could be measured, as evidenced by the absence of ‘heartbeat’ in our measurements. The 500Hz IMU sensor inside the ball allows us to be extremely accurate in our analysis.”
Despite the controversy, things are going well for Cristiano Ronaldo in Qatar.
Going to their fifth and final World Cup, Portugal’s chances of victory seemed slim, but now a dream run could mean that Ronaldo’s dream is well and truly alive.
After giving an explosive interview to Piers Morgan criticizing the English giants, Ronaldo’s contract with Manchester United was mutually terminated, with off-the-field problems marred in his World Cup appearance.
But now Ronaldo and his Portuguese teammates can get a good run into the World Cup semi-finals with France.
Ronaldo won them all at club level and played in Portugal’s Euro 2016 win but was injured in the final.
Fernandes scored two goals Monday as Portugal beat Uruguay 2-0 and sent Portugal to World Cup qualifiers alongside France and Brazil.
The Manchester United midfielder hit a cross in the ninth minute of the second half, then added an injury time penalty after a handball from Jose Maria Gimenez.
This means that Portugal is the Group H favorite followed by the second place from Group F – it will likely be Switzerland.
And Portugal could face Croatia in the quarter-finals as Germany seems unlikely to qualify.
Analytics site Nielsen has run more than a million simulations of the remaining matches in Qatar and predicts Portugal will face France in the semi-finals.
In such a case, it gives a 50-50 chance to both teams.
Overall, Nielsen says Portugal currently has a 19 percent chance of making the final – even with Argentina and only behind France (20 percent) and Brazil (38 percent).
Of course, all of this is a long road.
Portugal faced the Republic of Korea in the last group match and secured the top with just one draw.
«It was a well-deserved victory,» Portugal coach Fernando Santos said of the Uruguay win. “The first episode is over, we’re in a hurry. Now I will continue to work to improve what needs improvement,” he said.
«The team deserved it, they were solid and very strong both in terms of the quality of play and the bond between them.»
With Portugal already victorious, Uruguay must also beat Ghana in their last Group H match to have a chance to advance.
Both sides made three substitutions in their opening games, and Portugal brought in senior Pepe for Danilo Pereira, an injured who cracked his ribs in practice.
Pepe became the third-oldest outfielder in World Cup history, his first full 90 minutes in over a month and a half.
«I worked hard with my club (Porto) and it gave me the opportunity to be 100 percent for the A National Team,» Pepe said of his surprise start.
Portugal dominated the first half, had possession of the ball and created a few chances, but never tested Uruguay goalkeeper Sergio Rochet.
Uruguay’s forwards Edinson Cavani and Darwin Nunez were craving the ball, but the South Americans still had the best chance of the first period.
Rodrigo Bentancur took the ball in his own half and rushed forward, dodging between the two defenders and finding himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Diogo Costa, who dealt well to save the midfielder’s shot.
Ronaldo was largely anonymous in the first 45 minutes, but pleased the fans with his shoulder pass to pick volley incoming William Carvalho.
Fernandes said that despite scoring the goal, he thought Ronaldo had opened Portugal.
The Manchester United midfielder’s midfield to Ronaldo went straight to the back, but the veteran striker was a whisker away from making contact with the ball.
«I celebrated like it was Cristiano’s goal, it felt like he touched the ball to me, my goal was to throw the ball for him,» Fernandes said.
«The important thing is that we can go to the next round and get a very important win against a very tough opponent.»
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