Cristiano Ronaldo made World Cup history on Thursday by scoring in five different editions, but Portugal were thwarted by Ghana (3-2) in their opening match in Qatar.
Still hungry for goals at 37, Ronaldo opened the scoring against Ghana (3-2) by converting a penalty kick in the 65th minute.
Ronaldo, who has just terminated his contract with Manchester United by mutual agreement after a public argument with a flamethrower, assures that this series “will not shake” his choice. And he brought the first proof of that.
Already the all-time leading goalscorer in select football, a status he confirmed on Thursday (he has 118 goals in 192 caps), he has added a new chapter to his already impressive legend.
“Ronaldo is a phenomenon. In 50 years we will continue to talk about him,” Portuguese coach Fernando Santos welcomed after this hard-fought victory.
The penalty kick awarded to “CR7” was called a “gift” from the referee by his Ghanaian counterpart, Otto Addo. Joao Felix (78) and Rafael Leao (80) scored the other two Portuguese goals.
However, I’m not sure that we will remember the performance of the Portuguese as a whole for a long time. Without being in real danger, they conceded two goals in Ghana. It’s enough to keep the suspense going until the very end.
But the most important thing is, except for the initial victory and first place in Group H, after a tie between Uruguay and South Korea (0-0).
Richarlison forces the Serbian lock
Later in the day, the striker Richarlison’s second-half brace gave Brazil a 2-0 victory after a long battle with the heroic Serbian defense as the two teams played in Doha.
Thus, the Seleçao leads Group G on goal difference, tied on points with Switzerland, defeating Cameroon 1-0 at the beginning of the afternoon. The Brazilians and the Swiss will face opposition on Monday during the second day.
At the Lusail Stadium where the final will take place on December 18, Brazil immediately took possession of the match on its own, with Neymar very active and also not sparing his defensive exercises, until his substitute in the 80’s, apparently injured one foot.
For an hour, the Serbian defense and its remarkably large volumes put it in front of the excellent goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, but defeated several opposing attempts.
Because Brazil clearly dominated this game (24 shots against 4 in the entire match according to FIFA stats) and they deserved the win to a large extent.
In the first period, Tete’s side had three big scoring chances. The first in the 27th minute, but giant Milinkovic-Savic emerged victorious at the feet of Vinicius Jr., who was perfectly fired by Thiago Silva, captain of Oriverdi.
Then Rafinha found himself alone against the Serbian goal after one goal with Paqueta, but his very weak shot from the left was hit by the Turin goalkeeper (35th place).
Six minutes later, it was Vinicius, and Casemiro alerted him, who seemed very close to opening the scoring by taking advantage of Nikola Milinkovic’s mistake, but the latter redeemed himself by returning to block the Real Madrid striker’s shot (41).
One then wondered how long the Serbian defense would hold up against these waves of yellow and green attacks. Outrageous dominance, such that Dragan Stojkovic’s men failed to take a single shot on goal in the first 45 minutes!
What’s the point!
The same scenario was repeated since the start of the second half, and Ravenha lost again, after taking possession of the ball from Nemanja Gudili, to Milinkovic-Savic (46th).
Neymar had a wonderful opportunity with a free kick whistle from the perfect distance to commit a foul on himself, but his shot was deflected by the Serbian wall (49).
After Alex Sandro volleyed at the bottom of the right post of the opposing goal, Brazil ended up finding the opening and being saved by their striker Richarlison, who sent a ball into the net that was pushed back by Milinkovic-Savic. A strike from Vinicius Jr. (63rd) was fired by Neymar.
Bound to discover themselves, the Serbs managed to be dangerous, especially in the corners, but were held back by Brazilian counterattacks.
And in one of them, the Tottenham striker gave himself a double and fired his goal from a series of right-handed strikes that revolved around the left control (73). Fabulous!
The score remained there despite a new shot from Gabriel Jesus hitting the crossbar (81′).
Brazil can be reassured by this introduction, as they face an opponent who was already in their group for the 2918 World Cup in Russia. Serbia, however, will have to show a more offensive attack if it finally wants to cross the chicken path, after its failures in 2010 and 2018.
Switzerland finally took over Cameroon for 45 minutes 1-0 in the first match of Group G at the World Cup, courtesy of a goal from Cameroon-born but opted for “Nati” sports team Brill Embolo.
But from the start, we saw the Cameroonians well placed, solid at the back and organized tactically to prevent the Swiss from playing deep, with Andre Franck Anguisa, the Napoli midfielder, ubiquitous in midfield.
It didn’t take the Indomitable Lions 10 minutes to create their first chance, when Brian Mbeumu sprinted from his own half into the back of the defence. He chose to try his luck, while Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting was in the middle, but Natty goalkeeper Jan Sommer made his first save of the match.
Four minutes later, the Bayern Munich striker found himself alone against Sommer and lost his duel.
Helpless in the match, the Swiss could not get the Cameroonian defense out of position. A Niko Elvi header off target from a corner kick (40) was ultimately their most dangerous action in the first half.
Cameroon dominated the debate, proving dangerous in every encounter.
Uruguay and South Korea remain silent
Despite the presence of scorers Luis Suarez and Son Heung-min, Uruguay, the quarter-finalists of the last edition, and South Korea tied 0-0 in their first appearance in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar (Group F), Thursday at Al-Rayyan Stadium.
The owner of a double in the round of 16, which opposed the two teams in the 2010 World Cup (2-1), Luis Suarez remained silent this time. During this balanced and lively match despite the lack of goals, captain Celeste, 35, was very discreet and replaced him in the 64th minute with Edinson Cavani, also 35.
Injured right ankle three weeks before the World Cup, the former PSG and Manchester United centre-forward, now in Valencia, started on the bench.
A victim of a broken left eye during a Champions League match against Marseille in early November, South Korea star Son Heung-min has had a good start. The Tottenham striker, who recently underwent surgery, wore a protective mask.
Very prominent in Real Madrid since the start of the season (8 goals and 4 assists) Federico Valverde got the first Uruguayan opportunity after a start dominated by the South Koreans, but his attempt went beyond the top, and the South Korean cage (19).
Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez, who was fooled by the rebound, missed a recovery (22), then was unable to score a goal after a bad pass from Matias Oliveira (27).
The South Koreans responded with former Girondins de Bordeaux striker Hwang Ui Jo alone against Sergio Rochette’s goal, but they were unable to score the goal (34).
The most dangerous work finally came from defender Diego Godin. At the age of 36, the most capped Uruguay national team (160 caps) made his flag leading the match talking on set pieces, but his attempt was denied by the post (43).