Bruno Fernandes’ brace propelled Portugal into the last 16 of the FIFA World Cup on Monday in Qatar. Cristiano Ronaldo’s team beat Uruguay 2-0.
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The first goal, which came in the 54th minute of play, required the effort of Ronaldo, who came within inches of redirecting the ball with a header. Goalkeeper Sergio Rochette, who had to respect this possibility of redirection, was thwarted.
Then a Uruguayan handball in the box allowed Fernandez to add his second goal with a penalty kick during stoppage time in the second half.
“Our entire team gave a great performance against a tough opponent,” Portuguese coach Fernando Santos was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse. We were able to find spaces and control the game, to create movement. Uruguay prevented us from doing what they know how to do, which is to play on the counter-attack.
It is certainly a sweet revenge for Portugal, who had just been knocked out in the round of 16 in the last World Cup, in 2018. But already, the team turned towards the final match of the preliminary round against South Korea, with the firm intention of claiming first place in Group H.
“Four years ago, circumstances were different,” Santos said of the latest confrontation between the two countries. It was then the Round of 16. This time, Uruguay could have won, but we won, it’s a pleasure to go through the Round. That’s what we wanted. I said my team is very united, we have a very good team spirit, and we give answers. We are not yet sure that we are ahead, we want to be the first.
Do not disturb
Ronaldo announced during the World Cup that he was leaving Manchester United, where he also played alongside Fernandez. If rumors of rifts between the two men have swirled recently, the two men have made things clear, particularly with the first goal hug.
Asked to comment on Ronaldo’s decision, Fernandez refused to take a stand.
“I don’t feel uncomfortable, I don’t have to pick a team,” Fernandez said. It was an honor to play in the national team with Cristiano and in the club. Cristiano has always been an inspiration to me, it was a dream to play with him, but nothing lasts forever.”