In a thrilling encounter between Serbia and Portugal on Monday, Portugal lost 2-1 despite scoring first in just the second minute of the game. A Seleção’s only goal came from Renato Sanches, while captain and talisman Cristiano Ronaldo failed to get on the score sheet after blanking against Ireland in the previous match as well.
For Serbia, two important goals by Dusan Tadic and Aleksandar Mitrovic were enough to overturn the result and cement their place in the 2022 World Cup.
After the final whistle, Cristiano Ronaldo sat on the field looking dejected, with teammates and opponents consoling him. Serbian forward Nemanja Radonjic took to Instagram to console the star, captioning the post “Hand to the greatest!”
Portugal‘s loss has now put them in second place, three points behind Serbia. They must now turn their attention to winning their qualifier game if they are to be in Qatar come 2022. The pressure on Cristiano Ronaldo to lead his team to the World Cup is especially high, as this might be his last appearance in the competition.
Currently 36, the Manchester United star admitted in his interview with RTP television that his team’s performance had been poor:
“We have to take responsibility because we had a poor game. We just defended in the second half. Credit to Serbia, they played very well but we had the capacity to be on top.
“Everyone in the dressing room is disappointed but we have to look ahead to the playoffs now because we are more than good enough to be in the World Cup. You can’t win all the time. Difficulties are part of life and this feeling should give us more strength.”
Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest ever goalscorer in men’s international competitions with 115 goals for Portugal, but the elusive World Cup remains the only competition he has played in and failed to win.
Cristiano Ronaldo rallies Portugal with Instagram post
After the shocking loss against Serbia, Cristiano Ronaldo rallied Portugal’s troops to try improve their spirits for the upcoming playoffs. He noted that getting to the World Cup was still possible, and the squad knew what they needed to do:
“Football has shown us time and time again that, at times, it is the most winding paths that lead to the most desired outcomes. Yesterday’s result was tough, but not enough to get us down.
“The objective of being present at the 2022 World Cup is still very much alive and we know what we have to do to get there. No excuses.”
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