Portugal 2-0 Iceland – Cristiano Ronaldo and team sweep to victory in Euro qualifying encounter in Lisbon – Eurosport
There was no sign of the Beautiful South, but a dominant Portugal completed their ‘Perfect 10’ as they waltzed to a 2-0 victory over Iceland in Euro 2024 qualifying, ensuring they head to Germany next year on the back of 10 wins in as many matches.
The hosts, keen to sign off the campaign with a victory, enjoyed 78% of the possession in the first half and had 15 shots, six of them on target, but it took until the 37th minute to break the deadlock.
Joao Felix had two efforts saved, while Goncalo Inacio and Cristiano Ronaldo missed headers from close range, before Bruno Fernandes finally opened the scoring by firing home from just inside the box.
Things continued in a similar fashion after the break, as Hakon Valdimarsson superbly denied Ronaldo, before substitute Ricardo Horta finally made it 2-0 after a rebound fell at his feet.
Valdimarsson continued to play party-pooper deep into the second half, making further stops to deny Joao Cancelo and Raphael Guerreiro, before the latter was involved as Iceland hit the bar at the other end, deflecting Arnor Traustason’s shot onto the woodwork in injury time.
TALKING POINT – Ronaldo doesn’t quite finish as top dog
Going into today’s fixtures, Cristiano Ronaldo looked a good bet to finish the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with the golden boot, thanks to netting ten goals in eight games.
That was until Romelu Lukaku bagged four in Belgium’s demolition of Azerbaijan, taking him on to 14 for the group phase.
Ronaldo desperately tried to get back on terms with him, but missed a hatful of headed chances as he failed to convert any of his seven shooting opportunities.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Joao Felix (Portugal). This was as dominant a performance as you could wish for from a Portugal point of view, and the man at the heart of most of their attacking moves was Joao Felix.
The former Chelsea loanee caused Iceland no end of problems with his twinkling toes, regularly beating his man before getting a shot or cross away.
It is a mystery as to how he didn’t get a goal on the night, almost as mystifying as to how he struggled in the Premier League, but this was a top-notch performance.
PORTUGAL: Costa 6; Mario 7, Dias 7, Inacio 6, Cancelo 7; Silva 7, Otavio 7, Fernandes 8, Palhinha 7, Felix 8; Ronaldo 6. Subs: Horta 7, Guerreiro 6, Vitinha 6, Bruma n/a, Joao Neves n/a
ICELAND: Valdimarsson 8; Hermannsson 6, Thorarinsson 6, Ingason 8, Palsson 6; Sigurdsson 6, Johannesson 6, Willumsson 5; Thorsteinsson 5, Finnbogason 4, Gudmundsson 5. Subs: Oskarsson 5, Gudjohnsen 6, Ellertsson 6, Traustason 6
37’ GOAL! PORTUGAL 1-0 ICELAND (Bruno Fernandes). It’s been coming! The deadlock is finally broken as Fernandes finds the far bottom corner with a terrific, thumping low drive that the ‘keeper can’t get close to. The Manchester United man is left in space on the edge of the box, and he makes Iceland pay. 1-0!
52’ EXCELLENT SAVE DENIES RONALDO. Mario curls in a cross from the right which is met by a diving Ronaldo, and although he gets a powerful header on target, Valdimarsson gets down to his right to make a good stop
66’ GOAL! PORTUGAL 2-0 ICELAND (Ricardo Horta). The substitute scores with what must be his first touch! Felix’s shot is saved, as is Ronaldo’s rebound, only for the ball to spill to Horta, who taps into an empty net from five yards out
90+3’ OFF THE BAR! Iceland comes inches away from pulling one back! Oskarsson has an effort saved, but the ball falls to Traustasson on the edge of the area. He pulls the trigger and Guerreiro gets a head on it, nodding the ball onto the bar!
- With ten wins from ten games, Portugal go through a European Championship qualifying campaign unbeaten for the first time
- Iceland’s total of ten points is signals their worst European Championship qualifying group stage since their attempts to reach Euro 2012