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Portugal slip into the round of 16 with a boss-sized Bruno Fernandes

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A usual question no doubt. Cristiano Ronaldo has celebrated 118 national team goals, so he’s celebrating 119e with its characteristic jump and this guttural cry imitated before this Portugal-Uruguay by hundreds of spectators in the corridors of the metro near the Lusail stadium, Tuesday, November 29. But the video and FIFA are formal, “CR7” did not even touch this cross from Bruno Fernandes at 54e minute. If Ronaldo has the merit of disturbing the opposing goalkeeper by his movement, the paternity of the goal belongs to the passer. And in stoppage time, it is still the midfielder of Manchester United transforms a penalty, caused by his care, to seal the victory of the Seleçao (2-0).

Read also: Portugal-Uruguay: Fernandes, Ronaldo and their teammates qualified for the round of 16

Two successes in two games, Fernando Santos’ players can already travel in business class to the round of 16 of this World Cup like France and Brazil even before facing South Korea on Friday. But in its collective expression, this Portugal still remains an object to be defined. Talent is overflowing everywhere, but still popping up intermittently and there is also this unfortunate tendency to drop out of matches. Uruguay thus had three equalizing balls, but the clumsiness of Edinson Cavani, the bad luck (with the strike on the post of Maxi Gomez) and the talent of the young Diogo Costa in the cages decided otherwise.

At times, this Portugal even suffered. Maybe he likes it, deep down. In 2016, the victory at the Euro had a background of masochism and a large dose of solidarity. “It’s also important to know how to suffer, especially against an aggressive team like Uruguay, but we controlled this game well and developed our game”, assures midfielder Ruben Neves.

The Portuguese student can do even better. Passed through the roadblocks to validate his presence in Qatar, he found a beginning of identity with Bruno Fernandes and Joao Felix as offbeat designers on the wings and a Bernardo Silva as a free electron in the centre. There remains the question, the one that no Portuguese journalist ventures to ask out of respect for the icon. Can this Portugal be more sparkling without its captain, scorer and head of the gondola?

As soon as he was asked about Ronaldo or what starts to look like a power grab from Bruno Fernandes, Fernando Santos let out a sigh and then began his long, almost minute-by-minute summary of the game. “I do not want to speak publicly about the personal cases of my players”, he says in the preamble. Shame. ” I said that my team is very united, that we have a very good team spirit, and we provide answers, ” savors (without ever smiling) the technician, no more revengeful than that against Uruguayans who knocked out his team in the round of 16 during the 2018 edition.

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