World Cup: Portugal advance

A double from Bruno Fernandes propelled Portugal to the round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup on Monday in Qatar. Cristiano Ronaldo’s squad 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 Rochet, who had to respect this possibility of redirection, was finally foiled.

A Uruguayan handball in the penalty area then allowed Fernandes to add his second goal with a penalty kick during second-half stoppage time.

“Our whole team had a great performance against a difficult opponent,” said Portuguese coach Fernando Santos, according to AFP. We managed to find spaces and control the match, to create movement. We prevented Uruguay from doing what they know how to do, playing on the counter-attack.

It is certainly a sweet revenge for Portugal, which had just been eliminated by Uruguay in the round of 16 at the last World Cup, in 2018. But already, the team is turned towards the final match of the round preliminary against South Korea, with the firm intention of finishing first in Group H.

“It was different circumstances four years ago,” Santos said of the most recent clash between the two nations. It was then a round of 16. This time, Uruguay could have won, but we won, it’s a great satisfaction to go through the round. That’s what we wanted. I said that my team is very united, that we have a very good team spirit, and we provide answers. We are not yet sure of being in the lead, we want to be the first.

No discomfort

Ronaldo announced during the World Cup that he was leaving Manchester United, where he also played alongside Fernandes. If rumors of disagreements between the two men have hovered recently, the two men have made things clear, in particular with a hug following the first goal.

Asked to comment on Ronaldo’s decision, Fernandes declined to take a position.

“I don’t feel uncomfortable, I don’t have to choose a side,” Fernandes said. It was a privilege to play in the national team with Cristiano and in the club. Cristiano has always been an inspiration to me, it was a dream come true to play with him, but nothing lasts forever.”

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