- Cristiano Ronaldo wants Portugal to quickly recover from the devastating loss that cost them a spot in the World Cup next year.
- Coach Fernando Santos also was under pressure at home, with some calling for his departure.
Cristiano Ronaldo wants Portugal to bounce back swiftly from the shocking loss that cost them a place in next year’s World Cup.
Portugal, playing at home and needing just a draw to qualify for the tournament in Qatar, conceded in the 90th minute of Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Serbia and was relegated to a playoff with 11 other nations that will be placed next year.
“Time and time again, football has shown us that sometimes the most arduous ways lead us to the most desired results,” Ronaldo said on Instagram on Monday.
After four consecutive appearances in the tournament since 2006, the 36-year-old veteran could be facing his final World Cup.
“Yesterday’s result was difficult but not difficult enough to discourage us,” he remarked.
“Our objective of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup is still alive and well, and we know what we want to do to get there.”
“There are no excuses,”
“Portugal is en route to Qatar.”
Portugal looked strong early in their match against Serbia at the Stadium of Light in Lisbon, scoring with Renato Sanches only two minutes. However, it struggled after that, allowing the visitors to equalise through Dusan Tadic in the 33rd minute and substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic to score the game-winning goal in the final minutes.
After the late goal, Ronaldo was enraged, shouting and yelling at his teammates from midfield as he awaited the game to start. He sat alone on the field after the last whistle, shaking his head and appearing despondent. Finally, he was consoled by a group of teammates and opponents.
The veteran goalkeeper, Rui Patrcio, was blamed for the first goal’s blunder when he couldn’t keep on to the ball after Tadic’s shot deflected off a Portugal defender.
Coach Fernando Santos also was under pressure at home, with some calling for his departure.
Santos remarked, “I’m upset and frustrated, but I still have faith in myself and my guys.”
“Even though the most recent findings were unfavourable, there’s no reason we shouldn’t believe in ourselves.”
Portugal was getting off a 2-2 draw against Ireland, which had already been eliminated. After seven matches, it was tied for first place with Serbia on points but had the benefit of qualifying with a draw due to a stronger goal difference.
On Monday, the headlines in a Portuguese daily read “Miserable” and “World Shame.”
Portugal will compete in the UEFA Nations League playoffs alongside the other nine group runners-up and two group winners. Next March, the 12 nations will compete in three four-team brackets, with the seeded teams receiving a home game in the bracket semifinals.
After missing out on the competition from 1990 to 1998, Portugal has played in every World Cup since 2002. However, Uruguay knocked it out of the 2018 World Cup in Russia in the round of 16.
Serbia had already come back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Portugal in their March qualifier.
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