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Portugal starts the World Cup by beating Ghana: where they still carry Ronaldo on their hands


Captain, starting eleven, a World Cup record with a penalty kick gift – and even the opponent imitates their own celebration: Cristiano Ronaldo was shown every conceivable honor at Portugal's World Cup opener. The tears already came to him at the anthem.

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Ruben Dias, Diogo Costa and a visibly touched Cristiano Ronaldo during the Portuguese anthem

Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The referee takes, the referee gives:

After just over half an hour, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo had every reason to drive out of his skin.

The 37-year-old Portuguese record scorer had just used his third big chance of the game to score the first goal.

But the goal could not count, referee Ismail Elfath had whistled for a controversial foul.

And because he had done that before the goal was scored, even the video assistant was no longer allowed to intervene to correct it.

As if to appease Ronaldo's wrath, Elfath made the next notable decision half an hour later, this time at the other end.

Mohammed Salisu tipped the ball clean off Ronaldo's foot, the superstar fell - and was awarded a penalty, which he converted in his own manner.

Some call such refereeing "line",

The result:

Elfath's mistakes were followed by a small spectacle at the Stadion 974 in Doha, the 3:2 (0:0) for Portugal was well deserved despite the penalty.

Here is the game report.

22 players on the field, but only one protagonist:

the game between Portugal and Ghana was the stage for someone who helped shape the world's top sport for two decades, only to crash in the end.

For Cristiano Ronaldo, his fifth World Cup will probably be his last.

He denies it as a player without a club, after he was initially unable to assert himself at Manchester United, and then fell out with the coach and club management until the contract was terminated.

Whether Ronaldo can return to a world club, whether he can perhaps even crown his career with the world title: it will be decided in Qatar.

The superstar seems aware of the importance of the tournament, during the Portuguese anthem »CR7« brought tears to his eyes.

Unfortunate touches:

On the pitch, the Portuguese tailored their game to their goalscorer as usual.

They could afford it: as a co-favorite against 61st in the Fifa world rankings, who had recently been led out of the crisis by coach Otto Addo, Portugal was in possession of the ball more than two-thirds of the time, and the passing accuracy was consistently at 90 percent.

The dominance was there, Ronaldo should refine it.

A weak first contact, however, destroyed a great chance, Lawrence Ati-Zigi in goal for Ghana remained the winner (10th minute).

A header from the third floor went just wide (13').

Then came the contact with Alexander Djiku, which as a supposed foul prevented Ronaldo from scoring his goal before the break (31st).

Tarantini's legacy:

The converted penalty in the second half then made Ronaldo the first player in history to score at least one goal in five World Cups.

An impressive achievement, but perhaps not even the most exciting statistic: »CR7« is also the first player since Alberto Tarantini in 1978 to score in a World Cup without a club.

A good omen for Portugal: Tarantini became world champion with Argentina.

And Ghana?

The outsider had gotten the first end of the game just a few minutes before the deficit, Mohammed Kudus had tried from distance.

Anyway: Kudus, 22 years old and noticed this season with four Champions League goals for Ajax Amsterdam, used the stage of the game best for himself.

It was also the attacking midfielder who initiated André Ayew's interim equalization for the »Black Stars« with a wing run down the left.

Portugal, unleashed:

With the substitution of Rafael Leão, Portugal then made a good comeback.

With the AC Milan winger, they now had a real pacemaker up front, playmaker Bruno Fernandes first served João Félix (78') against the now busy Ghanaian defense, then Leão himself with powerful passes in depth.

Despite the record goal, the discussion as to whether Portugal's young players are gradually outstripping Ronaldo in sport will continue.

Being Ronaldo

for once: Of course, the superstar still works better as an icon than anyone else. This was shown by the opponent of all people: Osman Bukari scored the connection for Ghana and celebrated his header with the classic Ronaldo celebration (89th).

With all the joy about the 2: 3: The Ghanaian defeat remained.

Terrible end:

The game, which went from dull to wild in the second half, still had one final chord to offer: In the last minute of added time, Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa failed to see that Ghana striker Iñaki Williams was lurking behind him.

While Costa wanted to lay the ball down comfortably to shoot away, Williams intervened attentively - and Costa was able to thank his quick defense for not being the idiot of the game after the final whistle (90 + 10).

Here's what's next:

Ghana are still in Group H, but they should win against South Korea on Monday (2 p.m.).

Portugal take on Uruguay on the same day (8pm).

Source: spiegel

All sports articles on 2022-11-24

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