Cristiano Ronaldo scored one and assisted the other for Portugal in a 2-0 win over Wales in Wednesday’s Euro 2016 semi-final clash at the Stade des Lumières. And with Portugal now in the final of the European Championships for the first time in 12 years, the Real Madrid attacker revealed after the game how determined he is to make amends for their past failure.
Portugal will be underdogs going into the game as they’ll face a tournament favourite in France or Germany, but Ronaldo is full of confidence in his side. He believes Portugal can overcome any obstacle put in front of them, and lauded the team with praise after finally winning a game in Euro 2016 in 90 minutes.
“The team did a marvellous job to reach the final. It’s what we have dreamt of since the beginning. We knew it would be a long road and we’re still in the tournament. I hope on Sunday you’ll see me crying with joy. I always said I wanted to win something with Portugal. We’re closer to doing it and I believe that we’ll win. I’ve been at the highest level for 13 years. The statistics never lie,” he said.
Portugal’s route to the final has been interesting given they hadn’t won a game in normal time prior to the semi-final victory over Wales. Fernando Santos’ men finish third in Group F with just three points from a possible nine, despite having a group featuring Hungary, Iceland and Austria. Nevertheless, they proved their credentials by doing enough in the knockouts to dispatch of the much-fancied Croatia and Poland.
It took an extra time goal from Portugal to put Croatia to the sword in the last-16, and they went to penalties against Poland in the quarter-finals. Fernando Santos’ side can only beat what has been put in front of them, and with the second-most clean sheets in the tournament going into the final, Portugal are perhaps deserved of more credit in truth.
Cristiano Ronaldo has had a topsy-turvy tournament, missing a host of chances in games, but always looking the most likely to get on the scoresheet for his country. He’s enjoyed playing up front with former Manchester United teammate Luis Nani, and the chemistry of the two players has led to three goals scored each from five games, as well as three assists in total. Ronaldo, for all his criticism, was key to Portugal’s victory against Wales and could be the difference in the final.