2014 World Cup
Returning Ronaldo leads Portugal to big win
Publish Date: Jun 11, 2014
Returning Ronaldo leads Portugal to big win
Ronaldo (L) of Portugal moves the ball against Jeff Hendrick (C) and Stephen Kelly (R) of the Republic of Ireland during an international friendly match ahead of the World Cup on June 10, 2014 at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. PHOTO/AFP
  • mail
  • img

EAST RUTHERFORD - Cristiano Ronaldo had a hand in a goal and hit a post on his return as Portugal concluded their World Cup preparations with a 5-1 romp over the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday.

The Real Madrid striker, who missed his country's previous two warm-up games because of thigh and knee injuries, was not at his brilliant best for long periods of a one-sided friendly in the United States.

But coach Paulo Bento was just relieved to see his captain and talisman back after an injury layoff that had sparked fears that Ronaldo might not be fit for Brazil.

Ronaldo was substituted on 65 minutes, but it appeared to have been a planned change and there was no indication that he was suffering any ill effects from his injury problems.

He was replaced by Real teammate Pepe, a key defender and another whose World Cup preparations have been badly hindered by injury.

"Ronaldo played a good match, especially when considering that he has not played competitively for two weeks," said Bento.

"Players like him are important for any team, and that is the case with ourselves too. It's good to have him back."

Portugal, who were flying to Brazil immediately after the match, start their World Cup assault against Germany on June 16 in Group G -- the so-called "Group of Death" -- which also includes the USA and Ghana.

Raul Meireles also returned to the side after injury, giving Bento a full squad to choose from for the first time in the build-up to Brazil.

"The players are all fit and we have no concerns," said Bento. "That's very positive."

It took Ronaldo just 51 seconds to show what he can do, picking the ball up and powering towards goal, but his shot from outside the box was comfortable for Irish keeper David Forde.

With their next attack, on three minutes, Portugal took the lead, as Silvestre Varela crossed from the right and striker Hugo Almeida rose unmarked to crash home a header.

Ronaldo's next contribution, on 10 minutes, was to slip awkwardly as he tried to turn, drawing gasps from the 46,000 crowd at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

But the 29-year-old, cheered every time he touched the ball, picked himself up off the turf -- no doubt to the relief of Bento and 10.5 million Portuguese.

Ronaldo was inches away from grabbing a second on 19 minutes, but his direct free kick from 20 yards pinged off the inside of Forde's post.

Cristiano Ronaldo had a hand in a goal and hit a post on his return. PHOTO/AFP

A minute later it was 2-0, as a Fabio Coentrao cross was deflected off the Irish boot of Richard Keough, the ball looping over Forde and beyond his outstretched glove.

On 37 minutes Ronaldo was heavily involved as the Portuguese went 3-0 up. His close-range header was saved by Forde but Almeida was quickest to the rebound to net his second of the match.

Great to have Ronaldo back

An experimental Irish side showed greater appetite for the fight in the second half and scored the best goal of the night, as a quick free kick caught Portugal napping, setting James McClean free in the box.

He still had plenty to do, but did it brilliantly, slaloming towards goal before unleashing a shot that gave keeper Rui Patricio no chance.

Portugal put gloss on the scoreline in the closing stages as Nani, a substitute, set up Vieirinha to thrash home and then teed up Coentrao for number five.

Nani, who impressed in his cameo, said it was "great" to have Ronaldo back.

"I think he showed he's good, he's well, and I think he showed he will be 100 percent," said the Manchester United winger.

"We are in a tough group but when you are in the World Cup you know you have to challenge the best teams. We are ready for that and we are confident."


The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Brazil parts with coach Luiz Felipe Scolari
BRAZIL'S football confederation will not renew the contract of national coach Luiz Felipe Scolari after the five-time World Cup winners were mauled by Germany in a humiliating 7-1 defeat...
Germany erupted in ecstasy Sunday, with fans dancing the night away, the World Cup final win against Argentina that handed the country its historic fourth title....
Germany beat Argentina to win 2014 World Cup
Mario Goetze comes off the bench to score the winning goal as Germany beat Argentina in the Brazil 2014 World Cup final....
ARGENTINA coach Alejandro Sabella claims his side will need to play a perfect game to overcome favourites Germany and win the World Cup for a third time in Rio de Janeiro...
World Cup 2014 stars and flops
A look at players that excelled in this World Cup and those that were expected to perform but turned out to be awful....
World Cup glory: Germany in Messi
If there is one scenario the approximately 200 million Brazilians dread witnessing this Sunday, its rivals Argentina celebrate a third World Cup title on Brazilian soil....
Is Uganda ready for the pope's visit?
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter