Cristiano Ronaldo: When Portugal’s star destroyed Sweden to secure the World Cup place
Whether Portugal will reach 2022 World Cup out in Qatar, they must emerge victorious in the dreaded European finals.
Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates simply had to avoid defeat against Serbia in order to automatically qualify for the tournament, but a late winner from Aleksandar Mitrovic sentenced Fernando Santos’ team to second place in Group A.
The playoffs can be an absolutely ruthless environment and Portugal must be at their very best in March if they are to secure a World Cup place.
As always seems to be the case, the responsibility will lie with Ronaldo – the leading scorer in international football for men – to produce the goods for his country.
The 36-year-old rarely delivers for Portugal and already in 2013 Manchester United they delivered without a doubt the best performance in the history of the finals of the European World Cup.
After securing a 1-0 home victory, A Seleção traveled to Sweden knowing that all they needed was to avoid defeat.
Sam Allardyce at Newcastle, Conte and more (Football Terrace)
Everything looked good when Ronaldo put the lead for Portugal to 1-0 in the 50th minute, but the pendulum swung back in favor of the hosts thanks to a quick position from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Sweden’s lively recovery, however, was short-lived.
In the 77th minute, Ronaldo struck for the second time, before two minutes later he hit his hat-trick superbly to send Portugal to the 2014 World Cup.
It was really amazing stuff from without a doubt the best football player ever and you can relive the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s masterpiece against Sweden below.
Video: Ronaldo destroys Sweden to send Portugal to the 2014 World Cup
What. A player.
Only mortals would tremble and then falter under such enormous pressure, but Ronaldo only seems to improve when it gets tough.
Portugal will hope to be able to perform similar playoff hero modes in 2022, when the big man will be 37 years old.
Given his age, the World Cup in Qatar will almost certainly be his last chance to win the most coveted trophy in the sport of football.
Will we see a “Last Dance” from Ronaldo in the Middle East? You would be an idiot to bet that it happens …