Portugal’s captain Cristiano Ronaldo carved his name further into football history with a last-minute winner in his record-breaking 200th international appearance. His 123rd international goal helped Portugal defeat Iceland 1-0 in their Euro 2024 qualifier.
Ronaldo’s Historic Night
Ronaldo, 38, became the first men’s player in his two-decade career to earn 200 international caps, breaking Kuwait’s Bader Al-Mutawa’s mark established in March. Guinness World Records honoured the Al-Nassr forward’s achievement with a pre-game certificate.
Despite leaving Europe for Saudi Arabia after the World Cup, Ronaldo remains an important member of the Portuguese squad, appearing regularly in their starting lineup. His historic 200th cap was marked by a late goal, which was initially ruled out for offside by Goncalo Inacio. However, the decision was overturned following a video assistant referee review.
Ronaldo responded to the award by saying, “For me, it’s an unbelievable achievement, it’s amazing… And, of course, to score the winning goal, it’s even more special.”
The game in Reykjavik was a closely contested affair, with Portugal dominating early possession but struggling to find rhythm in attacking areas. Despite the challenge, Ronaldo’s determination shone through. His goal came after a smart header into his path from Goncalo Inacio, resulting in a late but much-needed victory.
Iceland, which had only one win in the qualifiers, was dealt another setback when Willum Willumsson was shown his second yellow card with ten minutes remaining, reducing them to ten men.
Despite not being at their best, Portugal has started its UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with four wins in four games, scoring 14 goals and conceding none. Roberto Martinez’s players exhibited their ability to break past strong defences, resulting in yet another win for the Selecao.
Player of the Match – Cristiano Ronaldo
While it was not his best performance, Ronaldo displayed his value to the squad by scoring the game-winning goal when it was most required. His match-winning contribution on his milestone appearance highlighted the striker’s insatiable desire for goals. “We didn’t play well, but that’s how football is sometimes.” “I’m overjoyed because I have 200 caps, but this is even more special,” Ronaldo commented post-match.
In conclusion, Ronaldo’s 200th international appearance and record-extending goal underlined his status as a living legend in football, whilst his performance helped secure Portugal’s position in the Euro 2024 qualifying matches.