WORLD CUP 2018: 'Lucky' Cristiano Ronaldo, 'Pathetic' Portugal Scrape Through To The Round Of 16

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Portugal are into the round of 16 after finishing Group B in second place

Written By Narayan R | Mumbai | Updated On:
(Source: Getty Images)

Well, what can be said about Portugal's display in the group stage of World Cup 2018. They started of with a fighting 3-3 draw against Spain, which included a hat-trick from skipper and star man Cristiano Ronaldo.

Following the performance, the mood in the camp was bright, and it seemed the Euro 2016 champions will easily qualify from the group. But in the following two matches, Portugal showed how 'pathetic' they are, and should definitely consider themselves lucky to pass the group.

The 1-0 win against Morocco was one of the 'steals' of the tournament. Ronaldo's fourth minute goal got them the lead, but after that, their opponents dominated the match. It seemed that Morocco were one of the favorites to win the tournaments, and Portugal were playing like an underdog.

After the poor showing, everyone expected them to improve in the all important match against Iran. Now, Iran are no superpowers of world football, but they aren't any pushovers. Under Carlos Queiroz, they came into the tournament as one of the strongest defensive unit.

READ: WATCH: Cristiano Ronaldo Urging Iran Fans To Let Him Sleep

Against Iran, the performance of Ronaldo and Portugal was beyond words. Not in the positive sense though!

The Euro 2016 champions didn't seem up for the occasion, and took the lead in the first half stoppage time through a wondrous effort from Quaresma. Barring that strike, Portugal created next to nothing, and seemed happy to get a point against a disciplined Iran unit.

But the second half exposed the frailties of Portugal from back to front. None of the player took the responsibility, and were dismal with their performance. In the end, they managed to scrape into the round of 16, after the match ended 1-1. But there was no denying that this was arguably one of the worst performance by any team in the tournament. Even worse than the way Argentina played against Croatia!

Now coming to Ronaldo. The Portugese skipper had four goals prior to this match, without ever looking threatening. But few would have expected the No.7 to perform so badly in an all-important match.

Ronaldo was invisible for most of the match, and only twice showed his presence on the pitch, but that too in a very negative manner. The Portugese skipper missed a penalty in the 53rd minute, as his spot kick was easily saved by the Iran keeper. Frustrated by his own and team's showing, he then lashed out at an opposition player in the 81st minute.

While chasing the ball, he elbowed the Iran player twice, which went unnoticed by the referee. But what followed was a bizarre and absurd decision. The referee, after consulting the VAR, decided to give the No.7 only a yellow card! It not only shocked Iran team and their manager, but also everyone who was watching.

READ: WORLD CUP 2018: Portugal Getting Knocked Out, Iceland Qualifying; Here Are All The Permutations From Group A To Group D Heading Into The Final Group Stage Matches

It became pretty clear by the end of the match that Portugal and Ronaldo were both 'very very lucky' in their own rights. While Portugal, based on their performance, don't deserve a place in the round of 16, Ronaldo on the other hand didn't deserve to stay on the field, and only get a yellow card.

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