Russia 2018 Watch: My lucky t-shirt helps Portugal
PUBLISHED: 17:30 20 June 2018
Read our World Cup blog which will be featuring over the coming weeks. Lane Dias reviews match one on day seven of the tournament.
Having been born in Goa to a traditional Goan family of Portuguese ancestry, there’s only one team I can really root for in this summers’ World Cup. The Seleção das Quinas have received slightly more respect since winning a first ever major international trophy – the 2016 UEFA European Championships against hosts France.
It was the biggest sporting shock since, well Greece defeating us on home soil in Euro 2004, but let’s not dwell on that heartbreak.
I wore my lucky Portugal t-shirt and clutched my rosary beads when the Seleção made the final in France and my prayers were seemingly answered with Éder scoring the extra-time winner to make national history, ten months before Salvador Sobral won Eurovision.
I watched today’s match against Morocco with the same t-shirt (which hasn’t been washed by the way) and was expecting a similar start to the match as the one against Spain in their Group opener.
In the match against la Furia Roja, Cristiano Ronaldo finally announced himself performance-wise in the tournament, scoring three goals in the match – the same number he had amassed over the last three previous World Cup tournaments altogether.
He completed his hat-trick with a brilliant free-kick, two minutes from time, which rescued a point against our more successful Iberian rivals.
Today Ronaldo was on the scoresheet again and just as he did in the first match against Spain, the Real Madrid forward scored in the fourth minute – this time heading home from a corner.
The goal meant that he became Europe’s all-time top international goalscorer with 85, having surpassed legendary Ferenc Puskás, who played for Hungary and Spain.
The goal attracted plenty of discussion on social media including from Gary Lineker, who posted: “Ronaldo is utterly relentless in his pursuit of goal scoring greatness. What a player.”
Ronaldo also became the second Portuguese player to score four goals in a single World Cup campaign after Eusébio scored nine in 1966, where Portugal finished in third place – their best World Cup campaign to date.
Although his goal was a moment of national pride, his side’s performance was certainly dismal and less than something to be proud of as they gifted a catalogue of chances to their North-African opponents, who would have scored at least once had it not been for a fine save from Rui Patrício to deny Younès Belhanda.
The Moroccans’ skipper Medhi Benatia was also wasteful, the Juventus defender fired over the bar twice in the second half, following free-kicks, when it seemed harder to miss.
Fernando Santos’ men were hanging on by the skin of their teeth and made me consider getting my rosary beads out once again. However, the Portuguese survived and sent the Moroccans packing to temporarily top Group B.