Cristiano Ronaldo Scored Last-Minute Winner on 200th Appearance for Portugal in 2024 UEFA EURO Qualifiers

Cristiano Ronaldo Scored Last-Minute Winner on 200th Appearance for Portugal in 2024 UEFA EURO Qualifiers

200th Appearance: Cristiano Ronaldo added another world record to his illustrious set of accolades and honours. The Portugal national team captain achieved this incredible feat when his Os Navegadores took on Iceland at the Laugardalsvöllur Stadium on Matchday 4 of the 2024 UEFA EURO Qualifiers, a match-up that saw the 38-year-old striker scoring the only goal of the match on his 200th appearance for Portugal, helping his country to earn all three points and top Group J with 12 points.

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Scoring on His 200th Appearance

The Al-Nassr skipper is the current all-time goal scoring leader in men’s international football with over 120 goals registered. He achieved this record in 2021 and overtook Kuwait’s Bader Al-Mutawa for the most international appearances in the history of football earlier this year. The 38-year-old continued to extend these record advantages and finally accumulated his 200th appearance for Portugal in this qualifying match. As an appreciation for his international career longevity, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner also received a Guinness World Records certificate.

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14 Goals Scored, Zero Conceded

Coming into the game, Roberto Martínez’s side won three out of three matches in this qualifying round for the UEFA EURO 2024, including a 3-0 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina last time around. The Spaniard opted for four changes in this match against Iceland, bringing on players such as Pepe, Diogo Dalot, Rúben Neves and Rafael Leão. The home side, on the other hand, were on a two-game losing streak after winning the opening match of the campaign.

Both teams had their fair share of chances in this tightly-contested match, but it was a red card 10 minutes before time that changed the entire dynamic of the game. Go Ahead Eagles midfielder Willum Þór Willumsson, who was already on a yellow card, lunged a tackle into substitute Gonçalo Inácio near the half-way line, prompting the referee to penalise the player with a send-off via two yellow cards.

With a man down, Portugal’s struggles to break down the opponent’s defence came to an end. A minute before the injury time, Raphaël Guerreiro launched a long ball into the penalty box that was met by Inácio, before the defender headed a pass to his captain to score. The goal was initially ruled offside but was awarded to Ronaldo upon video assistant referee (VAR) check, meaning he has scored his 123rd international goal on the record-breaking 200th appearance for his country in this match.

Ronaldo on 200th Appearance: “An Extremely Important Feat.”

During the post-match conference, Ronaldo did not hide his sentiments over another record attained (200th appearance), he said: “I’m so happy. To reach 200 caps is the kind of moment that you never expect. It’s an unbelievable achievement. And of course to score the winning goal makes it even more special. Two hundred games played proves the love I have for my country. For me it is an extremely important milestone. It means a lot. [Two hundred] is a beautiful number that [Bo men’s player] has. I’m very proud because this is something I never thought I could reach. And I’m continuing to set records.”

The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus megastar’s Portugal national team remains the leader of Group J of the 2024 UEFA EURO Qualifiers after four wins in four matchdays, with an impressive goal scoring record of 14 goals and no goals conceded during the process. Os Navegadores will resume their qualifying round matches in September 2023.

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