What just happened!? After dominating the FIFA World Cup’s group stage, Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal…were eliminated by Uruguay!
How did this happen? Portugal seemed like one of the teams that could have won the entire 2018 World Cup, but they’re not going to watch the rest of the tournament from home. Cristiano Ronaldo, 33, Pepe, 35, André Silva, 22, and the rest of A Seleção das Quinas fell to Uruguay on June 30. Portugal’s run for the World Cup came to a screeching halt, thanks to Luis Suarez, 31, Edison Cavani, 31, and the rest of La Celeste. When the final whistle blew, the score was 2-1 in favor of Uruguay. Speaking of Cavani, he scored both of Uruguay’s in one of this World Cup’s greatest performances.
This was it for Cristiano. Ronaldo will be 37 when the 2020 FIFA World Cup rolls around. It’s possible that the man – considered the greatest player the game has seen — could come back and play in the Cup at that age. Knowing Ronaldo, he’ll still be better than 40% of the world at that age — but let’s be honest. Soccer is a young man’s sport, and being closer to 40 than 30 (presuming Ronaldo continues to play in La Liga or the Premier League until then) will be a severe disadvantage when competing on the world stage. It’s why, after losing, many saw this as Ronaldo’s last World Cup.
This result isn’t that surprising, since Uruguay won their Group. La Celeste plowed through Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the host country, Russia, not allowing a single point to be scored on them. Portugal had a tougher run at the group stage, having to face Spain in their opening World Cup match. Portugal, thanks to Ronaldo, managed to tie Spain, 3-3, earning a draw. A Seleção das Quinas would go on to defeat Morocco and draw Iran. While Portugal didn’t win the group, they still remained a threat so long as Cristiano was out on the pitch.
“Ronaldo is a leader, the way he scores the goals and how important they are,” Diego Forlan of Uruguay told BBC Radio 5 Live. “We are a very defensive team and have very good defenders. Ronaldo is a great player but I am confident with our defense and how the team [is] doing. I am not worried defensively but we have to be careful, we have to be concentrated than other games. We respect everybody, it is not like we change because it is Portugal.”