Euro 2016: How Cristiano Ronaldo convinced Joao Moutinho to take a penalty in shootout win
When the UEFA Euro 2016 quarter-final match between Portugal and Poland went to penalties, not many saw Cristiano Ronaldo rallying his teammates before the shootout. The Seleccao captain may have failed to inspire his teammates on the pitch with numerous shots with little to show for it, but he took his role as a leader very seriously.
Before the shootout commenced, Portugal were busy deciding which five players would take penalties. While Ronaldo was discussing the list with coach Fernando Santos, Ronaldo spotted Moutinho by the touchline and immediately asked him to take a penalty.
“Hey, hey! Come take the penalty,” he told Moutinho.
“You hit them well. If we lose,then **** it. Be strong, come on! Be strong! You hit them well, come on.”
At this point, Moutinho seems reluctant but walks on to the pitch anyway. His body language suggests that his confidence level was low but Ronaldo then tells him not to worry.
Moutinho was worried he’d miss the penalty like he did in Euro 2012. In the semi-final against Spain, Moutinho had failed to convert the first spot kick and Portugal eventually lost 4-2 after Bruno Alves had also missed his penalty. Ronaldo didn’t even get a chance to take his penalty in the shootout after Cesc Fabregas converted to put the game out of reach.
This time, Ronaldo was the first player to take a penalty and converted it to lead the way for Portugal. In the end, the next players – Renato Sanches, Moutinho, Nani and Ricardo Quaresma – scored to see Portugal win 5-3 after Jakub Blaszczykowski missed Poland’s fourth spot kick.
The result saw Portugal reach the semi-final without winning any of their games in normal time. Three draws in the group stage saw them qualify as one of the best third-placed teams and they needed a goal late in extra-time (in the 117th minute) from Quaresma to beat Croatia in the round of 16.
“It’s in God’s hands now,” Ronaldo says.