Cristiano Ronaldo appeared immensely frustrated at Portugal manager Fernando Santos after Seleccao fell to a last-gasp 2-1 defeat to Serbia in Lisbon. This was their final match of the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers.
The result saw Serbia directly qualify for the the World Cup in Qatar. Meanwhile, Portugal will have to go through the playoffs to make their place in the tournament.
After the final whistle, Ronaldo was seen frustrated with Portugal's national coach Fernando. The under-fire national team manager moved to clear up the situation after the match, telling the press:
“Nobody was explaining anything. He was telling the other guy that there [in Serbia] he had scored a goal at the last minute and that the referee didn’t count [it]. That’s what he was saying at the time. On the field, he said that we scored a goal there and the referee didn’t, but it’s his outburst- it’s perfectly normal. Now no one goes after a game to explain what happened or didn’t happen. I went to raise the players’ heads.”
It does seem in line for a character like Cristiano Ronaldo, who is renowned as a serial winner and an avid goalscorer. He will certainly be frustrated after losing a game and having a goal chalked off in the previous tie.
They couldn't hold on despite Renato Sanches’ second minute strike which set Portugal off in a game they only needed to draw to guarantee qualification.
The Portuguese can't afford to wallow, with another chance to qualify for next year's tournament being offered through the play-offs. Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal cannot afford to miss this opportunity to qualify for what might in all likelihood be Cristiano Ronaldo’s last World Cup.
We know what we have to do to get there: Cristiano Ronaldo rallies Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo has rallied his teammates, with the star making it clear that Portugal still have a chance to get into the World Cup. Sharing his message on Instagram, the captain encouraged his side:
“Football has shown us time and time again that, at times, it is the most winding paths that lead to the most desired outcomes. Yesterday’s result was tough, but not enough to get us down. The objective of being present at the 2022 World Cup is still very much alive and we know what we have to do to get there. No excuses.”