Sweden 0-2 Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo's centurion goal & other talking points | UEFA Nations League 2020-21

Portugal stroll past Sweden on the back of Ronaldo's amazing double!
Portugal stroll past Sweden on the back of Ronaldo's amazing double!

Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Portugal blazed past Sweden with a 2-0 win tonight, as the Juventus star struck an amazing brace to surpass the 100-goal mark for his country.

After Gustav Svensson was sent off in the 43rd minute, Ronaldo fired in a majestic free-kick to break the deadlock before chipping a perfectly-weighted lob over Robin Olsen in the second-half to seal the tie.

The result leaves the defending champions at the top of League A Group 3 whereas the Blagult, after back-to-back defeats, are consigned to bottom of the table.

Here are the major talking points from the match:

Portugal's centurion has a world record in his sights

Ronaldo is now on 101 goals for Portugal, just eight behind Ali Daei's all-time record!
Ronaldo is now on 101 goals for Portugal, just eight behind Ali Daei's all-time record!

Ronaldo huffed and puffed, but eventually got his elusive 100th international goal for Portugal, making him just the second player in history and first-ever in Europe to hit the landmark figure for his national side.

He's been chipping away on the list of all-time scorers in international football by plundering goals at a phenomenal rate in the last few years, and has now been rewarded with his place in a unique piece of history.

What a spectacular way to rack up the century too! The Juventus superstar stood over another free-kick which had the same air of inevitability as that effort against Spain in the 2018 World Cup, letting rip another unstoppable howitzer into the top corner.

With another brilliant chip in the second-half to round off his brace, the 34-year old edged closer to the world record of 109 Portugal goals. Ali Daei - he's coming for you!

Felix beats Kulusevski in the battle of apprentices

After scoring against Croatia, Felix turned provider, assisting Ronaldo's second goal
After scoring against Croatia, Felix turned provider, assisting Ronaldo's second goal

Joao Felix became the most expensive teenager of all time after his mega-money move to Atletico Madrid last year, whereas Dejan Kulusevski grabbed headlines for his Juventus transfer in July at the end of a phenomenal campaign in Serie A.

This match served up an interesting player-battle between two of the brightest and highy-rated young talents in Europe today, however, only the Portugal man showed up for the occasion.

Felix, on target against Croatia last week, was heavily involved in the proceedings for Portugal, keeping the attacking juices flowing with accurate passes in the final third and even attempting shots at goal, some of which were venomous.

He may not have found the back of the net, but his presence in the attack was palpable, even assisting Ronaldo for the second goal with a sublime cut back. Kulusevski, on the contrary, was virtually non-existent and unable to exert his influence.

The 20-year old midfielder was often raved about last season for his creative ingenuity, dribbling skills, passing accuracy and an eye for goal, none of which were on display at the Friends Arena.

With zero shots attempted - let alone direct one at goal - Kulusevski also had a fairly disastrous 49% passing accuracy and lacked the confidence on the ball he otherwise exudes with aplomb, being dispossessed several times.

As this was just his second cap for the Blagult, could this inexperience at the international stage mean he's still only acclimatising to the Swedish set-up? Maybe, but this shows he isn't quite ready to be the talisman of this side yet.

Anthony Lopes, the new Portugal No.1?

Lopes is fast becoming a threat to Patricio's place as Portugal's No.1
Lopes is fast becoming a threat to Patricio's place as Portugal's No.1

For the second game in a row, Fernando Santos opted to go with Anthony Lopes in goal over the usual first-choice Rui Patricio, which begs the question - is the Olympique Lyonnais goalkeeper the new No.1 for Portugal?

While his counterpart had an excellent 2019-20 season with Wolves in the Premier League and continues to go strong, even at 32, Lopes has shown over the course of last two games that he isn't any pushover either.

Tonight, the custodian had little to do but was on his toes throughout. He was quick to rush out of his line and punch the ball clear during set-pieces, while also collecting the ball into his embrace on occasions when a long ball was played.

Patricio will of course return to the line up eventually, but Lopes' growing importance to the side means his position is definitely under threat.

Svensson sinks Sweden

Svensson was sent off even before the half-time whistle
Svensson was sent off even before the half-time whistle

The Swedes have been below-par in the Nations League so far; not only have they lost both games, but also failed to create any meaningful chances.

The lack of urgency and creative spark was once again on show in this match, but what made it all the more worse than the previous game was Gustav Svensson's red card.

The 33-year old was back in the mix as Janne Andersson rang in the changes after the loss to France last week, but didn't even last the whole first-half.

Constantly out of place and lacking in composure, the Seattle Sounders midfielder made two clumsy challenges that saw him sent off in the 43rd minute.

Sweden's influence was already waning after a bright start, but the numerical disadvantage thereafter compounded the home side's misery.

Portugal are favourites for the title again

Can the Seleccao go all the way again?
Can the Seleccao go all the way again?

The defending champions are off to a flyer in the second edition of the UEFA Nations League. After thrashing Croatia in the opener last week, Portugal racked up another win tonight to make it two from two games and assume pole position in the group.

Sure, the red card early on did benefit them, but the Seleccao is quickly making its mark in the competition and France, whom they still have to play home and away next month, must beware that this juggernaut isn't stopping so easily.

With Ronaldo banging in the goals for Portugal like always while stars like Felix, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva and Pepe in the ranks, this Portugal side look like strong contenders for the title again.

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Edited by Alex Turk
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