Uruguay 0-2 Portugal: Perfect Start for the Portuguese
Portugal followed up their dramatic opening-game victory over Ghana with another three points in Lusail against Uruguay tonight. Pre-tournament, our predictor ranked Portuguese as eighth favourites on 5.8%. After two wins from two and into the knockout stages, that chance is now rated slightly higher at 7.7%, but in sixth.
Uruguay hadn’t faced a shot on target at this tournament until Portugal’s opening goal, a total of 155 minutes and 38 seconds including injury time between this and their first game against South Korea.
When the goal did come, there was some confusion about who scored it. Bruno Fernandes’ lofted ball into the box might have grazed a couple of hairs on Cristiano Ronaldo’s head, but FIFA didn’t see enough to take Ronaldo level with Eusebio on nine goals and become joint-leading World Cup scorer for the Portuguese.
With Fernandes being given the goal, it means he’s scored seven times in 11 appearances for Portugal across 2022 so far – more than twice as many as any other Portuguese player, above Ronaldo (three). This year has been the most prolific in a national team shirt for the Manchester United star since his full debut in 2017.
Fernandes was heavily involved in everything good that Portugal did tonight. With a match-high 83 touches to add to his six shots (another game-high), the attacking midfielder is now also level at the top of the World Cup 2022 goal involvement rankings with Kylian Mbappé (four).
Portugal join France and Brazil as the only three teams to win their opening two matches at the 2022 World Cup. This total is well below that seen in both 2018 and 2014, when seven teams won their first two group games in both tournaments.
They have won their opening two group games of a World Cup for the third time, also doing so in 1966 and 2006 when they reached the semi-finals on both occasions. After they won the 2016 European Championships against the odds, who knows; this tournament could come down to what side of the fence the football fairytale maker sits on the Messi/Ronaldo debate.