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Portugal give Spain a late heartbreak as Ronaldo faces calls for being dropped

Portugal give Spain a late heartbreak as Ronaldo faces calls for being dropped
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Portugal suffered a late heartbreak against rivals Spain after Alvaro Morata’s late winner saw them miss out on a place in the Nations League final.

The first UEFA competition champions dominated the match but Morata’s 88th-minute strike sent La Roja through to the last four.

Cristiano Ronaldo was denied Portugal's biggest chance of the game

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Cristiano Ronaldo was denied Portugal’s biggest chance of the game

Portugal just needed to avoid defeat in Braga

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Portugal just needed to avoid defeat in Braga

Portugal were the big favorites to progress through Group 2 of League A after needing only a draw in Braga after Spain’s surprise 2-1 home defeat by Switzerland on Saturday.

And while Fernando Santos’ side didn’t have much possession, they had the better chances in front of a roaring home crowd.

Cristiano Ronaldo holds the record for most international goals with 117, but his frustrating start to the season continued here.

The 37-year-old had Portugal’s best chance of scoring the opener as both sides bogged down just after the second-half restart.

Ronaldo found himself one on one after slipping in from Diogo Jota but failed to beat the onrushing Unai Simon with little effort.

Still lacking his usual edge, the Manchester United star saw more chances fall.


Morata had cut an isolated figure in front of his late winner

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Morata had cut an isolated figure in front of his late winner

The last five encounters between the two have ended in a draw and this one seemed to be going in the same direction until Morata showed up.

With two minutes remaining, Nico Williams headed a long ball into the penalty area at the Atletico Madrid striker, who fired from close range and sparked celebrations.

Ronaldo then had a chance to be the hero in stoppage time but failed again to hit Simon narrowly off the post with a shot.

It caps a miserable international break for the Portugal captain who had been hoping to regain his form after leaving the United side.

Ronaldo drew gaps in both games against the Czech Republic and Spain, with his last goal for his country coming in June.

Morata's goal sent Spain into the last four

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Morata’s goal sent Spain into the last four

Ronaldo seems to lack confidence

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Ronaldo seems to lack confidence

He is undoubtedly one of the greatest players of all time but calls for him to be left out of Portugal’s starting XI are growing.

One of the country’s biggest publications, A Bola, had the headline: “menos Ronaldo, mais Portugal”, which translates to “less Ronaldo, more Portugal”.

He will certainly be included in Portugal’s World Cup squad for Qatar and still wants to be a part of Euro 2024.

“I hope to be part of the federation for a few more years,” said Ronaldo.

“I still feel motivated; My ambition is high. I’m in a team with young people. I want to be part of this World Cup and also the European Championship; I’m assuming that’s the case.”


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