Cristiano Ronaldo hardly looked excited on Sunday night after his perfect cross in the 95th minute resulted in a stunning draw between Portugal and the United States. After Germany blew them out 4-0 in the opening game of group play, Portugal needed a win against the US. The draw broke the hearts of Americans, but it didn’t seem to excite Ronaldo.
Why? Maybe Ronaldo doesn’t think his team is good enough to make a deep run in the World Cup even if they somehow advance to the knockout rounds.
“Maybe we’re an average team,” he said after Sunday’s game. “It would be a lie to say that we are a ‘top’ team. We have many limitations and suffer from injuries such as with Pepe [who was suspended] and [Fabio] Coentrao. This limits us a lot. We have a very limited team and we are not at the best level. This does not enable you to beat top teams.
“There are no miracles. We knew we would have a tough group, with perhaps teams better than us. I never thought we could be world champions, we have to be humble and know our level. I’m not a hypocrite, I never thought we could win the tournament.”
Portugal were missing four players against the US due to injuries and suspensions. One of them was a top defender in Pepe, who was given a red card against Germany for an idiotic headbutt. And while Ronaldo has been able to play, he too has been battling a knee injury that has clearly slowed him down.
“I don’t want to justify myself by talking about my physical problems, that’s water under the bridge,” he said. “I’m here, I’m fighting, I’m trying to do my best, I’m running, and obviously it’s no use talking about my issues.”
Many experts picked Portugal to advance to the semifinals of the tournament, mostly because of Ronaldo’s unmatched skill and scoring ability. However, the 29-year-old insists his team has never been a favorite.
“I don’t think we lost [sic] the game because our players lacked attitude,” Ronaldo added. “Every team comes here to win. We knew we weren’t favourites, we have never been.”
Portugal needs to beat Ghana and get some help in the US-Germany game to advance. With the way Ghana was looked and the way Ronaldo is talking, we wouldn’t be surprised if Portugal exited the 2014 World Cup without a win.
H/T The ScoreGoogle+