Portugal, led by their captain and five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, managed to beat Iceland at home last night, making it a perfect 2024 Euro Qualifiers for Os Navegadores. Bruno Fernandes and Ricardo Horta helped their country to secure a convincing 2-0 victory over their European opponents and their 10th win in as many matches in the qualifying round, meaning they are the first team to have a perfect 2024 Euro Qualifiers thus far and the only country to rack up double-digit wins due to the number of nations in Group J.
Let us take a look at how Portugal managed to make it a perfect 2024 Euro Qualifiers now.
What Happened in the Portugal-Iceland Game?
Portugal returned to their home of Estádio José Alvalade for the final match of their 2024 Euro Qualifiers, having beaten Liechtenstein 2-0 a few days earlier. Roberto Martínez decided to switch things up by bringing in six replacements to his starting lineup against Iceland.
Eight minutes before the added time in the first half, Manchester United skipper Fernandes gave the home side their well-deserved lead with a wonderful long-ranged effort. The midfielder received the ball from teammate Bernardo Silva’s backheeled pass, followed by a powerful strike to the bottom left corner from the right flank for his 19th international goal for Portugal.
Despite Portugal’s dominating fashion in terms of shoot total and possession, the score line of 1-0 continued to reign for a big part of the game, until the 66th minute, where substitute Horta duplicated the team’s cushion. The 29-year-old, who came on just six minutes earlier, found himself scoring arguably the easiest goal in his professional career, when the opposing goalkeeper Hákon Valdimarsson could not repel the ball away, and it fell into the path for Horta to tap it into the empty net. The advantage would go on until the very end of the match, allowing Ronaldo’s side to achieve a perfect 2024 Euro Qualifiers with 10 wins in 10 matches.
How Did Portugal Make It a Perfect 2024 Euro Qualifiers?
The 2-0 for Portugal was their 10th win in as many matches in their perfect 2024 Euro Qualifiers. In their previous nine matches, Os Navegadores also piled up 34 goals and conceded only twice, beating Liechtenstein 2-0, Bosnia and Herzegovina 5-0, Slovakia 3-2, Luxembourg 9-0, Slovakia 1-0, Iceland 1-0, Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-0, Luxembourg 6-0 and Liechtenstein 4-0 in their previous nine Matchdays respectively.
Captain and Al-Nassr megastar Ronaldo was responsible for scoring 10 goals in these games, but the 38-year-old missed out on a chance to add the top scorer title of the qualifying round to his name, after Romelu Lukaku impressively found the back of the net four times in the first half when Belgium played Azerbaijan at King Baudouin Stadium. The 30-year-old AS Roma striker has 14 goals under his belt in these 2024 UEFA Euro Qualifiers, and it would be virtually impossible for the rest of the pack to meet the number with one more Matchday remaining for 28 teams.
With the perfect 2024 Euro Qualifiers record of 10 wins in 10 matches, Portugal will be heading to the Finals at Germany next year as one of the favourites to win their second ever UEFA European Championship title.
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Can France Also Finish with a Perfect 2024 Euro Qualifiers Record?
Apart from Portugal, another team who can finish with a perfect 2024 Euro Qualifiers record are 2022 FIFA World Cup runners-up France. Didier Deschamps’s Les Bleus emphatically beat Gibraltar in a record 14-0 humiliation at Allianz Riviera last time around, with skipper and 2022 FIFA World Cup Golden Boot winner Kylian Mbappé leading nine other scorers with his hat-trick; Also on the scoresheet were Ethan Santos (OG), Marcus Thuram, Warren Zaïre-Emery, Jonathan Clauss, Kingsley Coman (2), Youssouf Fofana, Adrien Rabiot, Ousmane Dembélé and Olivier Giroud (2).
The two-time European champions will travel to OPAP Arena – Agia Sofia Stadium next to face 2004 winners Greece for their final Matchday of Group B in this qualifying round. All eyes will be on how Mbappé and Co can replicate Portugal’s success in their perfect 2024 Euro Qualifiers with eight wins in as many games; France were only able to overcome 10-man Greece 1-0 at Stade de France last time around, thanks to Mbappé’s 55th-minute penalty.
Catch how well France can fare in their endeavour of reaching a perfect 2024 Euro Qualifiers record via AsiaSport.com‘s livestream channels this Tuesday night. We at OtherLeague.com will also keep you updated with the latest happenings in the world of football and other sports!