Cristiano Ronaldo is Real Madrid’s first-choice penalty taker And whenever the Portuguese national side is awarded a spot-kick, only one man steps up to take it: Ronaldo.
So it was a huge surprise when Ronaldo didn’t take Portugal’s first, second or third penalties in last night’s shootout defeat against Chile in the Confederations Cup.
Some will say that Portugal were counting on having a dependable option for their fifth penalty. And there’s some weight to that argument.
But, of course, the Euro 2016 champions were running the risk of their ever-so-reliable captain not even having the chance to take a spot-kick.
And that’s exactly what happened. Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo saved all three of Portugal’s penalties – from Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Moutinho and Nani – as the South Americans converted their three attempts.
Whatever Portugal’s reasoning for leaving Ronaldo till later, it backfired. Nani looked entirely unconvincing as he stepped up, stuttering in his run up, and it was no surprise when Bravo saved his effort.
Alan Shearer’s tweet
Alan Shearer said what everyone was thinking after Portugal’s shootout defeat.
“What’s the point in having your best penalty taker last?” he wrote on Twitter.
When asked if Shearer, the Premier League’s all-time leading goalscorer, ever asked his manager’s to take the first penalty, he replied: “I said I’m going first.”
Portugal were poor
So Portugal’s dream of winning an international tournament for the second straight year is over.
Fernando Santos’ team looked bereft of ideas versus Chile, seemingly waiting for Ronaldo to produce a moment of magic, and so the neutral probably doesn’t mind La Roja’s victory.
Germany or Mexico await
Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side will await either Germany or Mexico in the final. Joachim Low has taken a young side to Russia but his player’s have performed admirably, winning two of their three matches to finish top of Group B.
The likes of Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller are nowhere to be seen, replaced by the likes of Joshua Kimmich, Kerem Demirbay and Timo Werner, who has scored two goals in the tournament.
It’s says a lot about the depth of the German national side that their progression to the semi-finals has been pretty straightforward.
It will say even more should they go on to win the tournament.
Oh, and their Under-21 side is through to the final of the European Championship in Poland, too.
Should Cristiano Ronaldo have taken Portugal’s first penalty vs Chile? Let us know in the comments section below!