Por­tu­gal show they’re about more than just one man

Sport360 - - Football World Cup 2018 Qualifiers - By Staff Re­porter @Sport360 edi­to­rial@sport360.com

Cris­tiano Ron­aldo saluted Por­tu­gal’s team ef­fort after they se­cured their qual­i­fi­ca­tion for next sum­mer’s World Cup.

The Euro 2016 win­ners may have left it late, re­quir­ing a vic­tory over Switzer­land in Tues­day night’s fi­nal group match to avoid drop­ping into the play-offs. But an own goal from Jo­han Djourou and An­dre Silva’s strike en­sured Ron­aldo, fit­ness per­mit­ting, will ap­pear at his fourth fi­nals and an eighth straight ma­jor tour­na­ment in Rus­sia next year.

The 32-year-old wrote on Twitwhere

07 this will be Por­tu­gal’s 7th World Cup ap­pear­ance

ter: “Great team ef­fort! Thank you all for your sup­port. Rus­sia, here we come!!”

Ron­aldo will be joined by Lionel Messi, world foot­ball’s other undis­puted su­per­star.

Yet while Messi al­most sin­gle­hand­edly dragged his side to Rus­sia with a sparkling hat-trick it cer­tainly re­quired a team ef­fort from Por­tu­gal, as Ron­aldo was far from his best in Lis­bon.

That is no longer un­known ter­ri­tory for Fer­nando San­tos’ side, how­ever, fol­low­ing their 1-0 vic­tory over France to be­come Euro­pean champions last year. Their tal­is­man was re­duced to will­ing them on from the side­lines after he was in­jured early on in the fi­nal in Paris.

Mid­fielder Bernardo Silva says the team will use that same men­tal­ity when they at­tempt to re­peat their Euro­pean suc­cess on the world stage.

“We knew we had to win and for­tu­nately with the sup­port of all the Por­tuguese we got the vic­tory and the qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the World Cup,” the Manchester City mid­fielder said. “Fer­nando San­tos gives a lot of con­fi­dence to the play­ers. We are now look­ing for­ward to a good cam­paign in the World Cup.

“We have en­tered ev­ery game to win, it is the strength that our coach and team-mates con­vey to us, and we know that when we be­lieve and think in this way, we are closer to win­ning.

“As Por­tu­gal did in the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship, they went into all the matches to win, that’s what we’re going to do at the World Cup.

“We’re going to try to win the World Cup, not know­ing if that can hap­pen or not, but we’re going to play ev­ery game to win.”

Stand­ing ova­tion: Cris­tiano Ron­aldo.

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