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Champion Italy begins with defeat to England

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Champion Italy begins with defeat to England

Portugal beat Liechtenstein (4-0) and its captain Cristiano Ronaldo, who broke the record for national team matches by reaching 197, signed a goal double this Thursday in Lisbon at the start of qualifying for Euro 2024.

CR7 He scored a penalty (51 ‘) and a free kick (63 ‘) to complete a win that had opened joao cancel (8′) and Bernardo Silva (47′).

The 38-year-old striker, now with Saudi club Al-Nassr, played his 197th international game, beating the Kuwaiti Bader Al-Mutawawith whom he shared the record.

The five-time Ballon d’Or player also holds the record for goals in a national team since September 1, 2021 when he scored a double against Ireland and surpassed Iran’s Ali Daei and his 109 goals. With his double this Thursday add 120.

Portugal began its new stage with a comfortable victory, with the Spanish Roberto Martinez on the benchreplacing Fernando Santos, fired after the World Cup in Qatar in which the Portuguese team was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Morocco (1-0), a tournament that Ronaldo finished as a substitute and faced the coach.

Facing the 198th nation in the FIFA rankings, Portugal did not have to step on the accelerator. Cancelo opened the scoring, with a long shot that touched Ronaldo, and Bernardo Silva, with a leisurely shot from inside the area, widened the difference.

party in the stands

Before the goal from the Manchester City midfielder, Portugal had been ineffective, with several chances that they did not take advantage of: including a high header from Cristiano (22′), who then found goalkeeper Benjamin Buchel (27′).

His time finally came, first with a penalty, forced by Cancelo, and then with a house-mark free kick. The fans chanted the name of the legend in his first appearance for the Portuguese team since he left European football to play in Saudi Arabia.

With his doublet in his pocket, Ronaldo was replaced by Gonçalo Ramos, the player who took ownership in Qatar-2022. The fans greeted him with applause and cheers.

With his victory, Portugal is at the head of group J of the qualification for the Eurocopa. It has three points, like Bosnia-Herzegovina, which this Thursday beat Iceland (3-0).

The Seleção will continue their qualifying campaign for the next Euro Cup on Sunday in Luxembourg.

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