Cristiano Ronaldo has been an amazing player for Manchester United, Real Madrid and the Portuguese National Team, earning himself the consensus “best player in the world” title from many soccer fans and media members. But as great as he is, Ronaldo has struggled in many of his World Cup appearances.
The 2014 World Cup was starting to exemplify this statement as the 29-year-old failed to score in Portugal’s opening Group G match against Germany. Of course, Ronaldo dealt with a nagging knee injury throughout the Cup, but that didn’t take the spotlight off of him as he was largely held in check by a big, physical German defense.
Ronaldo got a lot more chances against USA, but failed to capitalize on any of them. Normally possessing one of the best shots in the game, it seemed as if his knee made him far less accurate. But with less than a minute remaining in the match, Ronaldo did make a brilliant cross to teammate Sylvestre Varela, who headed the ball in and tied the match at 2-2. And while he failed to score a goal against USA, Ronaldo showed in this single play why he’s to be so feared on the pitch.
That tie game really disparaged the Americans, who knew that they could’ve sewn up a place in the knockout round by beating Portugal. But Ronaldo’s cross snatched victory from the US and gave the Portuguese the slimmest of hopes of advancing out of Group G – despite their minus 4 goal difference.
Of course, Ghana was the team with the better chance of jumping USA to grab one of Group G’s two knockout round berths. With a minus 1 goal differential, there were several favorable scenarios that saw Ghana advancing if they could beat Portugal, and the US lost to Germany. Well, the latter did happen as the Americans fell to Germany by a score of 1-0. But Ronaldo made sure that there was no Ghanaian victory party.
Ghana started off badly when defender John Boye scored an own goal to put Portugal up 1-0. However, they got new life after Asamoah Gyan headed a ball in to score his sixth-career World Cup goal – making him Ghana’s most prolific scorer in the finals. At this point, the Black Stars needed just one more goal to win the match and put themselves into the knockout round.
However, Ronaldo took advantage of a deflection by Ghana goalkeeper Fatau Dauda that came right to him, allowing “CR7” to boot the shot in from about 12 feet away. This lone goal by Ronaldo wasn’t enough to lift his team out of group play. No, those honors belong to Germany and USA, the latter of which could breath a sigh of relief after Ronaldo’s goal.. But it was still satisfying for a player who’d yet to find the back of the net in Brazil.
Overall, Ronaldo played far better in this match than he did against Germany or USA. He got some good shots on goal, only to be denied by Dauda on several occasions. And there was one header that Dauda blocked which was especially excruciating. But Ronaldo did have a pretty good match overall, including a game winner that he can remember while sitting home watching the rest of the 2014 World Cup.