Prior to Tuesday's kickoff, the past 24 hours were kind to Cristiano Ronaldo. Pele pronounced him the best player on the planet and he expectedly equalled Luis Figo's cap record for Portugal. It seemed as if the tide was continuing to turn in Cristiano's direction as he chases triumph for both club and country in 2016.
Stat of Day:— TheSPORTbible (@TSBible) June 14, 2016
- Cristiano Ronaldo Twitter followers: 43,100,000
- Iceland population: 330,000 pic.twitter.com/AO0gQuXCIm
Leading a Portugal team that's always served as a competitive side, bookies expected that the Seleção would have enough to defeat Iceland. All looked well for the Portuguese as Nani put the men in maroon up a goal in the 31st minute. Cristiano's chances grew as the game progressed and Portugal continued to put Iceland under pressure.
However, the opposition leveled and pressure on Ronaldo's shoulders grew. It was almost expected that the man Pele pronounced as the best on the planet would come through late in the game. It was expected that Ronaldo would bang home a goal and rip off his shirt in the final minutes, as if he just scored the winning penalty in the Champions League final.
Cristiano Ronaldo for #POR vs. #ISL:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 14, 2016
3 off target
1 on target
Not his greatest night. pic.twitter.com/VefTVvg7tR
Unfortunately for the Dark Invader, that's not how the story unfolded this time. Opportunities knocked, not once, not twice, but three times for Cristiano in the final five minutes. Nani placed a juicy cross on Ronaldo's head in the 85th minute, only for the superstar to direct it towards the goalkeeper. Minutes later, Cristiano lined up between two free kicks, only to squander the opportunity each time.
It wasn't a night for the Portuguese to remember as a draw doesn't push Portugal to the top, and walking off the pitch without shaking hands doesn't create favored headlines. However, chances are Ronaldo isn't worried. After all, Austria and Hungary await on the slate for Portugal.