as Portugal prepare for final Euro 2016 group game with Hungary
- Cristiano Ronaldo endured a bad night as Portugal were held 0-0 by Austria
- Real Madrid forward hit the post with penalty and missed further chances
- Portugal trained on Monday ahead of crunch Group F clash with Hungary
- Coach Fernando Santos backs Ronaldo to find his form at Euro 2016
Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to still be carrying the burden of his penalty miss against Austria as he trained with Portugal on Monday, ahead of Wednesday’s crunch Euro 2016 clash with Hungary.
The Real Madrid forward has failed get his team going at the European Championship, even hitting the post with a penalty late in the 0-0 draw against Austria. But Ronaldo and his teammates still have a chance to reach the round of 16 when they face Hungary on Wednesday in Lyon.
The squad trained at their base just outside of Paris on Monday, with coach Fernando Santos confident his star man will hit his stride soon, even if Ronaldo appeared deep in thought as he stepped out for training.
Cristiano Ronaldo missed a vital penalty as Portugal were held to a 0-0 draw by Austria on Saturday night
The Real Madrid star hit the post with his spot kick and missed further chances in the Group F stalemate
‘This isn’t the first time this has happened in his career,’ Santos said.
‘In the past he has gone two or three matches without scoring, and then he would suddenly score a lot of goals, and I am completely convinced that this will happen.’
Ronaldo, his nation’s all-time leading scorer with 58 goals, came to France as the undisputed star of Euro 2016. Only Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic merits a mention when it comes to matching Ronaldo’s attacking talent, scoring totals, or – for better or worse – larger-then-life personality.
But the 31-year-old Ronaldo has yet to produce the goals he scores with such apparent ease while playing for Real Madrid, who just over three weeks ago won the Champions League title. Instead, he showed his childish side when he belittled Iceland’s defensive tactics after they held Portugal to a 1-1 draw in their opening match.
Ronaldo has made a splash off the pitch at Euro 2016, thanks in part to his comments about Iceland
The forward criticised Iceland for their tactics after they held Portugal to a 1-1 draw in their opening game
Portugal coach Fernando Santos has backed Ronaldo to find his form, heading into the clash with Hungary
Ronaldo then blew a chance to get back on course on Saturday, when he sent a spot kick off the post with only 11 minutes remaining against Austria.
He said after the match that while he was proud to have surpassed Luis Figo’s national team record with his 128th appearance for Portugal, he was disappointed by how he reached the milestone.
‘Obviously I’m a bit sad, because this wasn’t the way I wanted to break this record,’ Ronaldo said. ‘The most beautiful way would have been to win, and we couldn’t, we drew. So it was not how I envisaged it.’
Renato Sanches and Joao Mario take part in heading drills as Portugal train ahead of the Hungary game
Portugal need a win to make sure of their place in the knockout stages of Euro 2016
Portugal trained at their base in Marcoussis on Monday, which is south of French capital Paris
Ronaldo also had to postpone plans to become the first player to score in four different European Championship. After wasting 180 minutes, he may only have 90 minutes left to add that achievement to his long list of awards, which includes three Ballon d’Or trophies.
While Ronaldo and Portugal need a win from their final group clash, against Hungary, midfielder Adrien Silva insisted the squad are not overly concerned by the position they find themselves in.
‘We are not losing sleep but we are saddened,’ Silva said.
Vieirinha keeps his eyes on the ball during a training session at the team’s base camp in Marcoussis
Fernando Santos leads Portugal training as his side prepare for their make-or-break clash with Hungary
‘No one is going to throw in the towel. We will bounce back to reach our goal. I’m confident.
‘We don’t deserve to be in this position. You are left with a bitter taste because your work has not been rewarded but the fighting spirit and the confidence of the group are still intact.
‘The only issue is that the ball is not going in,’ Silva added.