SWEDEN: Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 100th goal for Portugal on Tuesday, on the stroke of halftime of a UEFA Nations League match against Sweden.
The 35-year-old Juventus attacker curled in a freekick from 25 yards over the wall and into the far left corner beyond Sweden’s stranded goalkeeper Robin Olsen for a memorable milestone in his trophy-laden career.
After making his first senior international appearance as an 18-year-old in 2003, Ronaldo notched up his first goal for Portugal in a 2-1 defeat by eventual winners Greece at Euro 2004.
Ronaldo, capped 165 times by Portugal, is second only to Iran’s Ali Daei, on 109, in the list of top men’s international goal scorers.
Incredibly for Ronaldo, just 17 of his 100 goals have come in friendly matches, and his nine hattricks all came in FIFA or UEFA tournaments or qualifying games.
His 100th goal came at a stadium in Sweden which was the scene of a memorable Ronaldo display in the second leg of a World Cup qualifying playoff in 2013.
Ronaldo had scored the only goal in the first leg, and then exchanged goals with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the second.
Ronaldo hit a hattrick between the 50th and 79th minute while the Swedish star hit two in four minutes in the middle of the outburst. Portugal won the match and the playoff.
In Copenhagen, Denmark held England to a 0-0 draw in an uninspiring Nations League match at the Parken Stadium on Tuesday.
The hosts had the best chances in the League A Group 2 match with midfielder Christian Eriksen involved on both occasions.
Eriksen’s clever turn in the 37th minute left his former Tottenham Hotspur team mate Eric Dier standing and set up Kasper Dolberg whose fierce shot to the near post was pushed wide by England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Denmark keeper Kasper Schmeichel was also alert to deal with a Raheem Sterling shot from the edge of the box before Eriksen wasted a great chance in the 81st minute, firing over from a promising central position.
Belgium lead the group with six points from two games with England on four, Denmark one and Iceland none.
France earned a rollercoaster 4-2 home win over Croatia in a top-tier Nations League Group 3 match on Tuesday with the outcome a carbon copy of their memorable clash in the 2018 World Cup final.
France made it two wins out of two after their opening 1-0 victory at Sweden and stayed level on six points with Portugal, 2-0 winners at Sweden after a Cristiano Ronaldo brace boosted his international tally to 101 goals. – Agencies