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Ronaldo did his duty to take Portugal through

Published: Wednesday 20 November 2013, 9.31CET
"I just did my job," explained Cristiano Ronaldo after his hat-trick propelled Portugal to the FIFA World Cup finals, with Zlatan Ibrahimović satisfied Sweden "couldn't have done better".
by José Nuno Pimentel & Sujay Dutt
Ronaldo did his duty to take Portugal through
Nani congratulates Cristiano Ronaldo after Portugal's victory in Sweden ©AFP/Getty Images

Published: Wednesday 20 November 2013, 9.31CET

Ronaldo did his duty to take Portugal through

"I just did my job," explained Cristiano Ronaldo after his hat-trick propelled Portugal to the FIFA World Cup finals, with Zlatan Ibrahimović satisfied Sweden "couldn't have done better".

Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Bento felt Portugal were "deserved winners" over the two legs of their FIFA World Cup play-off against Sweden. Ronaldo scored all four of his team's goals in a 4-2 aggregate victory, including a second-leg hat-trick in Solna. "I just did my job," he explained. Zlatan Ibrahimović, the author of both of the Blågult's goals, said the visitors "punished our mistakes".

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal forward
I just did my job, as I have been doing lately. I always try to give my best for my country and for my club – that is always my goal. We allowed Sweden to grow in confidence after they scored their first goal. Then they got the second and the final result became wide open again, but that is what makes football so beautiful. Then we fought back and we were deserved winners.

It was not a priority for me to break Pauleta's record [of 47 national team goals, which Ronaldo equalled]. I knew Portugal needed me and I stuck to the task at hand. Now we have some time to rest and to do our best for our clubs before starting to think about the World Cup.

Paulo Bento, Portugal coach
A player that gets a hat-trick in a game of this stature is always decisive. Until we went 1-0 up, we did not have many problems – we controlled the game very well in the first 45 minutes, especially in defence, and we had the better chances. In the second half, after a great save from Rui Patrício, we made it 1-0, but we sat back, conceded two goals from set pieces and made things hard for ourselves. But, as we so often do, when we found ourselves in a bad situation we responded fantastically and we got the win we deserved. We made it 2-2 and that settled our nerves, and then the goal to make it 3-2 finished off the game.

Erik Hamrén, Sweden coach
We played four good halves, but that last bit of quality was missing, and we couldn't cope with their counterattacks when we pressed forward. My ambition and the team's ambition was always to go to Brazil.

Zlatan Ibrahimović, Sweden captain and forward
Why did we lose? To be honest, they were better than us. We should be proud: we couldn't have done better than we did. Of course, we could look back at our mistakes, but these things happen. They punished our mistakes. After making it 2-1 it felt like we were on a roll, our hopes grew, but unfortunately they made it 2-2 soon afterwards.

Last updated: 20/11/13 14.57CET

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