Luxembourg 0-2 Portugal: holders secure finals place

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 99th Portugal goal as the defending champions reached UEFA EURO 2020.

 
AFP via Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo finished off Luxembourg and secured Portugal's UEFA EURO 2020 spot by poking in his 99th international goal.

Luxemburg put in an impressive display, stifling Portugal's rhythm and threatening on the counter. Early on, the hosts looked the more likely with Maurice Deville and Gerson Rodrigues glancing over and Vincent Thill brushing aside the visiting backline.

Portugal's turning point came just before the interval. In a change of tack and against the run of play, Bruno Fernandes showed his class as he finished magnificently from Bernardo Silva's direct, lofted ball over the top. Ronaldo tapped in late on to seal the win.

LUXEMBOURG v PORTUGAL: AS IT HAPPENED

Reporter’s view 

Portugal will be in EURO 2020 after a hard-fought win in Luxembourg. The clash proved maybe more difficult than they expected and they struggled to get a grip on the game in the first half, missing several opportunities. Bruno Fernandes' goal demonstrated that quality makes the difference and after a low patch in the second half, Ronaldo scored his 99th for Portugal.
Carlos Machado

State of play 

  • Luxembourg: eliminated.
  • Portugal: qualified as Group B runners-up.

Reaction

Bruno Fernandes, Portugal midfielder: "Our performance was good given the conditions. We knew this game would be based on quantity rather than quality. We battled a lot and our great spirit is what helped us to win. There are games where quality cannot come to the fore. The pitch was very difficult to play on and our opponents were very tough and caused us difficulties."

Danilo, Portugal midfielder: "We knew that Luxembourg had studied well and were here to trouble us, and they did it. They battled a lot and spread the game well. We struggled, but then we adapted to the pitch and were able to explore the depth further. That's where Bruno’s goal came from."

Fernando Santos, Portugal coach: "We have proved that we are one of the greatest teams in Europe and the world. You have to believe in these players. We have to remain grounded and we will be there as candidates."

Diogo Jota, Portugal striker: "We are the current champions of Europe and we know how much the other teams want to beat us. We have many options in attack, we can all play and we have to do our best when we get in the team."

Key stats 

  • Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 99 goals for Portugal in 164 games, including 14 in his last eight. Only Iran's Ali Daei has scored more international goals, with 109.
  • João Moutinho came off the bench to earn his 121st cap and is now the third most capped Portuguese player behind Ronaldo (164) and Luís Figo (127).
  • Bernardo Silva's assist was his 12th for Portugal in 43 games: seven of those have come in 2019.
  • Portugal have lost just three of their last 38 matches, winning 23.
  • Eighteen of Portugal’s last 24 goals have been scored in the second half.
  • Luxembourg have lost their last seven games, their worst sequence since a run of seven defeats in 2015–16.
  • Luxembourg finished on four points, their end tally for both of their past two EURO qualifying campaigns.

Line-ups

Luxembourg: Moris; Jans, Chanot, Gerson, Carlson; V Thill (Joachim 82), Barreiro Martins (Sinani 74), Skenderovic, Turpel (O Thill 59); Rodrigues, Deville

Portugal: Rui Patrício; Ricardo, Fonte, Rúben Dias, Guerreiro; Bruno Fernandes (Rúben Neves 90), Danilo, Pizzi (João Moutinho 62); Ronaldo, André Silva (Diogo Jota 71), Bernardo Silva

Top