Cristiano Ronaldo scored three goals, but a finals place is still not guaranteed for the European champions.
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Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick, but Portugal might still need one more win to confirm their place at UEFA EURO 2020.
The Portugal skipper opened the scoring from the spot after he was fouled in the box, and fired in a fine second soon after. The holders then scored four in 13 minutes just after half-time. Pizzi got the third via the crossbar and post before Gonçalo Paciência tapped in his first international goal. The excellent Bernardo Silva made it five before teeing up Ronaldo to complete his hat-trick, and take his international tally to 98.
Portugal did what was expected and took the three points, Ronaldo’s early goals setting the tone for a supremely one-sided game. Lithuania didn’t manage a single shot on Rui Patrício’s goal, and it was all about how many the European champions would score. Four of the six came in the second half, with Ronaldo moving on to 98 for his country after today’s hat-trick. Serbia’s win means Portugal still need victory in Luxembourg on Sunday to be sure of qualification for UEFA EURO 2020. Will that be the day Ronaldo scores his 100th international goal?
State of play
- Portugal will qualify with a win against Luxembourg on Sunday, or with any result if Serbia do not beat Ukraine.
- Lithuania can no longer qualify via European Qualifiers group stage.
Fernando Santos, Portugal coach: "We were very good in the first half. We could have scored more. At half-time I asked the team to keep up the pace, to finish the game and to think about the next game too. We know that on Sunday we will have different opponents; we have less than 72 hours to recover, now let’s think about the game in Luxembourg."
Pizzi, Portugal midfielder: "We all had a great game. We were focused from the first moment; we didn’t allow them to play and that made the game easier. We always played with one, two touches, never complicating our play and we didn’t concede."
Bruno Fernandes, Portugal midfielder: "In the national team, regardless of who plays, the standard is always very high. We all have quality, and today we gave a demonstration of that. Regardless of who plays, we will do everything to return from Luxembourg with the win."
- Cristiano Ronaldo has passed the 30-goal mark for the 13th successive calendar year; his hat-trick takes his international tally to 98 from 163 international games.
- This was the 55th hat-trick of Ronaldo’s career, and his ninth for Portugal; his 54th hat-trick came against Lithuania in September (though he went on to score four in that game).
- Ronaldo has scored 13 goals in his last seven international appearances, including three hat-tricks.
- Portugal have only lost three of their last 37 matches, winning 22.
- Portugal have only failed to score twice in their last 20 matches. They have scored at least three times in none of those games, and have only conceded 11 goals in their last 14 matches.
- Lithuania have not won any of their last 19 games (L16). They have only scored 12 goals in their last 29 games.
- Forward Diogo Jota becomes the 41st player to make his Portugal debut under coach Fernando Santos.
Portugal: Rui Patrício; Ricardo, Rúben Dias, Fonte, Mário Rui; Rúben Neves, Bruno Fernandes (João Moutinho 72), Pizzi; Bernardo Silva (Bruma 66), Ronaldo (Diogo Jota 83), Gonçalo Paciência
Lithuania: Šetkus, Mikoliūnas, Palionis, Girdvainis, Andriuškevičius; Slivka, Šimkus, Kuklys (D Matulevičius 57); Novikovas, Černych (D Kazlauskas 80), Golubickas (Lasickas 72)