Team USA’s last-second draw with Portugal on Sunday night felt like a crushing defeat to American soccer fans, but it was far from a cause for celebration for the Portuguese.
The 2-2 tie meant that Portugal, ranked No. 4 in the world rankings entering the 2014 FIFA World Cup, now needs to beat Ghana on Thursday and receive help from the U.S. and Germany to have any hope of advancing out of group play.
Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo, who hardly was a factor in Sunday’s game until his textbook cross set up the game-tying goal, was brutally honest about his team’s performance when speaking with reporters after the game.
“Maybe we’re an average team,” Ronaldo said, via Goal.com. “It would be a lie to say that we are a ‘top’ team. We have many limitations and suffer from injuries such as with Pepe (who was suspended) and (Fabio) Coentrao. This limits us a lot. We have a very limited team and we are not at the best level. This does not enable you to beat top teams.
“There are no miracles. We knew we would have a tough group, with perhaps teams better than us. I never thought we could be world champions — we have to be humble and know our level. I’m not a hypocrite. I never thought we could win the tournament.”
Many have speculated that a nagging knee injury has kept Ronaldo from performing up to his usual high standards. That topic, however, he was not willing to discuss.
“I don’t want to justify myself by talking about my physical problems. That’s water under the bridge,” Ronaldo said. “I’m here, I’m fighting, I’m trying to do my best, I’m running, and obviously it’s no use talking about my issues.”
Portugal-Ghana and USA-Germany both will kick off at noon Thursday.
Photo via USA Today Sports Images