Ronaldo determined to surpass Ali Daei record for male international; France ease past Croatia and Belgium thrash Iceland
Wednesday 9 September 2020 13:34, UK
Cristiano Ronaldo became the first European player to reach 100 international goals after scoring twice in Portugal's 2-0 win over 10-man Sweden.
Veteran Sweden midfielder Gustav Svensson was sent off just before half-time for collecting a second yellow card, and from the resulting free-kick, Ronaldo fired the ball into the top corner to bring up his landmark century.
After 72 minutes, the Juventus forward - who missed Portugal's Nations League opener against Croatia on Saturday with a toe injury - curled in a second goal from the edge of the penalty area.
Ronaldo has set his sights on Iranian Ali Daei's record for a male international of 109 goals.
"I managed to beat this milestone of 100 goals and now (I'll go) for the record. It's step-by-step. I am not obsessed because I believe the records come in a natural way," Ronaldo said.
"When I had this problem in my toe I always knew that I could recover for this second game."
Asked about his future in the game, Ronaldo was quoted by Reuters as saying: "The future, only God knows. I am happy to play with these young players and I am enjoying a lot this moment both individually and collectively.
Portugal have two wins from their opening Nations League fixtures, and top the table ahead of France, who beat Croatia 4-2 in Paris.
Defender Dejan Lovren had put the 2018 World Cup runners-up ahead after 17 minutes following a corner, but Antoine Griezmann drew France level just before the break.
In stoppage time, Manchester United forward Anthony Martial saw his sliding effort deflect in off 'keeper Dominik Livakovic for an own goal.
Croatia levelled through Josip Brekalo in the 55th minute, which was a first international goal for the Wolfsburg forward.
The world champions, though, were back in front when defender Dayot Upamecano headed in a corner from close-range after 65 minutes.
With 13 minutes left, Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud made it 4-2 from the penalty spot following a handball by Lovren as France also maintained their 100 per cent start to the Nations League.
Belgium thrashed Iceland 5-1 in their Nations League clash in Brussels to move clear at the top of Group 2.
The Red Devils, who had beaten Denmark away in their opening League A fixture, fell behind to Holmbert Aron Fridjonsson's deflected goal after 11 minutes.
However, Roberto Martinez's men soon turned the tie around as Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel equalised and Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi made it 2-1 after 17 minutes.
Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne - who had earlier been named the Professional Footballers' Association's player of the year in England - set up a third for Dries Mertens five minutes into the second half.
Batshuayi added a fourth, with 18-year-old Anderlecht forward Jeremy Doku completing the scoring with 10 minutes left.
In the other game in the group, Denmark and England played out a goalless draw in Copenhagen.
In League C Group 1, Luxembourg finished with 10 men in a 1-0 home defeat by Montenegro, who made it two straight wins, while Cyprus were beaten again following a 1-0 loss against Azerbaijan in Nicosia.
Earlier, Armenia had beaten Estonia 2-0 in their Group 2 match, while it finished 1-1 between Georgia and North Macedonia, who top the table on four points.
Tuesday's League D fixture saw Liechtenstein open their Group 2 campaign with a 2-0 win at San Marino.