Cristiano Ronaldo's route to Euro 2016 final with Portugal
By Jack Wilkinson
Last Updated: 08/07/16 4:57pm
As Cristiano Ronaldo aims to guide Portugal to Euro 2016 glory, we take a game-by-game look at his performances in France so far...
Twelve years after a fresh-faced Ronaldo was brought to tears by Greece's shock victory at Euro 2004, the Portugal captain has the chance to banish those memories when he leads his nation out against France.
However, despite making it all the way to Paris, it has been an indifferent campaign for the three-time Ballon d'Or winner. Ahead of Sunday's showpiece at the Stade de France, we track Ronaldo's summer in France...
Portugal 1-1 Iceland - June 14
Having scored 51 goals for Real Madrid in all competitions last season, many expected Ronaldo to continue his goalscoring exploits in Saint-Etienne against an unfancied Iceland.
However, as they would go on to do throughout the tournament, Iceland failed to follow the script, consigning Ronaldo to a night of frustration. The focal point of a staunch Icelandic defensive plan, Ronaldo registered just a single attempt on target, and saw six attempts blocked, as Birkir Bjarnason's second-half volley earned Iceland a point in their first game at a major tournament.
It led Ronaldo to launch an unnecessary assault on Iceland's tactics post-match, saying: "Iceland didn't try anything, they were just defend, defend, defend and playing on the counter-attack. It was a lucky night for them."
Portugal 0-0 Austria - June 18
Ronaldo's misfortune in front of goal continued at the Parc des Princes four days later. It was all set up to be a night of celebration for the 31-year-old as he earned his 128th international cap to surpass Luis Figo.
Intent on capping his landmark appearance in style, Ronaldo embarked on a one-man mission, laying siege to the Austrian goal. He had three attempts on target, three off target and saw four efforts blocked as Portugal tried and failed to break the deadlock.
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Austria defender Martin Hinteregger then presented Portugal with their clearest opening, bringing Ronaldo to ground in the penalty area 11 minutes from time. The Real forward dusted himself down, steadied himself, but sent the resulting spot-kick crashing against the frame of the Austrian goal. The game finished goalless and Portugal were left with a battle on their hands to qualify for the knockout stage.
Hungary 3-3 Portugal - June 22
A battle was exactly what Portugal and Ronaldo faced when they took on Group F leaders Hungary in Lyon. Despite having already qualified for the last-16, Hungary refused to take their foot off the gas for their final group-stage game as Zoltan Gera's sumptuous strike put Bernd Storck's side in front.
The contest was level at half-time after Nani's second goal of the tournament, created by Ronaldo, but back came Hungary as Balazs Dzsudzsak restored their lead after the break. Ronaldo then took matters into his own hands, turning Joao Mario's cross home with a sublime flick to become the first player to score at four European Championships.
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After Dzsudzsak added Hungary's third five minutes later, Ronaldo was on hand again to claw Portugal level. His man-of-the-match performance sealed Portugal's passage to the last 16 and gave the first glimpse of the Ronaldo many had been waiting to see.
Croatia 0-1 Portugal - June 25
If Ronaldo's performance against Hungary was inspired, his showing against Croatia was the opposite.
With Croatia fielding Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Ivan Perisic, they were able to stifle the Portuguese attack in Lens in what turned out to be a drab last-16 encounter. Yet, despite having just a single attempt at goal, Ronaldo still managed to make the difference.
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Seconds after Perisic had headed against the post in extra-time, Ronaldo fired a low effort on target which goalkeeper Danijel Subasic could only parry into the path of Ricardo Quaresma, leaving him with the simple task of heading Portugal into the quarter-finals.
Poland (3) 1-1 (5) Portugal - June 30
Marseille's Stade Velodrome played host to Portugal's quarter-final with Poland, a game which pitted Ronaldo against another of Europe's most-prolific strikers in Robert Lewandowski.
The Bayern Munich striker, who had failed to find the net in the tournament, broke his five-game goal drought with an early strike, but Renato Sanches responded to force extra-time for the second successive game. It turned out to be a night of personal frustration for Ronaldo as he mustered just two attempts on the Polish goal in 120 minutes.
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He did, however, find the net with Portugal's first penalty in the shoot-out, but the accolades belonged to goalkeeper Rui Patricio for denying Jakub Blaszczykowski at the death.
Portugal 2-0 Wales - July 6
Having seen off the threat of Lewandowski in the previous round, Ronaldo and Portugal turned their attention to Wales and Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale.
Buoyed by their stunning victory over Belgium, Wales were able to contain the threat posed by the much-fancied Portuguese as a largely uneventful first half in Lyon passed without incident.
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But things soon changed after the break though, with Ronaldo the linchpin as Portugal booked their place at their second European Championship final. His towering header broke Wales' resolve before Nani turned his scuffed shot home three minutes later.
A goal, an assist and nine attempts on the Welsh goal certainly answered those doubters questioning Ronaldo's importance to this Portuguese team. If they are to be crowned European champions at the Stade de France on Sunday, the man for the big occasion will surely have a part to play.