LYON: Cristiano Ronaldo on Wednesday hit a double to become the first player to score in four different European Championships and, in the process, rescued Portugal from defeat in a thrilling 3-3 draw against Hungary that secured their last-16 place in
LYON: Cristiano Ronaldo on Wednesday hit a double to become the first player to score in four different European Championships and, in the process, rescued Portugal from defeat in a thrilling 3-3 draw against Hungary that secured their last-16 place in the prestigious tournament.
Iceland set up a last-16 clash with England on Monday as substitute Ingvi Traustason’s last-gasp winner earned the Euro debutants a famous 2-1 win over Austria.
Republic of Ireland also scored their own memorable 1-0 win over Italy and Belgium beat Sweden by the same score, ending the international career of Swedish legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic in defeat. After the results, both teams moved secured a berth in the last 16 in the tournament.
The Irish, Belgians, Iceland and Portugal join hosts France, Wales, Germany, Croatia, Italy, Switzerland, England, Poland, Spain, Slovakia, Northern Ireland and Hungary in the last 16.
The Republic will take on hosts France in Lyon on Sunday.
Ronaldo also made a record 17th appearance in the European Championship and twice rescued his side from an embarrassing early exit in Lyon as surprise package Hungary ensured their place at the top of Group F.
The Real Madrid star had earlier looked like he was feeling the pressure when he threw a reporter’s microphone into a lake upon being approached during a pre-match team walk.
However, after disappointing performances against Iceland and Austria, Ronaldo came good just in time to set up a meeting with Croatia in Lens on Saturday.
“It was an insane match,” said the three-time World Player of the Year.
“Of course, we wanted to win and qualify in first place, but the main thing is we’re through,” said Ronaldo.
Zoltan Gera smashed Hungary into an early lead before Ronaldo slipped in a pass to Nani to equalise before half-time.
Hungary captain Balazs Dzsudzsak twice threatened to cause a massive upset by sending Ronaldo’s team crashing out early in the second period.
Dzsudzsak’s deflected free-kick put Hungary 2-1 up, but Ronaldo responded with a sumptuous backheel for his historic record-breaking goal.
Just five minutes later another deflected Dzsudzsak effort restored Hungary’s lead.
Yet Ronaldo was not to be denied as a towering header moved him to within one goal of Michel Platini’s record mark of nine goals in Euros finals.