LISBON: Portugal’s press on Thursday hailed the national side’s last-gasp 3-2 victory against Denmark to kick-start their Euro 2012 campaign, but reflected on star player Cristiano Ronaldo’s failure to shine.
“Portugal won ‘without’ Ronaldo, who missed two unbelievable chances,” said the sports daily A Bola, while its competitor Record headlined its front page “Thanks Varela”, referring to substitute Silvestre Varela, who scored the winner.
The Diario de Noticias added: “Portuguese character shown without Ronaldo: an 87th minute goal gave Portugal a precious victory during a match where Pepe and Nani played leading roles and made up for Ronaldo’s misses.”
The Correio da Manha also said that Wednesday’s match “renewed hope” of the team making the knock-out stages, after Portugal lost to Germany 1-0 in the opening match.
For Publico “Portugal stayed in the Euro” thanks to “accidental hero Varela and despite ‘Ronaldo’s lack of inspiration”, also describing the Real Madrid star as “superhero on a bad day”.
“Ronaldo needs a psychologist,” columnist Bruno Par said, assessing that “someone needs to bring his anxiety under control”.
“Everything will be easier — for him and for Portugal — when he’s less obsessed by winning, goals and himself,” he added.
“To the man we demand everything from we forgive nothing. If Portugal hadn’t won, Cristiano Ronaldo would have been crucified today,” said another columnist in the pages of Record.
“It’s not right to see one of the best players in the world so uninspired,” said A Bola, asking: “What’s happening with Cristiano Ronaldo? Lacking confidence? Tired?”
Looking for something more positive, the sports paper said at least the victory showed that “Portugal can win ‘without’ Ronaldo and don’t completely depend on him to achieve their objectives”.