Ghana, Portugal fall short
Cristiano Ronaldo and Andre Ayew (AFP)
Brasilia - Cristiano Ronaldo has wasted a succession of glorious chances as Portugal
bowed out of the World Cup on Thursday despite beating Ghana 2-1 in
As it happened: Portugal v Ghana
Portugal knew only a win combined with a defeat for
Germany or the United States in the other Group G fixture, plus a
significant swing in goal difference, would take them through to the
Germany won the group with a 1-0 win over the US, who also qualified on goal difference over Portugal.
Ronaldo netted his first goal of the tournament, the winner, it was his
numerous misses that cost Portugal the sizeable victory they needed to
make up for the 4-0 mauling they suffered by Germany in their first
"The match today was a match we tried to win and we did win.
We created many opportunities but we could not finish them all," said a
disappointed Ronaldo, who won the man-of-the-match award.
"We knew we had to score three goals and we were depending on the result of the Germany game.
knew it was complicated but what's left at the end shows that it was
possible considering the number of opportunities we created during the
"We deserved more but that's how football is. We can hold our heads up high. We tried our best but couldn't do it."
Portugal had taken the lead through a John Boye own goal before Asamoah Gyan equalised.
Europeans broke the deadlock after half an hour with an own goal by the
unfortunate Boye, who diverted a cross by Miguel Veloso off his knee
and over despairing goalkeeper Fatawu Dauda.
The move that led to
the goal started when the ball hit the referee in the middle of a
promising-looking attack by Ghana, missing two of their star players
after bust-ups with management.
Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley
Muntari had been sent home after attacking and abusing, respectively,
members of the Ghana management.
Ronaldo, who last month helped
Real Madrid to a 10th Champions League title, had already come close to
scoring on a number of occasions before the first goal.
scrappy opening few minutes he picked the ball up wide on the right and
hit a wayward cross that sailed over Dauda only to come back off the
He then tried his luck with a free-kick from 25 yards in a central position which Dauda beat away.
29-year-old looked certain to score as he rose unmarked to meet a cross
from seven yards out but headed straight at Dauda, who made an
instinctive reaction parry.
Moments later Portugal goalkeeper Beto kept a close-range shot from Gyan out with his legs as the action swung from end to end.
Black Stars put pressure on Portugal after the break, with captain Gyan
producing a shot from just outside the penalty area that skimmed
Shortly before the hour mark Ghana's persistence
earned reward when Gyan headed home at the far post from a sublime cross
by Kwadwo Asamoah, delivered with the outside of his left boot.
Gyan thus became the top African goalscorer at World Cups with his sixth effort in finals.
four minutes later the African team should have been ahead after Majeed
Waris squandered a glorious headed chance from close range as the Black
Stars began to get on top.
Ronaldo kicked the air in frustration
as another attack foundered, with news filtering through from soggy
Recife that Germany were 1-0 up against the United States, meaning both
Ghana and Portugal were back in the mix.
And Portugal's winner
came in heartbreaking fashion for Ghana with 10 minutes to go after
Dauda pathetically pawed at a dropping ball, giving it straight to
Ronaldo to fire home low into the corner.
It was his 50th goal for Portugal and he became the first player from his country to score at three World Cups.
he still had time to hit a tame shot from a good position straight at
Dauda before incredibly knocking a cross from Nani over the bar from
just four yards out.
Ronaldo had one more glorious chance when put through one-on-one with Dauda, but he shot straight at the keeper.