Cristiano Ronaldo is at the center of attention garnered by the final round-of-16 match of the Qatar World Cup between Portugal and Switzerland, to be held at Lusail Stadium in Qatar at 4 a.m. on Wednesday.
This will be his final World Cup match if Portugal loses against Switzerland as this year’s World Cup is likely to be his last. Ronaldo, the football icon of the recent era, set the first-ever record of scoring in five consecutive World Cups by making a successful penalty kick in the first group match against Ghana. However, he failed to find the net in the second group match against Uruguay and the third group game against South Korea, losing fans’ faith.
According to a recent survey conducted by A Bola, a Portugal media company, 70 percent of respondents said Ronaldo should not be on the starting list. Of course, he is a player that can score any time. Ronaldo, who has the Portuguese record of playing the most World Cup matches with 20 games in five World Cups, only needs one more goal to tie the country’s record for most World Cup goals scored by a player currently held by "Black Panther" Eusébio.
Switzerland, which will compete against Portugal, finds Ronaldo difficult to deal with. “As we don’t have Ronaldo, the whole team should perform outstandingly,” said Xherdan Shaqiri of the Switzerland national team, emphasizing teamwork. Shaqiri, who scored a goal in the third-group match against Serbia, is the first Swiss player to have scored in three consecutive World Cups. Opta Sports, a football statistics company, predicted Portugal’s likelihood of winning to be 51.5 percent and Switzerland’s to be 21.7 percent. For Switzerland, this is the first opportunity in 68 years since the 1954 World Cup in the country to advance to the quarterfinals. For Portugal, who lost against South Korea in a Group H match, it is the first attempt to do so in 16 years since the 2006 World Cup in Germany, during which it was ranked No. 4. Switzerland has a better record against Portugal with 11 wins, nine losses, and five ties. Each team had one win and one loss against each other at the Nations League of the Union of European Football Associations.
Hong-Gu Kang email@example.com