STOCKHOLM: Cristiano Ronaldo moved past a century of international goals as he scored a brace in Portugal’s Nations League victory over Sweden.
The Juventus star, who netted his first for his country in a 2–1 group stage loss to eventual champions Greece at Euro 2004, struck a superb free kick on the stroke of half time to become only the second player ever to reach three figures.
That subsequently put Ronaldo nine behind the international record mark set by Iran’s Ali Daei but another stunning effort after 72 minutes of his 165 appearance increased his tally further to 101 while he’d also have chances to bag a 10th Portugal hat-trick.
Nevertheless his side easily held on for all three points against the hosts, who had Gustav Svensson sent off for the challenge that led to the Real Madrid and Manchester United legend’s landmark free-kick.
Third on the list behind Daei and Ronaldo is the great Ferenc Puskas, who scored 84 goals in 85 games for Hungary, while Pele is fifth with 77 in 92 matches and Lionel Messi is down in joint 15th place alongside Trinidad and Tobago’s Stern John with ‘just’ 70 goals in 138 games for Argentina.
England and Denmark shared the points as their lacklustre Nations League tie ended goalless in Copenhagen.
Captain Harry Kane went closest to breaking the deadlock in the third minute of injury time when his effort was cleared off the line by former Huddersfield defender Matias Jorgensen.
But for most, the evening will be remembered for the new faces on show, as Conor Coady and Kalvin Phillips started before Ainsley Mainsley-Niles and Jack Grealish came off the bench – the first time four players have made England debuts in a competitive match since 1962.
The night’s results
Armenia 2, Estonia 0
Georgia 1, North Macedonia 1
Belgium 5, Iceland 1
Denmark 0, England 0
France 4, Croatia 2
Sweden 0, Portugal 2
Cyprus 0, Azerbaijan 1
Luxembourg 0, Montenegro 1
San Marino 0, Liechtenstein 2