Bruno Fernandes

Portugal, on Monday, became the third team to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2022 pre-quarterfinals. Fernando Santos’ team defeated Uruguaya 2-0, courtesy of a brace by Bruno Fernandes.

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After the empathic victory, midfielder Fernandes said his first goal – which came from a cross outside the area on the left – might have been scored by Cristiano Ronaldo, who, in fact, burst into celebration, claiming the goal as Portugal took a 1-0 lead in the 54th minute.

The cross just sailed past the head of Ronaldo and nestled in the far corner of the goal, giving the Uruguay goalkeeper Sergio Rochet no chance to make an attempt to save. Further, Ronaldo’s leap for a header confused him.

Fernandes would score again in injury time from a penalty kick in the 93rd minute, with Ronaldo already benched, to see Portugal through to the Last 16.

Ronaldo was later seen laughing when Fernandes’ name was announced on the loudspeaker at the Lusail Stadium.

“The feeling I had was that Cristiano touched the ball. I was passing the ball to him,” Fernandes told the media after the match. “But what matters is that we are going through to the next round after playing a very tough opponent.”

Also Read | FIFA World Cup 2022: Portugal beats Uruguay 2-0, qualifies for round of 16

After the win, coach Santos said, “First place isn’t guaranteed. We will go for the top spot, and not just because of Brazil.”

Portugal is currently on top of Group H with two wins in as many games. It will face South Korea on December 2 to determine its opponent in the pre-quarterfinals. A first-place finish will help Portugal avoid Brazil, who also advanced to the knockouts.