Portugal 1-1 Iceland : Ronaldo blasts Iceland’s ‘small mentality’ after draw

By on June 15, 2016

Cristiano Ronaldo has hit out at Iceland’s ‘small mentality’ after they claimed an unlikely point against Portugal in their European championship debut.

Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo endured a frustrating evening in front of goal as he failed with several chances in his bid to become the first player to score at four consecutive Euros.

And his mood was not helped when Birkir Bjarnason’s equaliser cancelled out Nani’s opener to earn Iceland a famous point in their maiden appearance at a major championship.

The Portugal captain was less than impressed with what he perceived to be a negative style of football from Iceland, claiming they never attempted to win the Group F encounter, and also criticised their on-pitch celebrations.

“It was a little bit frustrating, we tried hard to win the game, Iceland didn’t try anything,” he said.

“They scored a goal, they created two chances in the 90 minutes and otherwise they got every player behind the ball, they put the bus in the net so it’s difficult when one team don’t try but Portugal try and play football and try to win the game.

“It’s a bit frustrating for us but it’s just the beginning for us, we’re not worried about that. If you see Spain, France, they are the strongest teams in the tournament and had a difficult time to win their games so for us it was tough but we are confident. We’re 100 per cent confident we’ll win our next game.

“The rankings don’t mean anything. We just try our best, keep the ball all the time and Iceland didn’t try anything, they were just ‘defend, defend, defend’ and playing on the counter-attack.

“It was a lucky night for them. We should have three point but we are okay. I thought they’d won the Euros the way they celebrated at the end, it was unbelievable.

“When they don’t try to play and just defend, defend, defend this in my opinion shows a small mentality and they are not going to do anything in the competition.”

Meanwhile, Portugal coach Fernando Santos rubbished suggestions Ronaldo refused to shake hands with Iceland players after his side’s disappointing draw.

The Real Madrid star was left unhappy after struggling to make an impact, including failing to convert two late free-kicks, as his team were held in Saint-Etienne.

Asked about Ronaldo’s post-match reaction, Santos played down reports the 31-year-old had failed to acknowledge the opposition.

“I didn’t see that at all. I was watching the players,” he told a news conference.

“He greeted the Portuguese crowd – that was amazing. We wanted to give our crowd a win, they supported all through the match.

“That’s not what I saw. I don’t think that’s true at all.”

Santos rued his side’s missed chances and said there was no chance of underestimating Iceland, who are at their first major tournament.

“We should have scored more goals – there’s no secret about that. We weren’t surprised by Iceland because we were familiar with their team,” he said.

Santos added: “We started off OK in the second half then there was this move. We knew they could do this, start playing long balls to fullbacks who crossed well.

“Iceland played a pragmatic type of game. We fought back well after the goal, we were shaken a bit but fought well and had chances to win.

“In the end Iceland had another dangerous shot, in between we had three or four chances. We are to blame for not scoring.

“Final 10 minutes we were anxious and should have been more patient and tried to score with cooler heads, be more patient in selecting opportunities.

“We’re disappointed not to win the match. We believe we can go through. Our aim is to win on Saturday [against Austria].”

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