Cristiano Ronaldo said Portugal was “in the right place” after Fernando Santos’ side secured their place in the 2022 World Cup.
Bruno Fernandes scored both goals in their 2-0 win over North Macedonia in Porto on Tuesday, confirming Portugal’s bid to qualify for the World Cup from the beginning of the century.
Portugal had to go through two play-offs to reach Qatar after finishing behind Serbia in their qualifying group, but that means Italy are the only European football weightlifter to be out of the tournament by the end of the year.
In addition to injury, Manchester United striker Ronaldo will be in the fifth World Cup, the equivalent of a record held by Antonio Carbajal, Rafael Marquez, Lothar Matthaus, and Gianluigi Buffon, although the latter did not play in the 1998 tournament despite joining Italy.
“The goal has been achieved, we are in Qatar World Cup, we are in the right place!” Ronaldo wrote in a post on his official Instagram account shortly after the match.
“Thank you to all the Portuguese for your tireless support! Go to Portugal!”
Ronaldo opened Fernandes’ first game in the 32nd minute, with his team-mate, 37, then intercepting Diogo Jota’s ball in the middle of the second half but ended up winning.
“It doesn’t matter at all. It’s important to help the team, I’m not here to score goals,” Fernandes told reporters when asked how he played.
“If I could score I would be happy. That’s what I did today. Then it’s up to everyone to express their criticism and opinion.
“But my mind is always on the coach’s vision, which is probably why I had this double, by doing what the coach asked me to do.”
Regarding eligibility, Fernandes added: “It will be in a special place, obviously. The goal has been achieved, which is very important.
“I think Portugal played better, we played better, but this game made a difference because it made us fit.”