After scoring a brace in Portugal’s 3-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday, Cristiano Ronaldo became the greatest goalscorer in the history of the European Championship finals.
The 36-year-old had been tied with Michel Platini on nine goals ahead of Euro 2020, but after scoring a penalty in the 87th minute, he overtook the France legend. He then scored his 106th international goal in stoppage time.
All three of Portugal’s goals came in an eight-minute flurry late in the game, with Raphael Guerreiro’s deflected shot in the 84th minute breaking the deadlock.
After making his debut in 2004, the Portuguese superstar, who had been quiet for much of the game, also became the first man to play in five European Championship finals.
“The important thing was to win. It was a difficult game, against an opponent who defended very well, but we scored three goals and I am very grateful to the team for helping me to score two goals,” Ronaldo said after the game.
Since the pandemic began, seeing football fans packed to the rafters in a stadium has been rare, but the game in Budapest, Hungary, was played in front of 55,662 fans at the Puskas Arena.
After local authorities relaxed social distancing measures in favor of the entry requirements, the Hungarian capital is the only venue in this year’s tournament to be allowed a full stadium.
Last week, Hungary had 782 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 50 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban was in attendance at the Puskas Arena, where a raucous home crowd cheered on their team as they frustrated Portugal for much of the match. Hungary’s fans even had a goal to celebrate, albeit briefly. By sweeping home after a brilliant counterattack, Szabolcs Schon appeared to have caused a major upset, but he was correctly adjudged to be offside.
The disallowed goal seemed to jolt Portugal into action, and the reigning champion finally got the break it deserved after a dominant display.
It was most likely thanks to Ronaldo, who is now just four goals away from breaking the all-time men’s international top goalscorer record, which is currently held by Iranian Ali Daei.
Ronaldo emphatically converted the penalty to double his team’s lead before completing a fantastic team move to double his own tally.
With World Cup winners France and Germany also in the group, it felt like a must-win match for Portugal.
The two European superpowers met later on Tuesday, with France winning 1-0 thanks to an early Mats Hummels own goal.
After a beautifully crafted pass from Paul Pogba released Lucas Hernandez down the left after 20 minutes, the German defender sliced a clearance into his own net.
France, widely regarded as a favorite to win the tournament, looked dangerous throughout but was unable to add to its goal total.
Second-half goals by Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema were correctly ruled out for offside, and Adrien Rabiot hit the post after a driving run.
In contrast, Germany appeared toothless in attack and struggled to deal with France’s lightning-quick counterattacks.
In their next group match, France will face Hungary, while Germany will face Portugal.