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Cristiano Ronaldo Is Being Undone By His Defense, Which Can’t Stop Scoring At The Wrong End

Few in the history of the game have had the desire to score possessed by Cristiano Ronaldo. Unfortunately for the Portugal captain, his defense his currently scoring more than him against Germany.

Ronaldo’s early goal was erased by a pair of own goals as Germany led 2-1 at the half of their enthralling Group F match on Saturday. Germany went on to win 4-2.

Coming off a defeat to France on Tuesday — and having stumbled to a loss to North Macedonia in World Cup qualifying earlier this year — Jogi Löw’s side has looked nothing like the dominant teams of the mid-2010s. But Germany was flying early on in the match Saturday, playing with the verve and excitement that we haven’t seen from the squad since 2014. ESPN commentator Jon Champion said simply: “They look like Germany.”

Germany put the ball in the back of the net when Robin Gosens flew in with a volley at the back post, but the goal was called back by Serge Gnabry being offside. 

Then Portugal hit on the counter, a lightning-fast break that started with a defensive header from Ronaldo on a corner kick. The move ended with Diogo Jota able to pick out a wide-open Ronaldo, who was never going to miss from 5 yards out, completing a remarkable full-pitch sprint to score.

The goal, Ronaldo’s first ever against Germany, added to the Juventus striker’s lead atop the all-time scoring chart in Euro history. He also tied Miroslav Klose for most goals in World Cups and Euros combined with 19, though it should be noted Brazil’s Ronaldo has 25 in World Cups and Copa Américas. Ronaldo also pulled within two of Iran’s Ali Daei for the most goals ever scored at the international level by a man with his 107th goal for Portugal. 

The goal gave Ronaldo even more confidence to turn on the style, at one point playing a no-look volleyed-backheel pass while smiling at the crowd. 

Eventually Germany regained control, forcing Portugal into two own goals in four minutes, first by Rúben Dias and the second by Raphaël Guerreiro.

For full-match highlights, click here.

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