IMAGE: Cristiano Ronaldo already held the record for most international appearances when he surpassed Kuwait’s Bader Al-Mutawa’s, who held the record of 196 matches. Photograph: Portuguese National Team/Twitter
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a stunning late goal as Portugal beat Iceland 1-0 in Reykjavik on Tuesday to extend their perfect record in Euro 2024 qualifying Group J on an historic night for the forward who became the first player to make 200 international appearances.
Ronaldo already held the record for most international appearances when he surpassed Kuwait’s Bader Al-Mutawa’s, who held the record of 196 matches, during Portugal’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Liechtenstein in March.
Portugal struggled to break the deadlock against Iceland but stepped up the pressure after Willum Thor Willumsson was sent off for a second yellow card after a rough tackle on substitute Goncalo Inacio in the 81st minute.
IMAGE: Cristiano Ronaldo honored by Guinness Book of World Records for becoming the first football player to complete 200 international matches. Photograph: Portuguese National Team/Twitter
Ronaldo had to wait two minutes to celebrate the winner as the referee first ruled out his close-range strike in the 89th minute for offside, but the goal was given after the VAR replay showed he was fractionally onside.
It was Ronaldo’s 123rd goal for Portugal, extending his record as the all-time leading international goalscorer.
The result left Portugal top with 12 points, two ahead of second-placed Slovakia, who won 1-0 away to Liechtenstein earlier on Tuesday.
Portugal started more aggressively but Iceland slowly took control and had two great chances to lead in the first half through defender Victor Palsson and full-back Hordur Magnusson.
But Portugal responded after the break and gradually got into the game, with Ronaldo’s goal securing the points.