CR7 scores but Portugal, Ghana out


Portugal and Ghana were both eliminated after A Seleccao beat the Black Stars 2-1 in their final Group G fixture, with Ronaldo netting his first and only goal of the World Cup campaign in Brazil.

The match got off to a positive start with both sides looking to find the opening goal. Portugal had a good chance of doing so in the 5th minute, when Ronaldo charged down the right flank and delivered a cross-come-shot which ricocheted off the Ghanaian cross-bar.

Ronaldo had another opportunity five minutes later through a free-kick just outside of the Ghanaian area, but his strike was dealt with by goalkeeper Dauda as he palmed out the dipping ball for a corner.

Plenty of fouls in the midfield made for a frustrating stop-start in action for both teams, but the referee controlled things well. Ghana had their first opportunity in the 23rd minute from a free-kick on the right flank, whcih was well taken, but Gyan failed to connect well with the ball and the looping header was easily collected by Beto.

Ghana were extremly unfortunate on the half hour mark, when a cross from Miguel Verloso on the lleft came awkwardly to John Boye, and the defender's attemted clearance instead got the beating of Dauda and went into his own net.The goal was a big blow for The Black Stars, and rattled the team somewhat as they attempted to attack without exposing their defense too much.

The two sides went into the break with plenty to discuss as Portugal needed at least three more goals to extinguish their negative goal difference, and Ghana needed to turn the score around completely.

The half-time pep-talk from coach Appiah seemed to have sparked some urgency in the Ghanaians as Asamoah Gyan lead the team to pressurise the Portuguese deep in their own half. The high pressure almost paid off when Gyan forced Beto into a mistimed clearance which went out for a throw-in.

Ghana seemed to have sort their defense out as well, with Boye and Afful doing well to keep Ronaldo, Eder and Nani at bay. 

Gyan again led the Black Stars attack, and had a good opportunity in 53rd minute, unleashing a powerful low shot which went narrowly wide of Beto's goal. The chances were coming, and Ghana looked poised to find the equaliser soon.

Just five minutes later and Ghana made their momentum count, with Asamoah doing well down the left flank, picking out Gyan at the back post, who did well to keep his composure and head home for the much-needed Ghanaian equaliser.

Gyan was again in the thick of things four minutes later, when he turned goal-scorer to provider, with a lovely cross in search of Waris, but the strikers header was mishit and did not trouble Beto in the Portuguese goal at all.

With matters level, and win for both sides crucial, the match opened up a litltle as the teams went in search of a leading goal. Ghana needed one after news filtered through that Germany had taken the lead against the USA, but it would leave them vulnerable at the back.

Ronaldo capatalised on the defensive frailties of the Ghanaians and finally broke his 2014 World Cup duck, to give Portugal the lead in the 80th minute. Portugal needed much more than that, but with only 10 mins to go they seemed to have accepted their fate.

Ghana couldn't get the better of Pepe and co. either, and the match closed out to end 2-1 in favour of A Seleccaowith Ronaldo's goal meaning little in the wake of Portugal's elimination - their first ever exit from a World Cup group stage.

Germany finished top of Group G, with USA ending in second, topping Portugal on goal difference, and Ghana bottom of the group with just one point from their three matches.