Lyon, June 23 (IANS) Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo admitted his team were in “dire straits” before fighting back from three goals down to secure a thrilling 3-3 draw against Hungary in the European Championship.
The draw meant that Portugal qualified for the round-of-16 of Euro 2016 in third place in Group F, and will play Croatia in Lens on Saturday.
The 31-year-old refused to take questions from journalists in the post-match press conference.
“We played a good match, it was a little insane — Hungary scored and then Portugal scored — and it was very hot. Personally, I was happy as the team was in dire straits — three times we had to chase down the score and three times we came back,” Ronaldo was quoted as saying by uefa.com on Thursday.
“It’s for me a privilege to be named Man of the Match but our priority was to win the match and we failed to do that. The bottom line is that we wanted to qualify.”
Ronaldo became the first player to score in four European Championships with his first goal, a sublime flicked finish through his legs, but he insists Portugal’s progression was far more important.
Croatia are next up following their 2-1 win over current champions Spain on Tuesday, and Ronaldo said it would be a tight contest in Lens.
“This is another record but, like I always say, that comes naturally. Of course, I cannot say I’m not happy as these are good records. But the priority was to make it through,” the Real Madrid forward said.
“Croatia are a good team but the odds are 50-50 and whoever plays the best match will go through. We saw highlights of the Spain match and they are a tough team with very good players. Not every team manages to beat Spain so we respect them. We know their strengths but we will look them in the eyes when we face them,” he said.