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Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal miss out on Nations League final after calling for Manchester United star to be dropped for World Cup as late winner Alvaro Morata seals win for Spain


Portugal suffered late heartbreak against arch-rivals Spain after Alvaro Morata’s late winner saw them miss out on a place in the Nations League final.

The inaugural UEFA competition champions dominated the game, but Morata’s 88th-minute arrival sent La Roja into the last four.

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Cristiano Ronaldo was denied Portugal’s biggest chance of the game

Portugal had only to avoid defeat in Braga

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Portugal had only to avoid defeat in Braga

Portugal were heavy favorites to progress from Group 2 of League A, needing only a draw in Braga after Spain’s surprising 2-1 loss at home to Switzerland on Saturday.

And while he doesn’t boast much about possession, Fernando Santos’ side had much better chances in front of a raucous home crowd.

Cristiano Ronaldo holds the record for most international goals with 117, but his frustrating start to the season continued here.

The 37-year-old had Portugal’s best chance to open the scoring with both teams deadlocked shortly after the second-half restart.

Ronaldo found himself one-on-one after being slipped by Diogo Jota, but he failed to beat the rushing Unai Simon with a weak effort.

The Manchester United star still lacks his usual sharpness and has seen a few more opportunities go to waste.


Morata had made an isolated figure in front of his late winner

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Morata had made an isolated figure in front of his late winner

The last five encounters between the pair have ended in draws and this one seemed to be heading in the same direction until Morata appeared.

With two minutes remaining, Nico Williams headed a long ball into the box towards the Atletico Madrid striker to strike into the net from close range and spark jubilant scenes.

Ronaldo then had the chance to be the hero in stoppage time but again failed to beat Simon with a near post effort.

It caps a miserable international break for the Portugal captain, who was hoping to regain his form after dropping out of the United squad.

Ronaldo drew both games against the Czech Republic and Spain, with his last goal for his country coming in June.

Morata's goal propelled Spain into the last four

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Morata’s goal propelled Spain into the last four

Ronaldo seems to lack confidence

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Ronaldo seems to lack confidence

He is undoubtedly one of the best players of all time but there are growing calls for him to be dropped from Portugal’s starting XI.

One of the country’s biggest publications, A Bola, had the headline: ‘Menos Ronaldo, mais Portugal’, which translates to ‘less Ronaldo, more Portugal’.

He will surely be included in the Portuguese World Cup squad for Qatar and he still wants to be involved in the 2024 European Championship.

“I hope to be part of the Federation for a few more years,” said Ronaldo.

“I always feel motivated; my ambition is great. I am in a team with young people. I want to be part of this World Cup and of Europe too; I’m going to assume right away.



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