Euro 2016: Cristiano Ronaldo hits out at 'small mentality' shown by Iceland in celebrating draw with Portugal

Portugal forward left frustrated after Portugal were held by Iceland at Euro 2016 on Tuesday

Tim Rich
Tuesday 14 June 2016 23:23
Cristiano Ronaldo flashes a rueful smile at the end of Portugal's 1-1 draw with Iceland (Getty)
Cristiano Ronaldo flashes a rueful smile at the end of Portugal's 1-1 draw with Iceland (Getty)

Cristiano Ronaldo claimed he was offended by the way Iceland celebrated their 1-1 draw with the Portuguese side he captains at Euro 2016.

Taking a point from the group favourites in their first game in any major tournament was a great moment for Icelandic football and was celebrated long and hard by those who had travelled to watch them. Before taking himself off to the dressing room, Ronaldo shook hands very reluctantly with just one of Iceland’s footballers.

Ronaldo was unimpressed by the way Iceland behaved, accusing their players of “celebrating like they had won the Euros”. He said: “The way they celebrated at the end was unbelievable. Iceland don’t try to play, they just defend, defend and defend. Then they celebrate like they have won the Euros. This in my opinion shows a small mentality. They are not going to do anything in this competition.”

Ronaldo’s mentality in refusing to accept that a team of Iceland’s standing – the whole nation has a population the size of Leicester – had little option but to defend for their lives is open to serious question. His statement may have been based on the frustration of having played poorly and missing several chances to settle the game.

“It was a little bit frustrating,” Ronaldo admitted. “We tried hard to win the game, Iceland didn’t try anything. They scored a goal, they created a couple of chances in the 90 minutes but otherwise they got every player behind the ball. They parked a bus in the net. It was a lucky night for them.

“It is difficult when one team doesn’t even try but Portugal try to play football and we try to win every game. We are 100 per cent confident we will win our next one.”

That is against Austria, who lost 2-0 to Hungary and whoever loses that match may find themselves out of the Euros.

For the Icelandic co-manager, Heimir Hallgrimsson, Ronaldo’s rant would have been unfathomable. The question he had to answer was whether this 1-1 draw with Portugal or the 1-0 victory over the Netherlands, in qualification, the finest moment in Iceland’s football history?

“This was probably about the same as the win against the Netherlands. So many things are happening for the first time for Icelandic football,“ he said. ”This was our first time on this stage and it was fantastic, it was just like playing at home because our fans were unbelievable and that made us feel better when we were tired towards the end. It is another milestone for Icelandic football.”

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