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Portugal varnished, immortal Ronaldo, absence of air conditioning … Favorites and claws of our special correspondent

Find the impressions of our journalist present in Doha during Portugal-Ghana (3-2).

Special Envoy to Doha

FAVORITES

Ronaldo’s longevity rewarded

At 37, the Portuguese offered himself the luxury of registering his 8e goal in a World Cup, which makes him the first player in history to score in five different World Cups. Prodigious. And a symbol of remarkable longevity. Entering the lawn first during the warm-up, like a gladiator ready to split the arena, the now ex-Manchester United player was the most dangerous element (10e13e30e83e) Portuguese side in the bleak copy returned by the men of Fernando Santos with a flattering result. At the center of the debates in the country since the start of the preparation, CR7 saw all its partners come to greet it after its penalty (1-0, 67e) very well shot. The group lives well in Portugal (3-2 against Ghana).

A stadium without air conditioning is good too

Only of the eight stadiums not equipped with an air conditioning system, stadium 974, where the Blues will play on Saturday against Denmark, cannot be criticized on this point. Portuguese and Ghanaians, just like the spectators, were able to benefit from a pleasant temperature Thursday evening in Doha. Favorable playing conditions, even if the lawn already seems affected two days after Mexico-Poland (0-0) which took place here. Without air conditioning, the players did not suffer from the relative heat (23 degrees) in the Qatari night.

Leao holder, and quickly!

Finally replacing at the start of the match, Rafael Leao woke up Portugal as soon as he entered the game at the end of the match. Launched at the 77e minute of play, instead of Neves, the Milanese came to position himself on the left lane to make miseries there. By his power, his confidence and his nerve, he immediately put himself in value. A minute after his entry, Felix gave the advantage to his team (2-1, 78e), before Giroud’s teammate in Lombardy scored his goal (3-1, 80e) and justifies the choice of his coach. It’s hard not to imagine the former Lille player starting the next match. In a collective that was sorely lacking in percussion and speed on Thursday evening, Leao brings qualities that are obvious.

Ayew thanks Kudus as Ghana equalizer HANNAH MCKAY / REUTERS

Kudus and the hearts of Ghanaians

For a long time, Portugal thought it had to settle for a draw when it entered the competition. It would have looked bad for a candidate declared in the last four. The fault of a solid selection of Ghana, applied and came to Doha with his weapons. A man broke away from the block put in place by Otto Addo, a certain Mohammed Kudus, whom fans of the Dutch championship already know, or those who appreciated his performances in the Champions League with Ajax.

Placed on the left side of the Ghanaian midfielder, he spoke about his power, his volume of play and his ability to project himself forward. It is he who wakes up his people with a heavy strike (72e), before being the decisive passer on Ayew’s equalizing goal (1-1, 73e). Hard to understand to see him come out in stride. Moment Ghanaians dived. Mere coincidence? Bukari’s late-game goal (3-2, 89e) will also symbolize the heart and valor of the Blacks Stars who could have taken more risk in this meeting to hope for another result. This Portugal was catchable.

CLAW STRIKES

A penalty far too generous

If now the referees whistle all the contacts in the surface or the duels during corners, as was the case during Argentina-Saudi Arabia, football will not come out of it better. Abused by the craftiness of Cristiano Ronaldo, who fell after a shoulder shot from Mohammed Salisu (62e), the American official Ismail Elfath clearly lost his footing. A few minutes before, the Portuguese, disappointing in the game for a large part of the meeting, had decided to amplify each fall with more or less success. And it worked with the shamefully awarded penalty to Ronaldo, who didn’t hesitate to convert it.

A soothing first act

You had to be wide awake not to fall asleep on Thursday night after the boring 45 minutes offered by the two selections. Between Portuguese without too many ideas, apart from finding Cristiano Ronaldo and hoping for inspiration from their legend, and Ghanaians who entered the pitch with the ambition of playing low, compact, while waiting for better, the public at the 974 stadium is bored stiff. A real sleeping pill. Too soft, too telephoned, too slow… An uninteresting first act. A little better after that…which wasn’t too hard to do.

Still sparse stands

As since the start of the World Cup, with rare exceptions, the poster between Portugal and Ghana was not full at the 974 stadium. 15 minutes from kick-off, the enclosure was really empty, before filling up nicely when the 22 actors entered the lawn. 42,662 spectators were announced at the end of the meeting by the official announcer, a surprising figure for an enclosure supposed to accommodate 40,000 people. Once again surprising and a phenomenon that is repeated for this World Cup with figures not necessarily close to reality, even less to what we can see with our own eyes on the lawn.

SEE ALSO – World Cup: France team, Brazil… Ask all your questions to our special correspondents

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