Cristiano Ronaldo (L) marked his 200th Portugal appearance with the winning goal (Halldor KOLBEINS)
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a late winner on his 200th international appearance as Portugal beat Iceland 1-0 on Tuesday to maintain their perfect start to Euro 2024 qualifying.
The 38-year-old striker steered in from close range in the 89th minute for his 123rd Portugal goal on a night he also extended his men’s international caps record in Reykjavik.
“For me it’s an unbelievable achievement, it’s amazing. And of course to score the winning goal, it’s even more special,” Ronaldo told UEFA.com.
“We didn’t play so well but sometimes football is like that,” added Ronaldo, who made his international debut at 18 in August 2003.
“But we scored a goal and, in my opinion, we deserved it. I’m so happy because of 200 caps, but this is even more special.”
Ronaldo received a bouquet of flowers and a certificate to commemorate the landmark occasion, the latest in a long list of records for the former Real Madrid and Manchester United star.
Having scored twice in each of Portugal’s qualifiers in March, albeit against Liechtenstein and Luxembourg, Ronaldo failed to find the net in last week’s 3-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina.
He was repeatedly caught offside against Iceland and headed narrowly over at corner early in the second half.
But he again silenced those who have doubted coach Roberto Martinez’s wisdom in calling him up, grabbing the winner after Iceland were reduced to 10 men with Willum Thor Willumsson sent off.
Goncalo Inacio knocked the ball across for Ronaldo to turn home in the 89th minute, with the goal initially ruled out for offside before the decision was overturned and the Portugal captain was mobbed by his team-mates.
Portugal are already cruising towards a place at next year’s European Championship in Germany, sitting top of Group J after scoring 14 goals without reply in four straight wins.