Portugal skipper Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated becoming the first player to appear in five European Championships with a brace as they got their title defence off to a winning start with a 3-0 victory over a determined Hungary on Tuesday.
Ronaldo’s 87th-minute penalty after a foul on Rafa Silva meant he overtook Michel Platini for most European Championship goals scored, taking his tally to 10, after Raphael Guerreiro’s deflected goal had given them the lead three minutes earlier.
Ronaldo, who missed a sitter in the first half, then delivered the final blow to a spirited Hungary side with a goal after a brilliant Portugal move in stoppage time.
Before Portugal’s goal rush, Hungary thought they had snatched a first win over the visitors in their 14th meeting much to the delight of a packed stadium when Szabolcs Schon had the ball in the net. But the winger’s effort was disallowed for offside in the build-up.
Portugal equalled their largest margin of victory at the European Championships, with their previous victories by three goals coming in 1996 (3-0 v Croatia) and 2000 (3-0 v Germany).
Hungary are winless in their last four games at the European Championships (D2 L2), conceding at least three goals in each of the last three (two of those against Portugal).
Portugal won their opening game at a major tournament (World Cup & Euros) for the first time since Euro 2008, having been winless in each of their previous five coming into this game (D3 L2).
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player in European Championship Finals history to score 10+ goals in the competition (11), overtaking Michel Platini’s record of nine (all scored in the 1984 edition).
There were just 177 seconds between Portugal opening the scoring and taking a 2-0 lead through Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty – in converting his spot kick, the Juventus striker became the oldest player to score for Portugal at a major tournament (World Cup & Euros), aged 36 years and 130 days.
Portugal became the first team in the history of the European Championships to score three goals in the final 10 minutes of a game.
This was Cristiano Ronaldo’s 39th appearance at a major tournament (World Cup & Euros) for Portugal, an all-time record for a European player, overtaking Bastian Schweinsteiger’s 38 appearances for Germany.
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player in European Championships history to appear at five different tournaments (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020).
The average age of Portugal’s starting XI against Hungary was 29 years and 173 days; their oldest in a game when appearing at the European Championships. (Reuters)