Football

Cristiano Ronaldo starts in convincing win for Portugal

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Cristiano Ronaldo made his first appearance since the Champions League final as Portugal convincingly beat the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday night.

After weeks of questions over Ronaldo's fitness, he finally took to the pitch as Paulo Bento's men thumped the Republic of Ireland.

Having been struck by tendonitis and muscle fatigue there were question marks over whether or not Ronaldo would be fit for Portugal's World Cup campaign, but those questions were answered after he played over an hour of his country's final World Cup warm-up fixture.

When Bento named the eleven to face Ireland, Portuguese spirits were lifted by the inclusion of number seven - Cristiano Ronaldo.

90 minutes later, and after a 5-1 win, Portugal were once again contenders to lift the greatest trophy in world football.

He may not have scored, he may not have even made a clear assist, but simply having a fit Ronaldo back in action makes a huge difference to Portugal.

Just minutes after kick-off the lesser-admired Hugo Almeida nodded Bento's team ahead.

Silvestre Varela crossed from the right and Almedia was on hand to hit the back of the net, just as he has done so regularly for the national team.

The second owed far more to luck than it did ability, Fabio Coentrao raced down the left and his low cross took a wicked deflection off Ireland defender Richard Keogh to loop into the net.

Before the game reached the half-way point Ronaldo finally had his say in a goal - his header was stopped by Ireland keeper David Forde only for Almedia to tap home to claim his 19th international goal.

Though he may not demand the kind of headlines Ronaldo attracts, Almedia has made a habit of scoring important goals for Bento's team, and that's why he'll start up top when Portugal face Germany in their opening fixture on June 16th.

After James McClean pulled one back Vieirinha and Coentrao netted to seal a 5-1 win but all eyes were on Ronaldo as Portugal proved just how good they can be.

Portugal's opening game against Germany will be incredibly tough, and the winner will be expected to top a group that also contains Ghana and USA.

Though Joachim Low's side will be fully prepared to face the reigning Ballon d'Or winner, they will be bitterly disappointed to have seen him last over an hour in this friendly.

Like few before him, Ronaldo can be simply unplayable. Germany will have a game plan in place to stop him, but as they showed on Tuesday night, there's far more to Portugal than Ronaldo's goals.

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Topics:
World Cup
Football
Cristiano Ronaldo

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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