Alan Shearer summed it up best when Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t take a penalty in Portugal’s shootout defeat to Chile on Wednesday.
“What’s the point in having your best penalty taker last?” Shearer wrote on Twitter.
After Portugal’s Confederations Cup semi-final against Chile went to penalties, neither side managing to score in 120 minutes, it was widely expected that Ronaldo would step up to take Portugal’s first penalty.
But he didn’t. That responsibility was instead left to Ricardo Quaresma, and it quickly became clear that Fernando Santos decided to leave Ronaldo to take Portugal’s fifth spot-kick.
A decision he would come to regret. Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz and Arturo Vidal all scored for Chile and when Claudio Bravo followed up his saves from Quaresma and Joao Moutinho by denying Nani, Portugal were out.
Could Ronaldo have been moved up the order?
Many wondered, when Portugal fell behind, whether the Euro 2016 champions could have moved Ronaldo up their penalty order to ensure the Real Madrid star took one.
Lee Dixon and Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink, on punditry duty for ITV, said that wasn’t possible; that Ronaldo would have to remain as the fifth penalty taker.
But that is incorrect. IFAB laws state that a team doesn’t have to inform the referee of the order and can “change the order of the kickers.”
What IFAB rules say
“Each team is responsible for selecting from the eligible players the order in which they will take the kicks. The referee is not informed of the order,” the laws state, via the Mirror.
Did Portugal coach Fernando Santos know this? If so, it begs the question why didn’t he move Ronaldo up after Quaresma’s miss gave Chile the advantage.
Watch: Bravo saves Nani’s penalty
Santos: The three who missed were heroes last year
Santos failed to blame Quaresma, Moutinho or Nani for missing from 12 yards, instead calling them “heroes” for their efforts in last summer’s European Championship.
“The goalkeeper was fantastic but the three players who failed their penalties were heroes in the European Championship against Poland,” Santos said, per Goal.
“I always defend my players. It’s my decision who takes them.”
The 62-year-old also defended his decision not to have Ronaldo taking the first penalty.
“These three players scored their goals in the Euros,” he added. “There’s no point thinking along those lines [that the order could have been changed after the first was saved].”