Cristiano Ronaldo has criticised Icelandic players for the way they celebrated their 1-1 draw with the Portuguese side he captains – calling it “small mentality”.
Before taking himself off to the dressing room, Ronaldo shook hands very reluctantly with just one of Iceland’s footballers.
Ronaldo was unimpressed by the way Iceland behaved, accusing their players of “celebrating like they had won the Euros”. He said: “The way they celebrated at the end was unbelievable. Iceland don’t try to play, they just defend, defend and defend. Then they celebrate like they have won the Euros. This in my opinion shows a small mentality. They are not going to do anything in this competition.”
Ronaldo’s statement may have been based on the frustration of having played poorly and missing several chances to settle the game.
“It was a little bit frustrating,” Ronaldo admitted. “We tried hard to win the game, Iceland didn’t try anything. They scored a goal, they created a couple of chances in the 90 minutes but otherwise they got every player behind the ball. They parked a bus in the net. It was a lucky night for them.
“It is difficult when one team doesn’t even try but Portugal try to play football and we try to win every game. We are 100 per cent confident we will win our next one.”
For the Icelandic co-manager, Heimir Hallgrimsson, Ronaldo’s rant would have been unfathomable. The question he had to answer was whether this 1-1 draw with Portugal or the 1-0 victory over the Netherlands, in qualification, the finest moment in Iceland’s football history?
“This was probably about the same as the win against the Netherlands. So many things are happening for the first time for Icelandic football,“ he said. ”This was our first time on this stage and it was fantastic, it was just like playing at home because our fans were unbelievable and that made us feel better when we were tired towards the end. It is another milestone for Icelandic football.”