Portugal coach Paulo Bento denies Cristiano Ronaldo is still hampered by a knee injury despite his subdued performance in Sunday’s 2—2 draw with the US.
The Real Madrid forward struggled for much of the match but provided the assist for Silvestre Varela’s stoppage-time equaliser with a sumptuous cross, reports Xinhua.
“Clinically he was ok,” Bento said at his post-match press conference at the Arena Amazonia stadium.
“He played 90 minutes. I don’t think there is a problem there. And I don’t think that what happened in this match has anything to do with the condition of our players.”
Sunday’s result followed Portugal’s 0—4 loss to Germany in their opening Group G match in Salvador on June 16.
Bento’s side now need to beat Ghana in Brasilia on Thursday by a big margin to have any chance of progressing to the knockout phase.
“Our situation is extremely complex,” the coach admitted. “Apart from depending on others, we are disadvantaged by our goal difference. We still have a chance and we have to try to exhaust all our possibilities and maintain our professionalism until the end.”
“When analyzing the game, we probably had more opportunities than they did,” Bento said. “With better efficiency, we could have ended the match by halftime.”
“We never truly lost control of the match. Given the conditions, both teams opted to defend deep and for that reason we sat back after scoring the first goal. We had a tough time covering their right flank. We tried to set up two lines of four but that didn’t work,” he said.