Penalty miss exposes Ronaldo's set-piece obsession

Sat Jun 18, 2016 6:46pm EDT
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PARIS (Reuters) - One question stands out after Portugal's 0-0 draw with Austria on Saturday -- does Cristiano Ronaldo have to take every single free kick and penalty?

If Portugal were to at least contemplate an alternative, they might not be ruing yet another failure to translate their dominance into three points.

But, rather like a playground kickabout where the owner of the ball always gets his own way, there is only ever one possible option and it has reached the stage where it is costing them crucial points in major tournaments.

The headlines will tell how Ronaldo missed a penalty late in the game on his record-breaking 128th appearance for his country, striking his effort against the post, but the two free kicks which he took, and wasted, were also significant.

The first was about 40 meters from goal and, even though scoring did not look like a reasonable possibility, Ronaldo insisted on having a crack. It went straight into the wall.

The second was on the edge of the penalty area, slightly to the right of goal and better suited to left-footed Raphael Guerreiro than right-footed Ronaldo.

Guerreiro stood over the ball alongside Ronaldo, more in hope than anything else. But, almost inevitably, it was the Real Madrid player who took the kick and curled it on to the roof of the net.

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Ronaldo et le Portugal n'y arrivent pas/Photo prise le 18 juin 2016/REUTERS/Darren Staples