‘That was INSANE’ - Ronaldo breathes sigh of relief as Portugal scrape into Euro 2016 knockout stage after 3-3 thriller

Two-goal record-breaker just happy team are in last 16

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 June, 2016, 4:06am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 June, 2016, 4:06am

Man-of-the-match Cristiano Ronaldo called Portugal’s 3-3 draw against Hungary “insane” as his side scraped into the last 16 of Euro 2016, thanks to his two record-breaking second-half goals.

Ronaldo opened his account in style with a deft backheel flick on 50 minutes before a bullet header 12 minutes later to twice equalise at the Stade de Lyon.

The goals made the 31-year-old the first player to score in four European Championships.

The result made Hungary unlikely Group F winners in their first international tournament for three decades.

Portugal squeezed through as one of the best third-place finishers but now face a tough last 16 match against Croatia in Lens on Saturday.

“It was an insane match,” said Ronaldo as Portugal equalised three times in sweltering conditions.

“We had to chase down the match, it was very hot, but the main goal was to qualify.

“Of course, we wanted to win and qualify in first place, but the main thing is we’re through.”

Following their draws with Iceland and Austria, Portugal’s captain showed signs he was feeling the pressure, throwing a TV reporter’s microphone into a lake on the morning of the game in Lyon.

But he delivered when it mattered as Portugal equalised three times in a match that was not for the faint-hearted.

The Real Madrid ace set another record by making his 17th appearance at Euro tournaments.

“These are just more records, but like I always say that comes naturally,” he said.

“I can’t say I’m not happy, these are good records, but the priority was to make it through to the 16.”

Ronaldo rated his side’s chances as “50/50” in the last 16 as a talented Croatia side shocked defending champions Spain to reach the knock-out phase on Tuesday.

“We made it and now we face a very good team, but the odds are 50/50,” he said.

“Croatia are a tough team, with good players. Not every team manages to beat Spain.

“We respect them, but we know our strength and we’ll look them in the eye when we face them.”

Ronaldo praised his side for fighting back each time they were facing elimination.

“The bottom line was to qualify, we thought we’d done it in second place, but Iceland scored late on and we finished third,” he said,

“We attacked, Hungary attacked.

“The team was in dire straits, three times we were about to go home, but we came back each time.”