Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his 200th cap in style by firing Portugal to a 1-0 win in Iceland

Portugal equaled their best start to a European Championship qualifying campaign after beating Iceland 1-0 at Laugardalsvöllur.

It was a tight first half in Reykjavík before Roberto Martínez’s side stepped on the gas after the break, taking advantage after Willum Willumsson was sent off in the 80th minute.

It had to be Cristiano Ronaldo, the 38-year-old celebrating his 200th cap by scoring an 89th minute winner, his 123rd goal for the Seleção.

Portugal maintain their two point lead ahead of Slovakia at the top of Group J, their next match taking place in Bratislava in 8 September.

Tight first half

Portugal began brightly by creating problems with balls delivered into the box. Bruno Fernandes’ corner found Ruben Dias at the back post, his header tipped wide by Rúnar Rúnarsson.

Iceland were making desperate clearances before another Fernandes corner picked out Pepe in the 16th minute, Rúnarsson on hand once again to make the save.

The hosts weathered the early storm and eventually got into the contest, a lengthy Viking clap from their supporters seemingly spurring them into action.

Victor Pálsson and Jón Dagur Thorsteinsson couldn’t keep their shots down, Hördur Magnússon headed straight at Diogo at Costa and Albert Gudmundsson fired wide.

The first half ended with Alfred Finnbogason booked for a high shot on Pepe, the 40-year-old remonstrating after feeling he had been deliberately elbowed in the face.

Seleção step on the gas

The Seleção started the second half strong with Rafael Leão firing over the bar, Pepe heading past the post and Ronaldo’s shot effort deflected wide.

Roberto Martínez made two changes in the 67th minute when Rúben Neves and João Cancelo replaced by Gonçalo Inácio and Raphaël Guerreiro. The switch saw Danilo move into the holding midfield role and Diogo Dalot movew to the right flank.

Willum Willumsson was booked for holding back Leão before the midfielder powered a low drive wide.

Willumsson sent off

Age Hareide made four substitutions in the space of four minutes but his side were dealt a big blow in the 80th minute, reduced to 10 men after Willumsson went in late on Inácio and was sent off for a second booking.

Crisitano Ronaldo received a yellow card for diving before Roberto Martínez brought on Vitinha and Otávio for Bruno Fernandes and Danilo.

Ronaldo once again

Portugal turned up the heat and made their numerical superiority count in the 89th minute. Inácio headed Guerreiro’s ball to Ronaldo who scored from close range, the goal eventually awarded after a lengthy VAR check ruled Inácio onside.

There was no way back for a deflated Iceland side, the Seleção closing out to make it four straight wins without being breached.

CR7 celebrates his double century in style

Ronaldo was presented with a commemorative jersey before kickoff, the superstar reaching another milestone in Reykjavík where he earned his 200th cap.

It almost ended in a frustrating evening for the 38-year-old who was repeatedly caught offside before being booked, but he wouldn’t be denied, bailing his nation out again with his 123rd international goal.

There have been 584 men's footballers to play 100 or more international matches, Ronaldo the first to make it 200.

It’s yet another incredible milestone for a player who has been relentlessly scrutinised on an off the pitch. His achievements in the game should never be forgotten or underestimated.

Cristiano Ronaldo will be a long time retired. 

Long road ahead

I am not expecting Portugal to play at their potential for some time. I mentioned after the 3-0 win against Bosnia-Herzegovina that this team is very much a work in progress.

Roberto Martínez made four changes in Iceland with Pepe replacing António Silva, the 40-year-old making his first appearance for the Seleção since the quarter-final defeat to Morocco at the 2022 World Cup.

Rúben Neves came in for the injured João Palhinha, Rafael Leão replaced João Félix on the left wing and Raphaël Guerreiro made way for Diogo Dalot which saw João Cancelo switch to the left flank.

The win in Reykjavík saw Portugal equal their best start to a European Championship qualifying campaign after winning their first four for Euro 1996.

Roberto Martínez couldn’t have asked for an easier start to his tenure, thrashing Liechtenstein and Luxembourg, the step up in class against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iceland successfully navigated to set the Seleção up well for the next two matches in September.

By Matthew Marshall at Laugardalsvöllur

Line Ups

Iceland (4-3-3): Rúnarsson - Lunddal Fridriksson (79’ Sampsted), Pálsson, Ingason, H. Magnússon – Willumsson, Traustason (75’ Bergmann Jóhannesson), J. Gudmundsson - A. Gudmundsson, Finnbogason (75’ S. Magnússon), Thorsteinsson (79’ Haraldsson)

Unused substitutes: Helgason, A. Gunnarsson, Valdimarsson, Ólafsson, Bjarnason, Grétarsson, Hlynsson, Ellertsson

Portugal (3-4-3): Diogo Costa - Rúben Dias, Pepe, Danilo (84’ Vitinha) - Diogo Dalot, Rúben Neves (67’ Gonçalo Inácio), Bruno Fernandes (84’ Otávio), João Cancelo (67’ Raphael Guerreiro) - Bernardo Silva (90+2 Diogo Jota), Ronaldo, Rafael Leão

Unused substitutes: Rui Patrício, José Sá, António Silva, Toti, Renato Sanches, Ricardo Horta, João Félix


[1-0] Cristiano Ronaldo, 89'