Brasilia, Brazil • Cristiano Ronaldo finally made his mark at the World Cup — but it came too late to spare Portugal an early exit from Brazil.
The world player of the year broke his scoring drought at the tournament with an 80th-minute winner in Portugal’s 2-1 victory over Ghana.
That result, however, left the Portuguese level on four points with United States in Group G but with an inferior goal difference to the second-place Americans, who lost 1-0 to Germany in Recife. Ghana also was eliminated, finishing bottom of the group.
"We knew we had to score three goals and were depending on the result of the Germany game and we couldn’t do that," Ronaldo said after his most lively performance of the tournament.
"We deserved more, but that’s football. We are leaving with our heads held high."
Ronaldo barely celebrated after slamming home his goal, giving Portugal its first win after a 4-0 loss to Germany and 2-2 draw with the U.S.
By that time, the Portuguese still needed a three-goal swing to move above the Americans.
Belgium 1, Korea 0
Reduced to 10 men for over half the match, Belgium still beat South Korea in Sao Paulo to finish atop of Group H and eliminate the last Asian team from the World Cup.
With a late goal yet again, Belgium made the difference in the 78th minute when defender Jan Vertonghen followed up a shot from teenage striker Divock Origi and tapped in the rebound past goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu.
"We knew all games were going to be tough," said Belgium coach Marc Wilmots. "But even with 10 men, we still pushed forward. These guys are really hungry."
Algeria 1, Russia 1
Algeria qualified for the World Cup knockout stages for the first time, with Islam Slimani’s headed equalizer giving his team a draw against Russia in Curitiba, Brazil, and enough competition points to move into the second round.
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