The Portuguese national team is clinging to its World Cup life after a securing a last-gasp 2-2 draw against the United States in Manaus on Sunday evening, and it's not all that surprising, at least according to star player Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Maybe we’re an average team,” the forward told reporters after the game. “It would be a lie to say that we are a top team. We have a very limited team and we are not at the best level. This does not enable you to beat top teams.
“There are no miracles. We knew we would have a tough group, with perhaps teams better than us. I never thought we could be world champions, we have to be humble and know our level. I’m not a hypocrite, I never thought we could win the tournament.”
Ronaldo came into the World Cup with major questions about his health hanging over his the the Portuguese team's heads after a grueling, but ulimately successful club campaign with Real Madrid. He reportedly is suffering from tendinosis in his knee, and had a limited impact in Portugal's tournament-opening 4-0 against Germany.
Despite those questions, the reigning World Player of the Year insisted he was giving his all to help his country's fortunes in the World Cup.
“I’m here, I’m fighting, I’m trying to do my best, I’m running, and obviously it’s no use talking about my issues,” Ronaldo added. “I don’t want to justify myself by talking about my physical problems, that’s water under the bridge.
“Every day there’s something new in the papers about my knee, and about this and that. That’s why I don’t want to justify myself. I’m here body and soul to help the national team.”
He will get one last shot to save Portugal's World Cup hopes on Thursday when they face Ghana in the group finale (noon ET, ESPN2). In order to advance, Portugal would have beat Ghana and hope that the United States or Germany lose by enough in their simultaneous game (noon ET, ESPN) for Portugal to make up the goal difference on the losing team.
Portugal currently sit at -4, the USA are at +1 and Germany have +4 (STANDINGS).