It seemed like quintessential Cristiano Ronaldo when the Portugal captain ghosted between Uruguay defenders to get the faintest of headers on a Bruno Fernandes cross, then claimed a goal which may not have been his. Unfortunately for the unattached striker, tenuous goal claims are tougher than ever in the era of hi-tech football.
Adidas has confirmed that Ronaldo did not make contact with its Al Rihla Qatar World Cup ball, despite wheeling away with his arm raised when Uruguay goalkeeper Sergio Rochet Alvarez was beaten in the 54th minute at the Lusail Iconic Stadium.
An accurate motion censor is embedded within every ball used during the tournament, which helps to improve Var decision making. Adidas claims it also proves conclusively that Fifa was correct to officially award the goal to Bruno Fernandes, despite some confusion in the stadium and on television.
“In the match between Portugal and Uruguay, using the Connected Ball Technology housed in adidas’s Al Rihla Official Match Ball, we are able to definitively show no contact on the ball from Cristiano Ronaldo for the opening goal in the game,” said Adidas in a statement.
“No external force on the ball could be measured as shown by the lack of ‘heartbeat’ in our measurements and in the attached graphic. The 500Hz IMU sensor inside the ball allows us to be highly accurate in our analysis.”
Ronaldo sprung into action in the penalty area to attempt to reach Fernandes’ cross and initially looked to be celebrating as if he had scored, although tellingly did not perform his trademark ‘siu’ celebration, instead running over to embrace Fernandes on the left touchline.
After the game Fernandes said he was not fussed about who would be awarded with the goal, but had suspected it was Ronaldo’s at the time. “I don’t think it really matters who scored the goal at this point,” he said.
“The feeling I had was Cristiano touched the ball, I was putting the ball to him and the important thing is we were able to win the match against a very tough opponent.”
This leaves Ronaldo on eight career World Cup goals, level with Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona and Rudi Voller, although below his compatriot Eusebio who scored nine. The all-time leading goalscorer at World Cups is Germany’s Miroslav Klose, who scored 16.
Ronaldo has a chance to add to his tally on Friday when Portugal play South Korea in their final group game, a team who conceded three in defeat to Ghana on Monday.