Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been branded a ‘total genius’ by FIFA after winning a spot-kick in their World Cup opening game against Ghana.
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The former Manchester United star forced a foul from Southampton player Mohammed Salisu, and dispatched the penalty to break another record.
His goal meant he’s the only player to score in five World Cups, but not many were overjoyed about the strike, and how the spot-kick was won in the 3-2 victory.
Ghana head coach Otto Addo told BeIN Sports: “The referee gave a penalty which was not a penalty – everyone saw that. Why? Because it’s Ronaldo or something? “The referee was not in our favour.”
But, at a FIFA technical study group briefing in Doha, former Nigeria international Sunday Oliseh says the decision went the way of Portugal because Ronaldo used his intelligence.
“Maybe the strikers are getting smarter?” he said. “The Ronaldo penalty, people can say what they want about him, but the smartness to wait for that second, to touch the ball, continue his leg and then get the contact. That is total genius.
“Let’s give strikers the compliment for getting smarter. VAR is also a major reason why this (more penalties being awarded) is happening. Referees can look at it three or four times.”
There have been an unusually lots of 0-0 draws at the World Cup so far with the stalemate between England and USA the fifth of the competition so far.
But the FIFA technical study group believe that should change in the coming days with goals needed as national teams look to reach the knockout stages of the competition.
“Teams have not wanted to take too much of a risk,” said Oliseh.
“Clearly many teams are relying on a cautious approach,” added Alberto Zaccheroni, a Serie A winner as coach of AC Milan in 1999. “But as the tournament progresses we will see teams become a bit braver.”