Cristiano Ronaldo finally found his magic touch on the way to making European Championship history, scoring twice to single-handedly salvage Portugal a place in the Euro 2016 knockout stages after a thrilling 3-3 draw with Hungary.
Much discussed in the build-up to the final Group F encounter in Lyon on Wednesday – having blasted Iceland’s “small mentality” and then missed a penalty in the goalless draw with Austria – the Real Madrid superstar was already at the centre of attention well before kick-off – even more so after a video emerged of him throwing a television reporter’s microphone into a lake earlier in the day.
By being named in Fernando Santos’ starting XI, the 31-year-old completed a record 17th appearance in the competition, and his first strike on the night made him the only player to score in four separate Euros.
That effort, a brilliant flick with his trailing foot, hauled Portugal level after Balazs Dzsudzsak’s deflected free- kick had given Bernd Storck’s team the lead in a pulsating affair.
Earlier, in the first half, Zoltan Gera and Nani had exchanged goals to send the teams in level at 1-1.
Another deflected Dzsudzsak strike then put Hungary in control once again in the 47th minute, before Ronaldo finally took centre stage.
The Portugal captain latched on to Joao Mario’s ball to produce his landmark, record-breaking finish before thumping a header home just past the hour mark to seal 3-3 draw.
Iceland will face England in the last 16 of Euro 2016 after a last-minute goal from substitute Arnor Traustason earned them a 2-1 win over Austria.
Needing a point to advance from Group F, the tournament debutants once again showed their iron will in defence – that had notably thwarted Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal in the opening week – to keep out a swarming Austrian front line.
Austria had their chances, but Aleksandar Dragovic’s first-half penalty miss, after Jon Bodvarsson had put Iceland ahead, will be looked back on ruefully.
Alessandro Schopf equalised after the interval and Austria spent much of the second half camped in opposition territory, but stout defence and Traustason’s counter-attacking effort gave the travelling hordes from Iceland a moment to savour.
Austria, who were backed to make a strong showing at Euro 2016, exit the competition after picking up one point from their three group games, in which stars like David Alaba and Marko Arnautovic struggled to make an impact.
Iceland are unbeaten in the competition and have only lost one of their last nine competitive matches in a run of form that leaves England with no room for complacency as they meet a team who are entering unchartered territory under the guidance of Lars Lagerback and Heimir Hallgrimsson.