Former Premier League player predicts Cristiano Ronaldo will send Portugal crashing out of World Cup
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Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo will cost his nation a place in the World Cup quarter-final, according to one former Premier League player.
Portugal face Switzerland in the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup after topping Group H despite a shock 2-1 defeat to South Korea on Friday.
Ronaldo has started all three games for Fernando Santos' side at the tournament, netting the first goal in the 3-2 win over Ghana in their opening fixture.
In doing so, Portugal’s all-time record goalscorer and appearance holder became the first male player to score at five FIFA World Cups, taking his total tally to eight goals in 20 matches.
And it seems the 37-year-old would love nothing more than to add to that figure as Portugal remain one of the favourites to go all the way in Qatar.
However, former Premier League winner-turned pundit Chris Sutton believes Ronaldo and co. will crash out before the last eight, predicting the former Manchester United and Real Madrid goal machine to miss the decisive penalty in a shootout with the Swiss.
Speaking to BBC Sport, Sutton said: "Portugal have some excellent players but the Swiss will be full of confidence here after the way they overcame Serbia to get to the last 16, and they also beat Portugal when they played them in the Nations League in June.
“This will be close and I have a feeling Cristiano Ronaldo will have a big say in the outcome - although not necessarily in a positive way. It is a risk versus reward scenario for Portugal if they pick Ronaldo.
“Because his influence on the team is massive but they might have a better starter who should be in the side. If this tie goes the distance, how long should he stay on the pitch?"
It is not the first time during the tournament that Sutton has been critical of Ronaldo after he lamented the forward for 'cheating' when going down under the challenge of Mohammed Salisu to earn Portugal a penalty in the win over Ghana.
“It isn't good play by Ronaldo. It is a terrible example to young kids everywhere around the world. Everyone will be tumbling over. He is a great player. But it was cheating. I thought the officials had to be stronger," Sutton told the Daily Mail.
Were Portugal to be sent packing on Tuesday in what will surely be Ronaldo’s last World Cup, it would not be the first time Switzerland have caused an upset of this scale at a major tournament .
At the 2010 World Cup, they beat eventual winners Spain 1-0 in the group stage, while just 18 months ago at Euro 2020, they eliminated favourites France on penalties in the Round of 16.
The prize for either Portugal or Switzerland will be a clash with either Morocco or Spain for a place in the World Cup semi-final.