Paris (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo headlines Tuesday’s action at Euro 2016 with another goalscoring record in sight as Portugal face Iceland on their debut in a major international tournament.
Austria and Hungary also start their campaigns in the second Group F match of the day.
Ronaldo can become the first man to score in four separate European Championship finals should he find the net against the North Atlantic islanders. He can also close in on disgraced former UEFA president Michel Platini as the top scorer in the history of the competition.
The Real Madrid star is just three shy of Platini’s tally of nine — all scored as France won on home soil in 1984.
Fresh from winning the third Champions League of his career, a major international triumph is all that is missing from Ronaldo’s honours list. He missed out in the final of Euro 2004 and on penalties to eventual winners Spain in the semi-finals four years ago.
“Cristiano is a goalscorer, he has scored many goals and I hope that goalscoring instinct can come through tomorrow,” said Portugal midfielder Joao Moutinho.
However, veteran Iceland coach Lars Lagerback, now in his seventh major finals with a third different country, says he has no plans to man-mark Ronaldo.
“Everybody knows Ronaldo is one of the best players in the world so of course we will have an extra eye on him, but at the same time as we always say, if you have the quality and collective skills of Portugal, it is about the team,” he said.
“We will do everything we can to close down Mr. Ronaldo.”
– Anything possible for Austria –
Earlier on Tuesday, Austria and Hungary will get Group F underway in Bordeaux.
Austria are considered tournament dark horses after an excellent qualifying campaign in which they took 28 points from a possible 30 in a group also containing Russia and Sweden.
Bayern Munich’s David Alaba is the star in a side also containing Stoke City forward Marko Arnautovic and recently crowned Premier League winner Christian Fuchs.
Having defied the odds in spectacular fashion to claim the title with Leicester City, Fuchs believes anything is possible for Austria.
“After this year with Leicester I start to dream and believe great things can happen,” said the Austria skipper.
“Let’s see if dreams come true.”
Hungary are also dreaming after qualifying for a major finals for the first time in 30 years.
However, saddled with a squad containing no regular first-teamer in the top European leagues, expectations are far lower for the Hungarians. Their German coach Bernd Storck told AFP: “It’s a miracle that we qualified.”
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