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Ronaldo didn't shine for Portugal in semis

The Manchester United winger, who scored the decisive penalty in quarterfinals against England, failed to make an impressive performance.

india Updated: Jul 06, 2006 18:05 IST

Cristiano Ronaldo couldn't make the difference for Portugal this time.

The Manchester United winger, who scored the decisive penalty kick in the quarterfinals against England, failed to come up with a performance good enough to keep Portugal from losing to France 1-0 on Wednesday in the World Cup semifinals.

"He did his job, and I think he did it well," Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. "It was harder for him because France played well defensively and gave him few opportunities."

While France heads to Berlin to face Italy on Sunday's final, Portugal and Ronaldo will prepare for Saturday's third-place match against Germany in Stuttgart.

"I thought we were better than France. We just couldn't get the ball in the net," Ronaldo said.

The 21-year-old Ronaldo, who is on the shortlist for FIFA's young player award, was visibly in despair after the match. He walked away from his teammates with his head down and his hands on his hips.

Ronaldo played well despite failing to get on the board. He was the player who threatened the most for Portugal throughout the match.

One of Portugal's best scoring chances came after a free kick taken by Ronaldo in the 78th minute. France goalkeeper Fabien Barthez failed to hold onto the ball, and Luis Figo headed it just over the crossbar.

Ronaldo left the match upset with the refereeing. Just after Zinedine Zidane scored the game-winner on a penalty kick in the 33rd minute, Ronaldo wanted a similar call after he went down in the area trying to reach a cross.

He claimed France defender Willy Sagnol pushed him.

"Anyone who understands soccer saw that the referee wasn't fair," said Ronaldo, who has a reputation in England for going down too easily to get penalties.

Ronaldo was doubtful to start before the match with a thigh injury that kept him from participating in some of the team's training sessions.

He was involved in a controversy with Wayne Rooney in the quarterfinals against England. The Portuguese was accused of influencing a referee's decision to send off Rooney, who stomped on Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho's groin after a ball dispute.

Ronaldo, who reportedly is seeking a transfer to Real Madrid, ran up to the referee to protest Rooney's actions, getting a shove from his Manchester United teammate in the process. Ronaldo was later caught winking to the Portugal bench.

The Portugal winger later denied reports of a rift with his United teammate.