How Ronaldo finally found form for Portugal at Euro 2016 – via Stats Zone

Fernando Santos' team squeezed through to the last 16 of the tournament after the Real Madrid star rescued them from defeat against Hungary…

After twice going behind it looked like Ronaldo and Co. might be making a swift exit from Euro 2016. Instead two goals from A Selecção's inspirational talisman saw Portugal rescue a draw against Hungary, and set up a last 16 tie against Croatia.

Without a goal in the tournament from some 20 shots, Ronaldo was short odds to find the net against Hungary. And he duly obliged in the second half with a superb flicked finish, turning home Joao Mario's right-wing cross shortly after Balazs Dzsudzsak had given the Hungarians the lead with a deflected free-kick.

The upturn in form wasn't unexpected but Ronaldo actually began the game quietly. Moved slightly further forward than usual in Portugal's opening formation, he was accompanied by Nani up-front, with four Portuguese midfielders strung across the pitch behind the front pairing…

This shape didn't seem to work, however, and Ronaldo suffered a fairly quiet first half as a result, with just two long range free-kicks of note, and one attempted header. This Stats Zone influence chart from the middle of the half shows how little he was affecting the game at that point.

And Portugal's leading goalscorer continued to be subdued as he only managed three shots in the first half.

However, as the game opened up in the second period, it was a much different story - helped by Santos swapping Moutinho out for the more athletic Renato Sanches and shifting the energetic Joao Mario about. (And later Ricardo Quaresma came on, helping to stretch the play further.)

First Ronaldo flicked in following Dzsudzsak's deflected free-kick…

…Then the Real Madrid forward headed an equaliser after Dzsudzsak's second deflected long-range effort. 

In fact, Ronaldo and Dzsudzsak had something of a shoot-out, as the pair traded the final four goals of the game, the Hungarian leading the way, before the three-time Ballon d'Or winner replied.

In the end Ronaldo had done enough to resuscitate his and his country's tournament and revert back to superstar footballer rather than fallen icon.

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