Ronaldo sets sights on international record after joining 100 club

Stockholm: Cristiano Ronaldo has set his sights on Ali Daei's record of 109 international goals following a double in Portugal's 2-1 Nations League win away to Sweden that saw him reach 101 goals for his country since his debut in 2004.

Having missed Portugal's Nations League opener against Croatia on Saturday with a toe injury, Ronaldo wasted no time on his return, scoring a first-half free kick and adding a second from open play in the 72nd minute to close in on Iranian Daei's record.

Portuguese great Cristiano Ronaldo is now just eight goals shy of the all-time international record held by Ali Daei.Credit:AP

"I managed to beat this milestone of 100 goals and now (I'll go) for the record. It's step-by-step. I am not obsessed because I believe the records come in a natural way," Ronaldo said.

"When I had this problem in my toe I always knew that I could recover for this second game. I like to be here, with this group of players, coach, staff and knew that they would play well in the first game as our squad is too good and no one is irreplaceable."

Having netted five times in his previous encounters against the Swedes, only a fool would have bet against him writing more history in the Swedish capital.

"Yesterday he scored six or seven (free kicks) like that in training and today it went exactly the same way. It's so good to have Cristiano on the team," Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes said.

Olivier Giroud celebrates with Antoine Griezmann after scoring in France’s win over Croatia, the 4-2 scoreline a repeat of the 2018 World Cup final.Credit:AP

Ronaldo forced another fine save from keeper Robin Olsen before leaving the fray in the 81st minute to be replaced by Diogo Jota, his thoughts moving quickly on to his next task.

"The future, only God knows. I am happy to play with these young players and I am enjoying a lot this moment both individually and collectively," he said.

Denmark, meanwhile, held England to a 0-0 draw in an uninspiring match as Gareth Southgate's side concluded a troubled international break.

France earned a rollercoaster 4-2 home win over Croatia with the outcome a carbon copy of their memorable clash in the 2018 World Cup final.

The Croatians took a 17th-minute lead through centre back Dejan Lovren, who beat home goalkeeper Hugo Lloris with a crisp left-foot shot after leaving Moussa Sissoko flat-footed with some neat ball control.

Antoine Griezmann missed a sitter before sweeping home a 43rd-minute equaliser from a flowing move and France turned the tide with an own-goal by Croatia keeper Dominik Livakovic on the stroke of half-time.

Anthony Martial, who made his first start for France since March 2018, scrambled a close-range effort on to the post and the ball trickled over the line after rebounding off Livakovic's back.

Halftime substitute Josip Brekalo levelled with a fine solo effort in the 55th minute, muscling his way past three defenders before he steered the ball past Lloris.

France nosed ahead again 10 minutes later as defender Dayot Upamecano took advantage of static defending to head home a Griezmann corner and Olivier Giroud sealed the home side's win with a 77th-minute penalty.

Reuters

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