By BRETT MARTEL
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
SARANSK, RUSSIA -- Cristiano Ronaldo's missed penalty cost Portugal first place in its World Cup group.
Portugal finished second in Group B after a 1-1 draw with Iran on Monday. The 2016 European champions will next face Uruguay on Saturday in the round of 16.
Instead of Ronaldo, it was Ricardo Quaresma who scored for the Portuguese. The 34-year-old midfielder responded to his first start of the tournament by producing one of the more aesthetically pleasing goals of group play.
Quaresma became Portugal's oldest scorer in World Cup play by hitting a curling shot from the edge of the penalty area that went beyond the reach of diving Iran goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand.
Quaresma's goal came on a night when Ronaldo - who had scored all four Portugal goals in its first two games of Group B play - was denied on a penalty by Beiranvand. Karim Ansarifard scored a late penalty for Iran, which needed to win to advance but couldn't break through a second time despite a furious charge in the waning minutes.
Spain won the group after its 2-2 draw with Morocco. Both Spain and Portugal had a goal difference of plus-1, but Spain scored six goals in its three group matches while Portugal had five.
Spain will next face host Russia on Sunday in Moscow.
Quaresma had never scored in a World Cup game; he had nine international goals in 78 previous appearances. But his goal had all the flare of a Ronaldo strike. He sent the shot with the outside of his right foot into the far corner near the end of the first half.
Not bad for someone who had played little more than 20 minutes as a substitute in Portugal's first two games. Ronaldo certainly looked impressed, wrapping his right arm around Quaresma's shoulders as he roared and raised his left fist into the air.
Iran has now been to five World Cups - all since 1978 - but has yet to advance out of group play.