Portugal thrashed Luxembourg 9-0 to extend their perfect start to their Euro 2024 Group J qualifying campaign. Bruno Fernandes led Portugal to a historic 9-0 triumph over Luxembourg on Monday, despite the absence of suspended talisman and all-time leading goal scorer Cristiano Ronaldo. Roberto Martinez’s team has now won all six of their qualifying games, without allowing a single goal and scoring 24. This is the country’s largest-ever triumph. Portugal leads Group J by five points, five points ahead of Slovakia, which they defeated in Bratislava on Friday. Luxembourg is third in the standings, three points behind Slovakia.
Fernandes, the Manchester United playmaker who scored the game-winning goal against Slovakia, set up three goals as the Selecao filled their boots and scored one. Goncalo Ramos, Diogo Jota, and Goncalo Inacio all scored twice, and Ricardo Horta and Joao Felix also scored. Martinez, who took over for Fernando Santos following the Qatar World Cup, has a perfect record at the helm.
Inacio, a Sporting Lisbon defender, put the hosts ahead in the 12th minute with a header with the outside of his foot following Fernandes’ excellent cross. Ramos of Paris Saint-Germain scored five minutes later after Fernandes pressed high to win the ball back. The 22-year-old striker then scored his sixth goal in eight appearances for his country in the 33rd minute with a brilliant turn and clinical finish.
Portugal dominated at the Algarve stadium near the country’s south coast, with Liverpool attacker Jota hitting the crossbar. On the stroke of halftime, Inacio headed in his second goal from another Fernandes cross, and Jota scored early in the second half, again set up by the Red Devils midfielder.
Portugal crushed Luxembourg 6-0 in their inaugural meeting in the Grand Duchy, and Horta rifled home from the edge of the box to level the tally. Jota, who set up Horta, scored the seventh as Portugal continued to press, and Fernandes ended his magnificent effort with the eighth. That matched their previous biggest win, an 8-0 victory on three occasions, but substitute Felix struck a spectacular ninth-minute goal from the edge of the box to set a new record for Portugal.
Martinez’s team can qualify for Euro 2024 if they win Slovakia and Luxembourg loses to Iceland on October 13. Ronaldo, 38, squandered a golden opportunity to add to his tally of 123 international goals, but there will be four more chances in a group that Portugal has dominated with six straight wins. No other squad had as many victories in qualifying.