With only 6 points from a possible 15 and four points off the pace of leaders Denmark and Hungary, it looks like Portugal will not make it to the finals in South Africa.
Even the presence of the Worldâ€™s Best Player Cristiano Ronaldo couldnâ€™t power the Seleccao to clinch all three points. (See his post-match interview here):
The Manchester United number 7 missed an opportunity eight minutes from time to give his team what would have been a deserved victory.
Portugal displayed good football, but their inability to hit the back of the net for the third consecutive time in the qualifiers have cost them dearly. Coach Carlos Queiroz feels the pressure:
“We’re frustrated after so much effort and a good display. Unfortunately football is not for those who deserve it but for those who win,”
“It’s not over though we have to admit we are in a more difficult situation.”
Portugal certainly lack of the indispensable winning mentality that works out wonders. Captain Cristiano Ronaldo couldnâ€™t hide his discontent at his team failure to click with his good passes and score.
The Portuguese need to break the curse that has let them draw goalless for the third time in a row in the qualifiers. A single win against Malta last year isnâ€™t enough to help them become hot challengers for the first spot especially in Group A.
Finishing second his perhaps what Portugal will try and achieve. However, it goes without saying that securing the first place is the safest thing to manage. The Seleccao might have to face the likes of difficult oppositions such as France, Germany or Russia in the playoffs â€“ which isnâ€™t an easy task at all.
All the same, Ronaldo still has faith in his sideâ€™s chances of reaching the World Cup. The skipper prefers to be optimistic and brush away any fears.
Portugal face South Africa on March 31st in a friendly in Switzerland. Victory at last may help them discover the perfect tonic to continue their World Cup qualification campaign which resumes in June.
Written by: Angela Asante