Portugal stand third behind Denmark and Sweden and they have picked up only 13 points from a possible 24. Portugal’s fate do not only rest in their hands. If they want to make it to the play-offs at least, the must beat Hungary and Malta and hope that Sweden pick nothing more than four points out of six.
However, it is also true that Portugal could even grab an automatic place. That will happen if only this condition occurs: Sweden and Denmark must draw against each other on Saturday, then both Sweden and Denmark must lose their last respective games of the campaign whereas Portugal win both of their two matches by a wide margin.
Well, Cristiano Ronaldo’s focus is solely on his country. The Portugal captain, who missed Real Madrid’s La Liga game last weekend, is expected to be fit for his team’s crucial match on Saturday.
Speaking to Fifa.com in Obidos, Ronaldo affirmed:
“I have recovered well. We’ll see how things go but I think I’ll be fine come Saturday.”
Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence would have been a huge loss for the Portuguese national team who are struggling so much to reach the finals of the World Cup.
Defeat on Saturday will definitely end their hunt for a place in South Africa 2010. A draw will also see both Portugal and Hungary out if Sweden beat Denmark.
The hole for Portugal to make a breakthrough seems so little, but Cristiano Ronaldo prefers to be optimistic and concentrated. He concluded:
“If we don’t believe we can qualify, it’s not worth showing up to the national team. Hungary are a physically strong team, but if Portugal play normally, then we will, and must, win.”
Here is Carlos Queiroz’ selection for Portugal’s qualifiers against Hungary and Malta:
Goalkeepers: Eduardo (Braga), Rui Patricio (Sporting), Beto (Porto)
Defenders: Bruno Alves (Porto), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea), Bosingwa (Chelsea), Cesar Peixoto (Benfica), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Rolando (Porto), Pepe (Real Madrid),
Midfielders: Deco (Chelsea), Duda (Malaga), Miguel Veloso (Sporting), Joao Moutinho (Sporting), Nuno Assis (Vitoria Guimaraes), Raul Meireles (Porto), Tiago (Juventus)
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Simao Sabrosa (Atletico Madrid), Liedson (Sporting), Nani (Manchester Utd), Nuno Gomes (Benfica)
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Angela Asante, CRF Chief Editor