A goal drought has hit the Portuguese national team since last year. Three consecutive goalless draws in their World Cup campaign have put them in an embarrassing situation to qualify for the finalsâ€¦
Coincidently, these results have occurred since Cristiano Ronaldoâ€™s return to the squad after curing from his ankle operation last summer.
The 2006 World Cup semi-finalists seemed to be on a good track with crushing victories against the Faroe Islands and Malta after the Euros.
(See Portugal’s last qualifier with goals):
Luis Nani was Portugalâ€™s Star Man during Ronaldoâ€™s absence;the 22-year-oldâ€™s splendid form looked to have compensated the talismanic number 7 skipperâ€™s absence.
But a stunning 3-2 defeat at home to Denmark in September now seems to have laid a curse on the Portuguese that is yet to be broken.
In Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese national team possesses the best skipper in terms of physical potential. However, even his presence in the squad cannot help Portugal solve what has become a real enigma: to score at least a goal.
Portugal need to find a solution to unlock this problem; a friendly match against World Cup hosts South Africa could be the perfect meeting for Queirozâ€™s side to rediscover their goal scoring form.
The Portugal coach has taken this encounter very seriously. He might even risk playing Cristiano Ronaldo regardless of Manchester Unitedâ€™s respect.
â€œThere is only one meaning to play South Africa,â€ Carlos Queiroz said after a training session at the Pontaise stadium.
â€œIt is just to play against one team that is sure to be competing in the World Cup. It is an African team, a different style.
â€œThere is nothing personal about the game against South Africa,
â€œExcept the need for just one goal.”
Queiroz wants to see his team score this â€œone goalâ€ he is dreaming about and clinch victory.
Will Captain Cristiano Ronaldo find an answer to Portugalâ€™s goal drought since his return to the squad?
Written by: Angela Asante