Portugal suffers a real slaughter

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By finishing second in their pool behind Serbia, Portugal has complicated their lives in the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup. While they will have to go through play-offs to compete in the 8th World Cup in their history and the 6th row, the Seleção das Quinas will have a lot to do. Already, it will be necessary to defeat Turkey this Thursday at the Estadio do Dragão (meeting to follow on our live commentary) to go to the final against the winner of Italy-North Macedonia (Tuesday March 29). Fernando Santos’ team must also bounce back after a disappointing Euro 2020 (eliminated in the round of 16) and the qualifying fiasco against Serbia.

While the future of Fernando Santos is still unclear, Portugal must also deal with a wave of injuries. Even before making his list, the Portuguese coach has already been faced with three major withdrawals: that of Ruben Dias (Manchester City)affected in the hamstrings and who will not be back before April, but also that of Renato Sanches (Lille)touched against Saint-Étienne before the break, and Nelson Semedo (Wolverhampton) touched a tendon. Added to this is the suspension of João Cancelo for the first match against Turkey…

An experimental hinge

Despite these first packages, the list remained very interesting with executives like Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Raphaël Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) or Diogo Jota (Liverpool). However, Ruben Neves (Wolverhampton) was also injured, which even more feathers the midfield. Talented but inexperienced, Vitinha replaced him, but that’s not all. After Ruben Dias, he is the other holder of the central defense, Pepe (FC Porto), who had to throw in the towel for a positive test for Covid-19. The young Lille resident, Tiago Djalo, has therefore been called up for the first time and joins Gonçalo Inácio (Sporting CP), another rookie, alongside José Fonte (LOSC) and Danilo Pereira (PSG) among the few options in defense. The hinge will therefore be very experimental.

Latest package to date, the one by Anthony Lopes (Olympique Lyonnais). Although Rui Patrício’s understudy, he gave way to José Sa. Thus, it is a very diminished Portugal that will play against Turkey and then possibly against Italy or North Macedonia. In a press conference, Diogo Jota preferred to be optimistic: “It’s clear that players who are used to being here are missing, but we trust everyone, we trust 100% those who have been called up to replace them. We need to think about who is here and what we need to do. We should not give too much importance to those who are not. However, the conditions seem extremely complex for the Seleção das Quinas…

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