Cristiano-led Portugal look to seal World Cup spot vs red-hot North Macedonia

Lisbon, Mar 28 (EFE).- A Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal is preparing to give its all to make the Qatar 2022 World Cup but must first get past an in-form North Macedonia.

Last week, North Macedonia knocked out the reigning European champion Italy with a last-minute goal to set up a tie with Portugal, who beat Turkey 3-1.

“North Macedonia is here on its own merits,” head coach Fernando Santos said at a presser on the eve of the game, to be held at Porto’s Estádio do Dragão.

“In their last four away games, they have drawn one and won three. If we don’t look at this team for what it’s worth, of course, we’re going to take risks,” he added.

The best scenario “is to think tomorrow that we are going to face North Macedonia as if it were Italy,” he said.

Ahead of the decisive match, Santos will have available João Cancelo, who missed Turkey’s game for suspension, and Pepe, who tested positive for coronavirus last week.

Should they make the cut, Qatar 2022 could be likely be Cristiano’s final World Cup appearance as he turned 37 last month.

The Manchester United star, however, did not reveal whether or not he considers international retirement after the big showcase.

“I’m already beginning to see the same question many times,” the Portugal national team skipper said at a presser.

“I am the one who will decide my future, nobody else. If I feel like playing more, I’ll play. If not, I don’t play. I’m in charge, period,” he added. EFE


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