FIFA World Cup: Cristiano Ronaldo doubtful for South Korea clash

Portugal's coach said it was “tough” to play a match every four days and added that he has confidence in his players.

Cristiano Ronaldo FIFA World Cup 2022
Cristiano Ronaldo likely to miss FIFA World Cup 2022 match against South Korea. Photo: Twitter/Cristiano Ronaldo

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo is doubtful for the team’s final Group H FIFA World Cup 2022 clash against South Korea on Friday (December 2).

In the pre-match press conference on Thursday, Portugal’s coach Fernando Santos said the star player’s availability is “50:50”. Ronaldo missed the Portugal team’s training on Wednesday.

Also read: Full coverage of FIFA World Cup 2022

Portugal has already qualified for the Round of 16 stage. However, to top the group the match against Korea is crucial.

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“I think it is 50-50 if he plays or not, we’ll see. It will depend on if and how he practices today, if we see he is in good condition… There is a plan for if he is not available,” Santos said on Thursday.

Also read: FIFA World Cup 2022: Schedule, groups, match times in IST, venues, live TV, streaming, and more

Currently, Portugal is on top of Group H after wins against Ghana and Uruguay. It has six points and needs a draw or a win to remain there. Korea has just one point after two games.

Portugal will be without its defender Nuno Mendes for the rest of the World Cup, Santos said. He injured his thigh and left the ground in tears during the match against Uruguay.

“Unfortunately, he is out but by his will, he will stay with us. It was his desire, his club agreed, and he will start his recovery here. His enormous desire to stay with us reflects the state of mind of the whole squad,” Santos said.

Also read: FIFA 2022 World Cup: What is semi-automated offside tech, or SAOT?

Mendes, Otavio and Danilo are also on the injury list for Portugal.

The coach said it was “tough” to play a match every four days and added that he has confidence in his players.

“I have complete confidence in all my players, I’m already missing three players, let’s see about others. Playing every four days is tough, players get tired and are experiencing fatigue. Fatigue leads to stress and stress leads to injuries. Winning and finishing top in our group is crucial because we will have an extra day to recover the players in the best way possible,” he said.

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