PORTUGAL: Portugal have what it takes to win their World Cup playoff semi-final against Turkey, their coach Fernando Santos mentioned on Wednesday (Mar 22).
Portugal play Turkey in Porto on Thursday, with the winner dealing with both Italy or North Macedonia within the Path C closing on Mar 29, with one of the final three spots for European groups on the World Cup in Qatar up for grabs.
The World Cup is scheduled to start in November.
“What has always happened for the Portuguese national team is a positive pressure,” Santos instructed a information convention. “The two finals we’ve been in, we received.
“In qualifiers, the decisive ones, we always gave a positive response, with the exception of the last one (against Serbia). These players have a lot of experience and don’t let themselves be influenced.”
Portugal, who received 2016 Euros and the Nations League in 2019, dropped into the World Cup playoffs after shedding their closing group stage qualifier to Serbia in November after conceding within the dying minutes.
“We are here because of our own responsibility. We have already assumed that,” Santos mentioned. “Obviously we don’t take credit score away from Serbia, however there was some (fault with) us.
“We didn’t play nicely. If that had occurred, we’d have achieved the aim.
“We have to set … the standard of this team. We have been in two finals and won. Tomorrow, it’s another final, and we want to give joy to the 11 million Portuguese people.”
Portugal can be with out their two first-choice centre backs on Thursday, after Pepe examined optimistic for COVID-19 and joined Ruben Dias (hamstring) on the sidelines.
“(Pepe) is not available for the game, but he is with the group through messages,” Santos mentioned. “I have absolute confidence in the players I have called up.”
It is unclear if Pepe might return for subsequent week’s potential playoff closing if Portugal get previous Turkey.
“We know Turkish soccer well and there is a lot of quality, both in terms of passing and execution. It’s a team that plays with passion and with heart. They are very competitive,” Santos added.
“We have to match them in spirit, dedication and passion for the game. We will have to be equally strong.”
Source : channelnewsasia.com