Group leadership in jeopardy as Portugal visits Slovakia

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal face Slovakia in Bratislava on Friday, aiming to build on their sweeping victory in the half-way through Euro 2024 qualifiers, beating their main Group J followers.

Led by Spaniard Roberto Martinez, the Selecao prevailed over their opponents from their previous four matches and dominated the competition by two points over Slovakia, who won three and drew one (0-0). ) ahead of Luxembourg.

It is precisely the modest selection of the Grand Duchy that will be next for Portugal, who thrashed 6-0 in the first leg in Faro on Monday.

“I want to win both games. If we win, we will actually be classified,” Cristiano Ronaldo declared at a news conference on Wednesday.

After two other easy victories over Liechtenstein (4-0) and Bosnia (3-0), Portugal have their biggest win in Iceland (1-0), thanks to “CR7″‘s impressive performance in the past few games. Goal minute, celebrating his 200th cap for the national team.

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At the end of the Fernando Santos era marked by Euro 2016 winners, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has regained his lost starting 11 spot for the 2022 World Cup under Martinez.

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored six goals in four games since the Saudi Championship resumed since signing for Al Nasser last January.

“I want more (…) When I play I want to set high standards, I have to be ambitious,” said the 38-year-old, who broke his career 850 mark on Saturday. Goal mark. his team.

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The striker, who celebrated his 20th anniversary with the national team this year, is “proud” of his “longevity” but has set no long-term goals.

“I want to continue because I feel good and useful”, but “anything can happen”, he added, adding that he just wanted to “enjoy the moment” and “have a great Euros”.

Another Selecao veteran, former Real Madrid player and center forward Pepe (40), will miss the appointment due to injury, as will Rafael Guerrero and Renato Sanchez.

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Roberto Martinez was surprised by the inclusion of striker Joao Felix and winger Joao Cancelo, both newcomers to FC Barcelona on loan but not playing a game since the start of the season games.

Felix has dropped interest in joining the Barca club after losing his leadership role at Atletico Madrid, while Cancelo moved to Bayern Munich from Manchester City last January.

With 14 clean sheets, Portugal are the favorites to take on Slovakia, who are also in good position in Group J of Euro 2024 qualifying.

The two countries have not played against each other since the 2006 World Cup qualifiers. The confrontation between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw with Slovakia and a 2-0 victory for Portugal in the second round.


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