Portugal are aiming to top Group A of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers as they travel to Dublin to face the Republic of Ireland on Thursday, November 11th. There was nothing but pride in the hosts line-up, however, as Stephen Kenny’s men were already out and looking forward to the end of their doomed qualifying campaign. The Republic of Ireland-Portugal kick off at 20:45.
Preview of the Republic of Ireland-Portugal match: Where are the two teams?
Republic of Ireland
Ireland’s results may have improved in the last two months, but with Stephen Kenny leading the way for the Boys at Green amid a stunning unbeaten run, qualifying for their first World Cup since 2002 is always a step away. Ireland, who beat Azerbaijan by three goals to nil last time out, needed six attempts to secure their first win in Group A – when Kalam Robinson netted twice and Chidosi Ogbene was tapped – their latest clash with hosts Qatar ended next year. 4-0 friendly win. Previous draws with Azerbaijan and Serbia helped improve Kenny’s CV record, but it was too late for Ireland to find form and could not finish higher than third in Group A, which would only be a reward for relief. Ireland’s best results since early September mean that they went undefeated in all four matches on Thursday at Aviva Stadium – scoring nine goals in that period – losing just two of their last 14 home games.
Any hope of another positive outcome in the familiar area is a bit far-fetched, however, as Kenny’s team is desperately trying to regain first place in Group A while Portugal are desperate to give a good account of themselves going there. One was set aside. The current leaders of the Serbian group, who went on to qualify for the 2022 World Cup as planned for Portugal, will try to regain the top spot in the standings if they win this week’s match. In matches in October, Fernando Santos’ team won 3-0 in a friendly against Qatar, sweeping Luxembourg 5-0 and putting out a five-star performance. Ronaldo became the first male player to score 10 international hat-tricks, and Portugal are now one point behind Serbia before the two leaderboards clash on the final day of the match. Prior to Thursday’s meeting, Portugal had five consecutive wins in all competitions – at the time they had scored 16 goals and conceded just two – and Santos’ team had won six of the last seven. World Cup qualifiers are far from home. The visitors were indebted to Ronaldo’s record-breaking magic when they won 2-1 against Ireland in September, but their latest tour of Dublin ended in a 1-0 friendly defeat at the hands of Andrew O’Brien in 2005.
News from the teams
With the addition of Callum O’Douda to the squad to replace James Collins, Ireland were forced to make a late squad change, while Cardiff City forward was ruled out with an injury, while Aaron Connolly was not selected. Jason Molambi and Alan Brown are available after suspensions against Azerbaijan, meaning Daryl Jorgan’s 11th is now in jeopardy. In Ireland’s last match against Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty kick was unforgettably taken out by teenage goalkeeper Gavin Basu, who is sure to serve as the final line of defense once again. Meanwhile, the Portuguese trio of Anthony Lopez, Rafa Silva and Joao Mario will miss the November matches due to injury but goalkeeper Jose Zaik has been named in the squad. Santos will have an eye on the meeting with Serbia over the weekend, but the Portuguese boss is expected to land regardless of his strongest XI, with Diego Jotta and Bernardo Silva on top next to Ronaldo. Joao Concelo can resume his role as a left-back when Nino Mendes has to be suspended, meaning Diego Dalot is expected to get a start from the right side in the back.
The formation of the Republic of Ireland-Portugal is possible
Republic of Ireland
ബസുനു; Omobamidele, Duffy, Egan; Doherty, Hendrick, Dwarf, Brown, McLean; Robinson, Ida
Patricio; Dalot, Pepe, Diaz, Cancello; Moutinho, Palinha, Fernandes; B. Silva, Ronaldo, Jota
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