WC qualifying Group F preview

Cristiano Ronaldo will urge his team-mates on from the stands on Tuesday as Portugal look to close in on Group F leaders Russia when they face Azerbaijan.

Last Updated: 25/03/13 at 12:57 Post Comment

Cristiano Ronaldo: Suspended

Cristiano Ronaldo: Suspended

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

The Real Madrid forward is suspended for the game in Baku which the Portuguese realistically need to win if they are to challenge for automatic qualification to next year's finals in Brazil.

Russia are currently four points clear of second-placed Israel with a 100 per cent record after four matches.

They will also have two games in hand following the postponement in Northern Ireland at the weekend with their next World Cup qualifier not until June.

Portugal are level on points in third but they had to rely on a last-minute Fabio Coentrao goal on Saturday to snatch a 3-3 draw in Tel Aviv.

Now they must win and Ronaldo will do his part by urging his team-mates on.

He told Marca: "It makes me very sad, but everybody knows that being part of the squad is important to me.

"It would be easier to escape by plane and go back to my club, but I like it here and I think I can contribute without playing.

"I like knowing that I am with them in body and soul. On Tuesday, off the field, I'll be there cheering for my teammates to have a good game and we can win, that is our goal."

Neither is the 28-year-old under any illusion as to the task facing Portugal if they are to reach Brazil.

"We know that every time we have more pressure. We cannot draw or lose more games. Our margin of error is zero and so we have to go with the ambition of having to win and that we will do."

Azerbaijan have drawn three of their five games so far.

The other match in the group will see Israel travel to Northern Ireland, no doubt surprised to see themselves above Portugal in second.

It could have been even better had they been able to hold on to a 3-1 lead against Paulo Bento's men but tomorrow they will face a rested Northern Ireland in Belfast after their game was twice called off following heavy snow.

TEAMtalk Facebook Fan Page

The TEAMtalk fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

ell that really inspires me with confidence. No point in training, deciding on a coherent formation, or playing players in their best positions, let's just hope we get lucky.

mumbo_jimbo
Van Gaal: Luck is key

I

believe this is because for sepp Christmas is a 7 day feast finishing on the 25th

hiya
Blatter calls for early final

F

alcao really needs to shine now. Apparently according to the stats, he scores more when played up front alone. I wonder if Van Gaal will actually apply a formation to get the best out of him though.

anthracyte
Van Persie lay-off expected

Footer 365

Mauricio Pochettino proud of Tottenham players despite Capital One Cup loss

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino said he was proud of his players despite losing to Chelsea in the Capital One Cup final.

Jose Mourinho hails players for adapting to gameplan in Capital One Cup success

Jose Mourinho hailed his players for adapting to his gameplan after Chelsea’s Capital One Cup final success against Spurs.

John Terry targets more Chelsea trophies after Capital One Cup success

John Terry says Chelsea's "massive" Capital One Cup final win over Tottenham could be the start of something special.

Mail Box

Are Tottenham Right To Redevelop?

It's a really good Friday afternoon Mailbox, with thoughts on Spurs' ground development, the Europa league (leave it alone) and one man running for a very good cause...

Rodgers Is More Of A Paisley Than A Rafa

Most Liverpool fans in the Mailbox are claiming to be pleased to see the back of the Europa League. Plus merging the Europa and Champions League, and winter WC...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company