Our prediction for this World Cup 2022 match:
Estadio Algavre will host Sunday’s World Cup qualifier between Portugal and Ireland, the two teams who sit in the opposite halves of the table. The Selecao are eyeing top position in Group A, and they are likely to go all guns blazing at the Irish. Cristiano Ronaldo, who returned to Man Utd at the weekend, will be the man to watch in the home team, while both Renato Sanches and Joao Felix are out of contention with injuries.
Yet another Man Utd ace Bruno is likely to prove a handful for the opposition defenders as well. The visitors, on the other hand, kicked off their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign with back-to-back losses to Serbia and Luxembourg. Goalkeeper Darren Randolph has been left out of the squad, with young shot-stopper Gavin Bazunu pushing for a start. Burnley’s Nathan Collins could make his Ireland debut against Portugal, but the visitors are unlikely to spoil the Selecao’s party at Estadio Algavre.
Highlighted Player (Cristiano Ronaldo):
Cristiano Ronaldo is considered one of the world’s best football players. The Portuguese ace was born on 5 February, 1985 in Funchal, Madeira and he played for the likes of Andorinha, Nacional and Sporting during his youth career. CR7 made his Sporting debut in Primeira Liga on 7 October, 2002, scoring two goals in a 3-0 win over Moreirense.
Manchester United scouts spotted him and one year later he joined the Old Trafford outfit. Ronaldo became the most expensive teenager in the history of the Premier League and he received the number 7 shirt. He quickly established himself as the team’s key player and it has to be noted that he won three consecutive Premier League trophies with the Red Devils (2006/2007, 2007/2008, 2008/2009). In 2008 he helped the Old Trafford outfit beat Chelsea in the Champions League final, scoring for Alex Ferguson’s troops in the regular time.
Ronaldo joined Real Madrid in 2009 and he helped the Spanish giants with two Champions League trophies. In 2016 he won the European Championship trophy with Portugal. The Real Madrid ace has two Golden Ball awards (2013, 2014).
Highlighted Team (Ireland):
Competing as an independent entity since 1953, Republic of Ireland have struggled to match the world’s best national teams ever since, although they did achieve several respectable results on the road. Their best ever result, the 1990 World Cup quarter-final, was achieved with a big smile from Lady Luck seeing that the Irish reached the last eight without winning a single match.
They have since reached the last 16 stage at the 1994 and 2002 tournaments, while only qualifying for three European Championship finals (1988, 2012, 2016). The Irish were in the top 10 of the FIFA Rankings in 1993 and 1994, but have failed to repeat the success in the next twenty odd years, and it appears they are no closer to bridging the gap behind European powerhouses.
Robbie Keane holds the record for most national team caps and goals at the same time, having bagged 67 in 143 appearances, whereas Niall Quinn, Steve Staunton, Damien Duff, Tony Cascarino and Don Givens are some of the other star players.