The Portugal squad will start their preparations for the 2018 World Cup in Russia embezzled from their best player. Cristiano Ronaldo was not called to the friendly this Friday, November 10, against Saudi Arabia. Starting at 17:45 (Brasília time), the match will be held at the Fontelo stadium in Viseu.
Portugal’s recent performance
The Real Madrid striker is not injured, but even so, he was left out by coach Fernando Santos. ‘Forgetfulness’ has two goals. The main one is to give the player a rest. Winner of the world’s best award for five times, Cristiano Ronaldo depends a lot on his athletic condition to show his qualities as a great finisher.
The second goal is to try a ‘B plan’ to prepare the team to act without its greatest resource. Such a situation has already happened in the Euro 2016 decision when Cristiano injured in the final against France and had to watch from the bench of reserves his colleagues take the Portuguese selection that can be considered the greatest achievement of its history.
Although the title came without Cristiano Ronaldo, his importance in the team was clearly demonstrated in the qualifying contest. Without him, the Portuguese team was defeated soon in the debut for Switzerland. So they spent the entire race chasing after their rivals and only managed to get their place on the final day when, with the top scorer, they defeated the Swiss 2-0.
Portugal reached 27 points (nine wins and a draw) beating Switzerland, who scored the same goal goal difference. A good part of this advantage was built thanks to the goal of Cristiano Ronaldo, who during the qualifiers reached the mark of 79 goals with the shirt of the Portuguese team overtaking Pelé and becoming the third highest scorer of a national team in official matches. It is only surpassed by Ali Daei (Iran), with 109 and Puskás (Hungary), with 84.
Without the great scorer, the hope of an effective offensive production is deposited at the feet of Andre Silva, of Milan, who is only 22 years old. For the game against the Arabs and also against the United States, on November 14, Fernando Santos called:
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Goztepe, from Turkey) and José Sá (Porto);
Defenders: Antunes (Getafe), Edgar Ié (Lille), Kevin Rodrigues (Real Sociedad), João Cancelo (Inter Milan), Luís Neto (Fenerbahçe), Nélson Semedo (Barcelona), Pepe (Besiktas), Ricardo Ferreira and Ricardo Pereira (Porto);
Socks: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting), Danilo Pereira (Porto), João Mário (Inter Milan), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv Moscow) and Reuben Neves (Wolverhampton).
Attackers: André Silva (Milan), Bruma (RB Leipzig), Éder (Lokomotiv Moscow), Gelson Martins (Sporting), Gonçalo Guedes (Valencia) and Rony Lopes (Monaco).
The current form of Saudi Arabia
After eliminating a team from the 2018 World Cup in Russia and complicating the life of another, coach Edgardo Bauza won the right to run for the first time in his career a World Cup squad. He was announced as coach of Saudi Arabia even though he did not participate in the team’s successful campaign in the Asian qualifiers.
It was up to the Dutchman Bert van Marwiji to lead the Arab squad in the race. With him in the lead, Saudi Arabia won Group A with 20 points (six wins and two draws) in the second round. The vacancy was guaranteed with the second place in the third stage. The team reached 19 points (six wins, one draw and three losses), one less than Japan, first place.
For differences with the cartolas, he ended up being dismissed by opening the vacancy for Bauza, better known as Paton, who had an experience in Brazil leading unsuccessfully to São Paulo. In the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, the coach made eight appearances in the Argentine team and was fired for not having managed to put the team in the qualifying block in the South American qualifiers. It was up to Jorge Sampaolli, his successor, to lead the team to take the place.
In that period of reaction of the selection of Argentina, Bauza was in command of the team of the United Arab Emirates. He was called to seek a reaction in the final stretch of the qualifiers. He led the team for four matches and failed to reach the goal. He was fourth in the same group as Saudi Arabia with just 13 points (four wins, one draw and five losses). With Paton were two defeats, a draw and a win.
Financial resources are not lacking for Saudi Arabia. Thus, the new coach drew three dozen players for a 12-day training period in Portugal before the friendly on Friday. It will serve to get to know the group that has another commitment on November 13 against Bulgaria, which did not get a place in the 2018 World Cup. That group are not, however, two of the best players in the country. Injured, Nawaf Al-Abib and Al-Hafith were left out of the relationship.
History of the matches Portugal vs Saudi Arabia
The selections made just a friendly before this one. The Portuguese won 3-0 in 2006.
Even without Cristiano Ronaldo in front of an opponent in the process of reformulation and acting at home Portugal is the best option for a guess with a price of 1.16 in Bet365. Draw has a prize of 6.50 and visitor victory multiplies the capital by 17.00.