Portugal only needs one more step to be able to participate in the 2022 World Cup at the end of November. The only remaining obstacle was North Macedonia.
The two will meet in the final match of the play-off path C of the 2022 World Cup qualifying round, Wednesday (30/3/2022). Portugal was lucky enough to be able to play at its own headquarters, the Estadio Do Dragao.
But North Macedonia is not an easy club to beat. Before reaching the final, they eliminated Italy thanks to Aleksandar Trajkovski’s only goal in injury time.
Portugal certainly need not worry, because they are reinforced by quality players. Here are five names from Fernando Santos’ team that could make North Macedonia die.
His age is far from young, 37 years old. But it is illegal to question Ronaldo’s quality as a great striker. Because, his ability to score goals does not age at all.
Last season, Ronaldo ended the Serie A stage with Juventus with 29 goals from 33 appearances. This achievement was enough to help him win the Capocannoniere or Serie A’s top scorer.
Now he plays for Manchester United. His performance was not affected even though he appeared with different players. He has scored a total of 18 goals from 32 appearances and can still add.
Jota left Wolverhampton and joined Liverpool in 2019. It was the right decision, because Jota’s ability to score goals was getting honed.
In the last two seasons, Jota collected 32 goals for Liverpool. Just 12 goals away from reaching his three season tally with Wolverhampton (44 goals). This performance had a positive impact on the Portuguese national team as well.
Jota became one of the determinants of Portugal’s success in advancing to the final round of route C. He scored one goal against Turkey on Friday (25/3/2022) which made Portugal win with a score of 3-1.
Jota’s appearance in the match against Turkey was quite slick. However, he still loses when compared to Portugal winger Otavio, especially in terms of goals and assists.
The Porto striker didn’t just provide assists to help Jota score in the 42nd minute. He also scored Portugal’s opener when the game had only lasted 15 minutes.
Otavio’s performance at club level was no less brilliant. He has only scored five goals in all competitions, but has contributed 12 assists from 40 appearances. It is undeniable, Otavio is a factory assist Portugal at this time.
AC Milan’s revival this season cannot be separated from the services of the striker, Rafael Leao. Thanks to 11 goals and six assists from 33 games in all competitions, Leao helped the Rossoneri to victory and top the Serie A table.
That slick nick that made the 22-year-old man able to get a place in the Portugal national team. Honey, there’s still a long way to go. Leao will have to snatch a place in the starting XI from the more experienced Bernardo Silva.
Bernardo Silva definitely should be on this list. But Leao’s contribution is worth waiting for. He played as a substitute against Turkey and, possibly, Leao will become a supersub against North Macedonia.
In his first full season with Manchester United, 2020/21, Bruno Fernandes scored a total of 28 goals and 17 assists from 58 appearances in all competitions. The public really misses this Fernandes figure.
Actually, the 27-year-old man’s score this season is not so bad. He is still able to produce 14 assists and nine goals from 37 matches. But, compared to before, Bruno Fernandes looks more dangerous.
When facing Turkey, Bruno Fernandes’ performance was not so striking. But it is not impossible that he will rise in the match against North Macedonia later. As long as Fernandes can get himself out in the 2020/21 season that is being pent up.