Portugal legend Cristiano Ronaldo has insisted that his team will not give in to favouritism among fans or speculations at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
“If we are to reach the final, we need to play at the best of our abilities in the first six matches. First things first, let us play well to earn a passage to the knockout. We are ready to battle it out in Qatar,” he said.
Recently, game publisher Electronic Arts – through its simulation in FIFA 2023 – had predicted that the final in Qatar 2022 would be between Portugal and Argentina, with Argentina winning the title.
However, Cristiano Ronaldo, who will be playing his fifth World Cup with Portugal, believes every match will be critical for the Selecao das Quinas.
“Every match is a battle and you need to be strong mentally as well as physically to survive,” he said.
Portugal is drawn in Group H, alongside Uruguay, Ghana and South Korea and will face stiff competition from Uruguay to top the group.
La Celeste had knocked out Portugal in the round of 16, in the last edition of the tournament.
With promising youngsters like Darwin Nunez and Federico Valverde, Uruguay will be a stern challenge alongside South Korea, which ousted Germany in Russia, four years ago.
However, Portugal will have reasons to be optimistic as well – having the support of two midfield talismans from either side of Manchester – Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) and Bernardo Silva (Manchester City).
“These talented bunch of Portuguese footballers have so much to offer to the team and Portuguese fans,” Ronaldo said.
Portugal starts its World Cup 2022 campaign against Ghana on November 24, before playing Uruguay five days later and South Korea on December 2.
Cristiano Ronaldo, making his senior debut in 2003, won his first international trophy 13 years later – the European Championship in France. Since then, the 37-year-old has won another trophy in Portugal colours, the UEFA Nations League 2018-19.
When Portugal takes the field at Qatar 2022, Ronaldo will hope to guide his team beyond its best-ever third-place finish (1966) at the FIFA World Cup, with or without predictions.