World Cup Qualifying Preview: Portugal - Luxembourg
The skipper is suspended for the clash along with Real Madrid teammate Pepe, with Paulo Bento's side knowing victory will at least be enough to seal a playoff place.
By Peter Thompson
Paulo Bento's side could only draw 1-1 with Israel on Friday after Rui Patricio's error gifted Eden Ben Basat a late equalizer at Estadio Jose Alvalade, leaving the team three points adrift of group leader Russia, which needs only to avoid defeat in Azerbaijan to confirm its place at next summer's finals.
Portugal will be without captain Cristiano Ronaldo and his Real Madrid teammate Pepe after they both picked up yellow cards against Israel.
The former denied picking up a caution for dissent on purpose in order to ensure he was not on a booking ahead of the playoffs in November.
Even without two key players, Bento's charges will still be expected to get the better of Luxembourg in Coimbra as they look for the comprehensive victory which will keep their faint hopes of overhauling Russia on goal difference alive.
Ronaldo confessed earlier this week he was prepared for the "drama" of the playoff round, with Portugal having qualified for its last two major tournaments by virtue of a knockout tie.
Luxembourg, meanwhile, was beaten 4-0 at home by Russia on Friday and is languishing at the bottom of the group with six points.
Portugal won 2-1 when the two sides met in Sept. 2012, with Ronaldo and Helder Postiga on target after Daniel da Mota had given Luxembourg a shock lead.
The minnow has just one victory to its name in Group F against Northern Ireland last month and will be determined to avoid finishing bottom of the group by securing a memorable result on Tuesday.
|Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to $100 CAD|
Top 3 Predictions
Portugal 3-0 Luxembourg
- 15.06 %
Portugal 4-0 Luxembourg
- 14.61 %
Portugal 2-0 Luxembourg
- 10.79 %
|World Cup 2014 (Europe) (WCQE)||2013-10-15||Portugal 3 - Luxembourg 0|
|World Cup 2014 (Europe) (WCQE)||2012-09-07||Luxembourg 1 - Portugal 2|
|International Friendlies (FR)||2011-08-10||Portugal 5 - Luxembourg 0|
|International Friendlies (FR)||2006-06-03||Luxembourg 0 - Portugal 3|
|2013-11-19||Sweden 2 - Portugal 3||WCQE|
|2013-11-15||Portugal 1 - Sweden 0||WCQE|
|2013-10-15||Portugal 3 - Luxembourg 0||WCQE|
|2013-10-11||Portugal 1 - Israel 1||WCQE|
|2013-09-10||Brazil 3 - Portugal 1||FR|
|9||D. da Mota||Striker|
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed