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WC Qualification Europe

  • October 17, 2012
  • • 03:45
  • • Estádio Do Dragão, Porto
  • Referee: T. Kinhöfer
  • • Attendance: 48711
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Portugal - Northern Ireland Preview: Cristiano Ronaldo set to reach 100-cap milestone

Portugal - Northern Ireland Preview: Cristiano Ronaldo set to reach 100-cap milestone

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The Real Madrid star will become his country's third-ever centurion when he leads them out against Michael O'Neill's men, who are still yet to win under their new boss

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

PORTUGAL

Rui Patricio
Pereira, Alves, Pepe, Nelson
Moutinho, Veloso, Micael
Nani, Postiga, Ronaldo
NORTHERN IRELAND

Carroll
Baird, Hughes, Evans, McArdle, McGivern
Carson, Davis, Norwood
Lafferty, Shiels

After coming off 20 minutes into Friday's 1-0 defeat in Russia, Real Madrid left-back Fabio Coentrao (groin) will not be available for Portugal, though the extent of his injury is not yet known. Real Betis star Nelson is likely to feature in his stead.

Paulo Bento will also bring in Ruben Micael for Raul Meireles in midfield after the Fenerbahce man picked up an injury in training.

There are some key absentees for the visitors, however. West Brom defender Gareth McAuley is suspended for this clash after picking up two yellow cards already in the qualifying campaign, while Chris Brunt (hamstring) and Shane Ferguson (hip) will be missing from the midfield.

Several potential replacements for those players have also been ruled out, with Alex Bruce (groin) unable to make his debut while Grant McCann (knee), Jamie Ward (hamstring), Joe Dudgeon (knee), Martin Paterson and James McPake (Achilles) are all missing.

Huddersfield Town's Oliver Norwood and Ipswich Town teenager Josh Carson are likely to feature in the middle of the park as a consequence.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo is set to win his 100th cap in this match. The Real Madrid star is currently third on his country's all-time appearances list, behind Fernando Couto on 110 and Luis Figo on 127.
  • Ronaldo is also third on the hosts' table of most goals scored, though he already exceeds Figo in this regard. Only Eusebio (41) and Pauleta (47) can better the 27-year-old winger's tally of 37.
  • Portugal have only won two home games out of four in the calendar year 2012. Bento's men beat Luxembourg and Azerbaijan in September but suffered a defeat by Turkey and draw with Macedonia in the build-up to Euro 2012.
  • Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill (pictured right) is still looking for his first win since taking the job in late December 2011.
  • Since the new boss took over, the Green and White Army have conceded an average of three goals per game, with not a single clean sheet yet kept.
  • The last time that these two sides met, in November 2005, Northern Ireland recovered from conceding an own goal to draw 1-1 at home.
  • Not a single player in the Northern Ireland squad plays for a club in their native country. Portugal have eight such players, though only three (Rui Patricio, Joao Moutinho and Micael) are expected to start.

Players to watch

Cristiano Ronaldo

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

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R. Carroll

Position: Goalkeeper

Games: 0

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Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Portugal

Northern Ireland

Wins
2
3
0
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Portugal PRT
Portugal Portugal
Draw
Northern Ireland NIR
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland
88%

Top 3 Predictions

Portugal PRT
3 - 0
Northern Ireland NIR
Portugal PRT
4 - 0
Northern Ireland NIR
Portugal PRT
2 - 0
Northern Ireland NIR

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