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Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo & Portugal demoted by French TV as classic film 'Ghost' replaces World Cup play-off after Italy elimination

12:04 BST 29/03/2022
W9 Ghost Portugal Macédoine
Fernando Santos' side will face off against North Macedonia for a place at the 2022 tournament in Qatar

Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal have been demoted by French TV after broadcaster W9 took the decision to replace their World Cup play-off with a screening of the classic film 'Ghost' after Italy's elimination.

Portugal are hoping to appear at a sixth successive edition of the World Cup in Qatar later this year, but have endured a long-winded qualification process due to an underwhelming showing in the group stage.

Serbia sealed their spot at the tournament as Group A winners ahead of Fernando Santos' side, who were then entered into the play-offs and, after a nervy semi-final victory over Turkey, they are now set for a winner-takes-all showdown against North Macedonia.

Portugal snubbed by French TV

Portugal were originally expected to face Italy in the final of their qualifying section, but the European champions suffered a surprise semi-final defeat to North Macedonia.

W9 had been due to show the final at Estadio Dragao live on TV and had planned to have Ronaldo as the poster boy alongside Paris Saint-Germain stars Marco Verratti and Gianluigi Donnarumma.

However, in light of Italy's upset against North Macedonia, the French channel has moved the Portugal national team to its streaming service while confirming that the change is due to "sports news" in an official statement.

Portugal vs North Macedonia will be available on the M6 group's platform 6play, with W9 now set to broadcast the 1990 film 'Ghost', starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, in its prime time slot instead.

Ronaldo: Portugal ready for 'game of our lives'

Portugal captain Ronaldo has talked up the importance of the clash with North Macedonia as they bid to prevent another major upset.

"For us, this game is a matter of life and death," the Manchester United striker told reporters ahead of Tuesday's game. "There is a responsibility to win this game. For us, also a game of our lives.

"They have surprised [opponents] in many games but I believe they will not surprise us."

Ronaldo added: "There is no World Cup without Portugal. There are no individualities here.”

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