By TIM FONTENAULT
Portugal’s already crippled World Cup campaign could be on the verge of coming undone altogether.
After a 4-0 loss to Germany that included a red card and three injuries, Cristiano Ronaldo left practice early on Wednesday in order to ice his left knee, according to a Goal.com report. It isn’t the first time that Portugal’s captain and the reigning Ballon d’Or winner has been forced out of a recent practice due to knee issues, but the latest episode shows that the Real Madrid star still isn’t 100 percent.
Ronaldo has been battling tendonitis in his left knee as well as a thigh issue. The injury may be more serious than previously thought. According to one unconfirmed report out of Spain, doctors told the 29-year-old he could be risking his career by continuing to play in the World Cup.
Portugal was pummeled by Germany in its opening match, and Ronaldo had little impact on the game. As if the loss was not bad enough, Hugo Almeida is questionable for Sunday’s game against the United States while Fabio Coentrão has already been ruled out for the remainder of the World Cup. Meanwhile, Pepe will be serving a one-match ban after headbutting Germany’s Thomas Muller in the first half on Monday. Goalkeeper Rui Patricio is also questionable for the USA match with an injury.
None of those injuries would be as devastating as losing Ronaldo for a Portuguese side that needs a win against the U.S. on Sunday to keep hopes alive of advancing out of Group G. If Germany defeats Ghana on Saturday and the United States beats Portugal on Sunday, Portugal and Ghana will both be eliminated from the World Cup.
What do you think of these developments? See Ronaldo playing on Sunday? Think he can shake off the knee issues and deliver one of his trademark performances?
Share your thoughts below.
DE ANDRE YEDLIN! Get ready .. .. Give us 60 hard minutes and bark @ Ronaldo like a dog .. .. Make him beg to come off .. ..
Portugal just appears to be piling up a ready-list of excuses. Like Spain, the cannot handle the jungle!
Yes it really looks like Portugal is following Spain’s example at this tournament, and now that they’ve followed suit in terms of the opening game blowout (even also losing by 4), let’s hope they play through the second act and get themselves eliminated with a hapless performance against the team originally seen as the #3 team in their group. Then, also like Spain, they can play a meaningless third game against the other team already out in their group (assuming Germany beats Ghana, of course).
Outside of the US, most people saw Ghana as the number three team in the group. I don’t agree with that assessment at all, but that’s how it was. Everyone had Germany winning, and the question was if Ghana could challenge Portugal, while we were also-rans.
I’d be interested to see any links or other info that supported that idea. I mean the idea that people thought that way.
If they did, sounds like they don’t know their football very well, as the US was ranked 13th by both FIFA and the Elo system before the tournament, whereas Ghana came in well behind them at 38th and 37th, respectively. Maybe if the US had not won the hex, I could see some people being confused alon those lines, but of course they did win the hex…
I’d venture to guess MS is likely correct regarding the world’s prevailing opinion of US Soccer. I’d add… the same rankings you reference have Netherlands at 15… how many around the world believe the US is better?
Well the Elo rankings are usually considered better by them that know the sport, and they had the Netherlands at 5th in the world going. Yet they still had Ghana at 37th.
I’m not a big believer in rankings, and mentioned them (including the FIFA rankings) for the same reason I mentioned qualifying: because a lot of people may be basing their ideas on them. There’s just nothing in any of that that would lead people to the view that Ghana was the challenger in this group and we were the #4.
Anyway, I guess I wouldn’t be especially surprised if people were taking that view, but was wondering why he thought they were…
London bookmakers had Ghana slightly better odds than US, Vegas had them dead even, both battling for a distant 3rd behind Portugal. These reflect bettors’ perceptions since the bookmakers try to balance the bets.
Ah, of course a good, different angle to look at. And that sounds about right to me.
Thanks for the info!
My mother-in-law watches the Portuguese channels and says that there’s nothing about Ronaldo being out.
Portugal being without Almedia is not a big deal to me because Eder or Postiga in my mind is not much of a step down from him. Patricio being out is not a big deal to me either because he had a terrible game in my opinion, and their two other goalkeepers are as good or better and my mind. Pepe being out, and Altidore being out, is probably a wash. Really losing Contrao is what hurts Portugal the most in my opinion.
and not bring Quaresma was the real stupid decision on Bento’s behalf.
either way I hope Portugal still string it together and play as a team, not like last game.
I expect Cristiano to show up.
Even when he is 100% healthy and in form his weakness when with Portugal is he tends to make Portugal a one man team.
That was fine when he had to beat another one man team, Sweden, in qualifying but even as great as Cristiano is, one man teams don’t generally beat teams like Germany and Italy when it really matters.
Right now, no one seems to know just what kind of player Cristiano will be on Sunday and his supporting cast is even less than it might have been.
Nevertheless, Portugal, even without Cristiano, Pepe, Contreao and Almeida, is still a tough team, so I prefer they remain in a state of uncertainty.
On balance, I think a diminished Cristiano, and that seems to be the case, keeps Portugal from gelling as a team. The US will prepare for the good Portugal but hopefully the bad Portugal will show up.
“Cristiano Ronaldo, left practice early on Wednesday in order to ice his left knee.”
ESPN just now contradicted that, saying he’d left practice the same time as everyone else did, and showing a bit of video of him walking with the knee iced (which would be expected at the end of practice, anyway, if it had been troubling him recently).
Incidentally this was just before more discussion of the US injuries and Argentine Santiago Scolari adding his name to the list of folks saying that while we can’t know without being on the inside, the US’s issues in this regard look more like overtraining.
“Argentine Santiago Scolari adding his name to the list of folks saying that while we can’t know without being on the inside, the US’s issues in this regard look more like overtraining.”
You missed the important part of what Solari said, which is “we can’t know without being on the inside”
Well don’t look now, but no, I didn’t miss it, and in fact your own quote of my comment repeats me saying that. 🙂
Some sources are saying he left early now while others are still saying he just iced after practice…
Career threatening? The lengths this guy will go to in order to have an excuse to take his shirt off
I wonder if losing Ronaldo might actually help Portugal. Against Germany, every attack at some point went through Ronnie, even if it probably shouldn’t have (ESPN showed Nani had a chance to go 1v1 with a defender which could have left him in a great goal scoring position, but he instead passed the ball to CR7). Take Ronaldo out of the picture, and the focus of our defense will need to be spread out more as Portugal’s offensive plays become much less focused on one player, becoming much more randomized and unpredictable in the process.
I was thinking the same thing. I would much rather see (and love to hate) the pretentious, pouty and hobbled CR7 flailing his arms, frustrated with and yelling at his teammates, and then get red-carded after kicking out at a USA player
Yeah I’m tempted to say Portugal with an injured Ronaldo is worse than Portugal with no Ronaldo. I heard someone make the comment the other day that some of their players seem terrified of NOT passing to Ronaldo even when they have a better scoring chance.
uhhmm hope he’s not going to kicking Demp nose Ouch…
Did you see Portugal against Mexico sans Ronaldo? They’re attack was putrid. I’d much rather play against a team that doesn’t have a top 2 player in the world capable of scoring at any time.
Are you guys kidding? This is Ronaldo. RONALDO. Not fat Ronaldo either. Portuguese Ronaldo. You know him?
He got Portugal to the finals almost single handedly. A 75% Ronaldo makes every teams starting 11. If he’s out, it is a huuuuge boost for the US.
Yeah plus even a hobbled CR is going to be deadly with free kicks.
Who would be the back up on that wing?
Also the starting striker is out too.
Did some research:
Only Pure Winger seems to be:
Vieirinha – Wolfsburg Bench: 1 goal 1 assist in 11 games this year (Zusi is more of a goal threat.)
I bet we see a center mid pushed out wide and if nothing else this will open up space for Johnson.
Perhaps Ronnie Puppet is available. But he may or may not track back.