Portugal is about to participate in the World Cup play-offs, but Portuguese central defender Pepe tested positive for COVID-19 and was unable to participate in the test. In addition, Ruben Diaz, who had previously been absent due to injury, both the main central defenders of the Portuguese national team were absent. Cristiano Ronaldo became more difficult to participate in the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
Portugal will compete with Turkey in the semi-finals of the World Cup play-offs. If it wins, it will compete with the winner between Italy and North Macedonia in the play-off final. For Cristiano Ronaldo, who is 37 years old, this should be his last World Cup, but now Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal are less hope of advancing to the World Cup finals.
On Monday, local time, the Portuguese Football Association issued an announcement: “Pepe has tested positive for COVID-19 and needs to be quarantined. National team coach Fernando Santos has called up Portuguese U21 national team defender Tiago Jallow, who plays for Lille, as a replacement. The national team will start training this afternoon to prepare for the World Cup play-off against Turkey.
Pepe, who is 39 years old, plays for Porto and is still the main central defender of the Portuguese national team. Another main central defender of the Portuguese national team is Manchester City player Ruben Diaz, but Ruben Diaz will miss four to six weeks from his previous hamstring injury and will also be unable to participate in the World Cup play-offs. This means that the two main central defenders of the Portuguese national team were absent at the same time before the most critical game. Veteran Vonte, who has played in the Dalian in the Chinese Super League, may be the starting central defender of Portugal with 20-year-old Ignacio.