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Portugal dealt another major personnel blow ahead of Turkey playoff clash

Portugal dealt another major personnel blow ahead of Turkey playoff clash

 

The Portuguese national team have today seen their chances of booking a spot at the Qatar World Cup dealt something of a blow.

This comes in the form of a positive test for Covid-19 in the nation’s camp.

Fernando Santos’ troops are of course set to return to action later this week. In one of the most crucial stretches in the country’s recent footballing history, A Selecao will first welcome Turkey to The Estadio do Dragao on Thursday night.

Should they ultimately emerge victorious, a mouthwatering playoff finale showdown with Italy will, in turn, likely be teed up, with Roberto Mancini’s European champions primed to face off with North Macedonia in their own semi-final tie.

The hopes of Santos and co. of getting the better of not only Turkey, but potentially Italy, too, though, have this evening been considerably dented.

This comes on the back of confirmation that key veteran and defensive leader Pepe has returned a positive test for Covid-19. The FC Porto star, as a result, has been forced into a period of self isolation, ahead of sitting out Thursday’s action at the Dragao.

Lille talent Tiago Djalo, meanwhile, has been called up in his place.

Problems mounting

Pepe’s impending absence marks far from the only personnel concern for under-fire Portugal boss Santos, ahead of what could prove an era-defining week to come for football in the country.

Also set to play no part in A Selecao’s playoff endeavours is sidelined Manchester City stopper Ruben Dias, meaning Jose Fonte could well be joined by Danilo in something of a makeshift central defensive pairing for Portugal against Turkey.

Further forward, meanwhile, Wolves’ Ruben Neves was too forced to succumb to an injury issue over the last couple of days, with Porto’s Vitinha, in turn, called up in his place.

Read more:

Shocks, heartbreak and euphoria: The FA Cup quarter-final roundup, including best goal & biggest upset

England squad latest: Ollie Watkins & Crystal Palace defender among fresh quartet called up/Chelsea star pulls out

 


This article was edited by Ben Browning.

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