Fernando Santos convinced that Portugal will qualify
The coach Fernando Santos showed this Saturday convinced that Portugal will qualify directly for the World Cup 2022, but announcement that it will be necessary to have a balance against Serbia, without the final qualifier of European Group A.
“Portugal will qualify and will be directly present in the final phase of the 2022 World Cup”, began by saying Fernando Santos, during the press conference previewing the duel with the Balkan team, scheduled for Sunday, in Estádio da Luz, in Lisbon, which will be sold out.
He added: “Portugal will try to impose its record, Serbia will too. I don’t think it will be a game of patience. No team will play crazy, not even Serbia, which needs to win, won’t play anyway . They always play to win, but I don’t believe they will be unbalanced. We also have to be balanced, keep the focus of wanting to score goals.”
Portugal and Serbia are two teams that know each other very well, given the various matches played in recent years, so Fernando Santos knows exactly what to expect from the team led by Dragan Stojkovic.
“I expect from the Serbia team what I have expected in the other games. Serbia never play differently, they think about the game to win, bet a lot on the offensive level, perspectives to score the goal. They play in a line of three [defesas], full-backs, two midfielders and three players in front,” noted.
Asked about the “emotional charge” that this duel can bring to players, the coach recalls that “they are constantly used to it”, since “this is not the first time they deal with this type of decision at clubs and in the national team”.
Centre-back Pepe cannot be an option after being sent off in Dublin on Thursday and as such has left an open spot in the central defence.
“Pepe told me right away that he was going to stay until the end. I would like everyone to be available, but I have the confidence in everyone I have to play in that position. [de defesa central], with the conviction that they will respond very well”, he concluded.
The Portuguese and Serbs are the only ones still able to qualify directly for the Mundial2022, taking into account that Luxembourg (nine), Republic of Ireland (six) and Azerbaijan (one) are already mathematically removed from the race to the finals.
To guarantee the first place and direct qualification for the World Championship, a Portuguese team will have to score against Serbia, in a clash that starts at 19:45 on Sunday and will be directed by Italian Daniele Orsato.
In case of defeat, a formation of the ‘corners’ will have to dispute the ‘play-offs’.