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Unsure If Cristiano Ronaldo Will Play South Korea Match – Says Coach Fernando Santos

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Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

#Cristiano Ronaldo’s availability for Friday’s last Group H match against #South Korea is still up in the air, according to Portugal coach #Fernando Santos. The 37-year-old Portugal skipper chose to skip practice on Wednesday in favor of recovery and targeted workouts. Even if healthy, he might not play against South Korea because his team has already advanced to the knockout rounds.

“I think it is 50-50 if he plays or not, we’ll see,” Santos told a news conference on Thursday. “It will depend on if and how he practices today if we see he is in good condition… There is a plan for if he is not available.”

Portugal leads a group with six points after victories against Ghana and Uruguay and can clinch the top spot with a win or a draw. South Korea still has a very small chance of making the team. Nuno Mendes, a defender, suffered a thigh injury against Uruguay and was forced to leave the field in tears. Santos has now announced that he will miss the remainder of the World Cup.

“Unfortunately he is out but by his will he will stay with us. It was his desire, his club agreed, and he will start his recovery here. His enormous desire to stay with us reflects the state of mind of the whole squad,” he said.

Santos stated that he anticipates rotating a portion of his squad due to the injuries to Mendes, Otavio, and Danilo in order to keep some players fresh for their match in the round of 16.

“Playing every four days is tough, players get tired and are experiencing fatigue. Fatigue leads to stress and stress leads to injuries.”

“Winning and finishing top in our group is crucial because we will have an extra day to recover the players in the best way possible,” he said. On Friday, December 2, Portugal will play South Korea in its final group match.

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