Ronaldo, Fernandes and Dalot in Portugal World Cup play-off squad

Ronaldo, Fernandes and Dalot in Portugal World Cup play-off squad

Three Manchester United players have been called up to Portugal’s squad ahead of next week’s World Cup play-offs.

Red Devils trio Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot will try and steer their country to Qatar after finishing second in their qualifying group behind Serbia. Portugal face a stern test against Turkey on March 24 in the semi-finals of the play-offs before a potential showdown with Italy in the final, who must overcome North Macedonia on March 29.

The nation has qualified for every World Cup since 2002, finishing fourth at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Euro 2020 winners Italy, who have lifted the Jules Rimet trophy four times, failed to qualify for Russia 2018 – the first time they did not feature at a finals since 1958.

Despite stating he could go on until the age of 40, many see Qatar 2022 as Ronaldo’s swan song in an international career that has seen him win the 2016 Euros. Last year, the 37-year-old broke the men’s all-time international goal scoring record, now sitting on 115 goals for his country in all.

 

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He became football’s all-time leading scorer after reaching 807 career goals thanks to his hat-trick against Tottenham last weekend. Fernandes is gunning for a second World Cup finals appearance after featuring in a draw against Spain and a win over Morocco in 2018.

 

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