Alarms go off in Portugal

Alarms go off in Portugal

Portugal will not be able to count on striker Diogo Jota at the 2022 Qatar World Cup due to injury, which set off alarms in the country due to the large number of players in doubt for the competition that begins in November.

Jota, a Liverpool striker, is the second confirmed loss in the “quinas” for Qatar, after the injury of fellow striker Pedro Neto, from Wolverhampton. Both are joined by several players whose physical condition is a headache for coach Fernando Santos, such as central defenders Pepe and Danilo Pereira or full-back Nuno Mendes.

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp confirmed on Tuesday that Jota, 25, “has a very serious injury to his twins and is going to miss the World Cup.” It is a bucket of cold water for Portugal, as the Liverpool striker has been an important presence in the Portuguese attack, with 10 goals in 29 caps.

Also from England recently came the news that Wolverhampton striker Pedro Neto has suffered an ankle injury that will require surgery and will not recover in time for the World Cup.

Despite not having many minutes in the national team -three games and one goal-, Neto was included in the last call, so he could be an alternative for the attack, especially with the absence of Jota.

There are many offensive problems in the “quinas”. In addition to the injuries, striker Rafa, from Benfica, decided to withdraw from the Portuguese team, despite being part of the last squad.

These absences further increase Portugal’s already heavy reliance on their captain Cristiano Ronaldo, with little pace and far from the form Portuguese fans are accustomed to.

The Portuguese alarms do not only concern the attack line, there are also misgivings in the defense. The main doubt in this matter is former Madrid player Pepe, the absolute starter with Portugal and who is currently recovering from an injury to his left knee.

The 39-year-old central defender missed the last few games for his club Porto and it is still unknown if he will be ready in time to travel to Qatar. Asked recently about the player, the blue and white coach, Sérgio Conceição, only replied that he “will be out for a few more weeks”, without specifying the specific time that he will be unemployed.

Fernando Santos also has his attention focused on what happens at the Parc des Princes in Paris, where Danilo Pereira, Nuno Mendes and Renato Sanches play.
Danilo, 31, is Pepe’s regular partner in the center of the Portuguese defense and was injured in Paris Saint-Germain’s last game.

Even so, according to what was advanced by the Portuguese sports press, his absence is only about three weeks, which in principle will not jeopardize his presence in the World Cup. For his part, his teammate, left-back Nuno Mendes, is also a source of concern for the Portuguese team.

Mendes, 20, was injured at the beginning of October during the duel in Lisbon between the Parisians and Benfica in the Champions League and has not played since then. However, the first indications advanced by PSG suggest that he will return in time to represent Portugal.

Less worrying is the case of Renato Sanches. The 25-year-old midfielder, one of the main figures in Portugal’s conquest of Euro 2016 in France, recently recovered from an adductor injury and was already on the PSG bench last weekend, although he did not play. Portugal is in Group H of the World Cup, along with Uruguay, South Korea and Ghana. EFE

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