North Macedonia game ‘matter of life and death’ for Ronaldo


With a spot on the line for what could be his fifth and final World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo needs to avoid an upset like the one that ended Italy’s hopes of making it to the tournament in Qatar.

Portugal face a winner-take-all game on Tuesday against North Macedonia, the team that shocked Italy last week to keep the four-time champions out of the World Cup for the second straight time, and their talisman Ronaldo said it is a “matter of life and death”.

“The team is quite confident, I feel all the players are ready,” Ronaldo told a press conference on Monday. “For us, this game is a matter of life and death, we are aware of its importance and I take this opportunity to appeal to the supporters to give us incredible support tomorrow.”

Portugal are trying to reach their sixth straight World Cup, and Ronaldo is hoping to play in his 10th consecutive major tournament after appearing in four World Cups and five European Championships since 2004.

“We know that if we win we will go to the World Cup and if we lose we are out,” he said. “We have the responsibility to be positive and win the match. I see everyone well prepared and wanting to be at their best tomorrow.” Portugal would have likely been expecting to face Italy in the play-off final.—AP


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