World Cup play-offs: Portugal face Turkey in cracker

The World Cup 2022 play-offs are set to take place over the next fortnight with the final three European berths yet to be decided ahead of this winter’s tournament in Qatar.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos has described the coming days as the most important challenge of his time in charge.
The Portuguese play Turkey tomorrow in Porto with the winners to face either Italy or North Macedonia five days later in a game that will determine one of the last three spots left for European teams at Qatar 2022, which kicks off in November.
Veteran Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo was named in the 25-man squad that started their preparation on Monday.
“It’s simple: we need to win, nothing else matters,” Santos told a news conference.
“This is the most important challenge I had as Portugal manager. Not the most difficult, the most important. We must be in the World Cup for our people. The tickets were sold out in minutes more than a month ago. Our fans will be a major factor and we can’t let them down.”
The coach is confident that his team, who dropped into the play-offs after losing their final group stage qualifier to Serbia, can go through if they keep their cool.
“We are in this spiral of drama that is not positive for us,” Santos said.
“We lost one game in the last seven games. There were things that didn’t go well, but we just didn’t win a game against Serbia.
“We were very upset about that, but now it’s about taking what was positive and win again. Talent wins games, but a team wins championships. Players know that and they are in the right mindset.”
Ten group runners-up are joined by the two best group winners from the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League overall ranking that have neither qualified directly as group winners, nor entered the play-offs already as group runners-up.
These 12 teams were drawn into three play-off paths for one-off semi-finals and a final. The three path winners qualify for the World Cup. – Sky Sports

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