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09.10.2013 » All you need to know about the match between Portugal and Israel

Cristiano Ronaldo combing his hair

We're reaching the final stages of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and as usual, Portugal is struggling to earn their much-wanted ticket. The "Lusitanos" will lock horns with Israel this Friday and not only they will need to win the 3 points, but they'll also have to rely on Russia slipping against either Luxembourg or Azerbaijan.

Portugal will be facing Israel in what will prove to be a do or die match. With Portugal lying second in Group F, one point behind leaders Russia, this is a must-win match for CR7 and company, or they will have to settle for a place in the play-offs if Russia's result does not go their way. There is no better time to play Israel, now that several of their key players are injured. Israel too, are in need of a win in order to keep their slim hopes of qualifying for World Cup 2014 alive. Portuguese striker Hugo Almeida highlighted the importance of this match by saying "First place in the group? Hope is the last to die. It's a special game and we'll give everything to win. We suffered a lot in Israel but the goal is to win." With all that is at stake for both teams, this will indeed be a heated match filled with tension and nerves.

Cristiano Ronaldo - Skills for Portugal 2003-2013:

Recent form
Portugal: WWDWL
Israel: WWDLL
Russia 3-1 Israel
Israel 1-1 Azerbaijan
Ukraine 2-0 Israel
Honduras 0-2 Israel
Northern Ireland 0-2 Israel

Portugal: After a slow start to the World Cup qualifying campaign, including a lost against Russia and draws with Northern Ireland and Israel, Portugal have turned the corner with a 1-0 against Russia at home. The "Seleção" have won 3 of their last 3 World Cup qualifiers, scoring 7 goals in the process. Portugal's talisman Cristiano Ronaldo is also in the form of his life. He has 50 goals and 13 assist in his last 45 matches for club and country. His last outing for Portugal against Northern Ireland resulted in a stunning hat-trick for him. In defense and midfield, Pepe, Fábio Coentrao and Moutinho have performed consistently for their respective clubs. Forward Danny from Zenit, is in electrifying form with 13 goals this season, already equalizing his best return for an entire season which was back in 2010.

Israel: Israel come into this match after losing their last 2 international games. The "Blues and Whites" have raked just 12 points from 8 games in the World Cup qualifiers. They are in need of a morale-boosting win.

Cristiano Ronaldo training with Portugal

Team news

Portugal: Bruno Alves is injured so Sporting Lisbon defender Sereno will be the player to replace him in the squad.

Israel: Hit man Tomer Hemed is out with an injury. Yossi Benayoun is not called up as he is not playing football on a consistent basis.

Players called up

Portugal: Rui Patrício, Beto, Lopes, Pepe, Fábio Coentrao, Ricardo Costa, Antunes, Neto, André Almeida, Soares, Sereno, Meireles, João Moutinho, Miguel Veloso, Danny, Rúben Micael, André Martins, Josué, Cristiano Ronaldo (C), Nani, Hélder Postiga, Hugo Almeida, Varela, Nélson Olivera, Éder.

Israel: Aouate, Harush, Puskulsuz, Ben Haim, Keinan, Tibi, Yeini, Meshumar, Davidzada, Ben Harush, Dgani, Alberman, Natkho, Refaelov, Melikson, Zahavi, Radi, Ezra, Biton, Barda, Shechter, Yitzhaki, Damari, Ben Besat.

How they may line up

Portugal: Rui Patrício, Antunes, Neto, Pepe, Coentrao, João Moutinho, Raúl Meireles, Miguel Veloso, Nani, Hugo Almeida, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Israel: Aouate, Ben Haim, Keinan, Tibi, Yeini, Natkho, Rafealov, Alberman, Shechter, Ben Besat, Barda.

Last 5 head-to-head

1980
Portugal 3-0 Israel
1981
Israel 4-1 Portugal
1998
Portugal 2-0 Israel
2000
Portugal 2-1 Israel
2013

Last time they met

Portugal salvaged a draw with Israel in Ramat Gan thanks to a last-gasp goal from left-back Fábio Coentrão. Bruno Alves headed Portugal into an early lead from a corner but Israel dominated proceedings from then on. They hit 3 goals in the face of Portugal before the 70 minute mark, leaving Paulo Bento shell-shocked. However, Portugal did not flinch in the face of a comeback from 2 goals down. Hélder Postiga got a goal back from a simple finish, just before Fábio Coentrao stole a point from Israel in dramatic fashion.

Key player

Portugal: João Moutinho. Both teams would be vying for a win and hence would go out on the attack from the start. Moutinho can single-handedly dominate the midfield and this trait would no doubt be of upmost importance to Portugal. Moutinho would bring calmness to Portugal's game and keep possession. He can also launch attacks with his surging runs and long range passes. If the 27-year-old can succeed, Portugal can go on to break down a sturdy Israel defense.

Israel: Ben Besat. With their main man Tomer Hemed out, Ben Besat is the hope of Israel if they want to take something away from this match. Ben Besat scored a goal against Portugal in their last exchange too. The striker's record of 5 goals from 9 international matches speaks volume of his ability. The 25-year-old will be a marked man in the Portugal defense.

Prediction

With the form that both Portugal and especially Ronaldo are in, it would be hard to see anything but a win for Paulo Bento's side. Israel will certainly cause Portugal some trouble with the players they possess, but Portugal's superiority in quality and tactics will shine through eventually. If Portugal can keep their focus for the whole match, the three points will no doubt belong to them. 3-1 to Portugal!

By: @RMadridCastilla

Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick for Portugal, in 2013-2014 World Cup qualifiers

Cristiano Ronaldo next game for Real Madrid will be for La Liga against Malaga, on the 19th of October. In the meanwhile and during the World Cup qualifiers international break, you can watch Portugal vs Israel live, Spain vs Belarus live streaming, England vs Montenegro and Germany vs Ireland, all matches provided from our sports streaming section.

Portugal next game:
Portugal vs Israel
kick-off time (11-10-2013):

Jakarta (Indonesia) | GMT+7: 02:45
Spain
(Madrid) | GMT+2: 21:45
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | GMT+1: 20:45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | GMT-3: 16:45
New York (United States) | GMT-4: 15:45
Los Angeles (United States) | GMT-7: 12:45
Beijing (China) | GMT+8: 03:45

Sources: ronaldo7.net / @RMadridCastilla

Cristiano Ronaldo gesticulating in a funny way

Cristiano Ronaldo beautiful nutmeg, with his backheel

Cristiano Ronaldo and João Moutinho with Portugal, in 2013-2014

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