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11.10.2013 » Portugal 1-1 Israel. No room for error and yet we slipped again!

Cristiano Ronaldo jumping high in the air and heading the ball

It seems like Portugal won't avoid going into a decisive playoff stage before qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, after having dropped another 2 points at home, this time against Israel. The Portuguese National Team is now 3 points below Russia and will most likely have to settle with a 2-leg playoff round, which is expected to be played in mid November.

Portugal and Israel met in Lisbon for one of the last FIFA World Cup qualifying fixtures in Group F and the outcome was quite disappointing from a Portuguese point of view. Paulo Bento's men needed to win in order to keep Russia under pressure and still feed the hope of finishing first in the group. However, Portugal couldn't get better than a poor 1-1 draw against Israel and will now most probably have to go into a 2-leg playoff right next month. The Portuguese scored first deep in the first half thanks to a header from Valencia centre defender Ricardo Costa, but Israel would respond later in the second half, after an unbelievable mistake from the Portuguese goalkeeper, Rui Patrício.

Cristiano Ronaldo game photos in Portugal vs Israel
Portugal 1-1 Israel goals and highlights video:

Chances of still finishing the group in first place were already quite slim ahead of tonight's game against Israel, but after the pale 1-1 draw we've seen in the Alvalade XXI stadium, they basically got shattered to dust. The only scenario on which Portugal could still finish ahead of Russia would require not only that Russia loses against Azerbaijan next Tuesday, but also that Portugal wins against Luxembourg and that their current goal average (+7) improves to the point where it gets better than the one Russia has now (+15). Basically, if Russia loses by a 1-goal margin against Azerbaijan, Portugal would need to win at least by 7 goals against Luxembourg, in order to still finish first in the group.

That being said, the playoffs now seem inevitable indeed and Portugal has no one else to blame but themselves. Cristiano Ronaldo was shown a yellow card in the last minutes of the game against Israel, which will force the Portuguese player to go through a 1-game suspension and therefore missing next Tuesday's match agaisnt Luxembourg.

Cristiano Ronaldo being marked by several defenders at once

Portugal reached the lead around the 27th minute of the first half, following a corner kick taken by Joao Moutinho on the left. The AS Monaco midfielder saw his cross being cleared away by Israel's goalkeeper Dudu Aouate, but the ball ended up falling near Antunes feet. The left-back didn't lose much time and sent the ball wide to the far post, looking for Pepe. The Real Madrid defender wasn't selfish and assisted Ricardo Costa in the middle, for an easy finish with his header against an empty net. One would imagine the hardest part of the job had been achieved by then, but Israel managed to hold off the Portuguese attacking initiatives from that point onwards...

Paulo Bento's men kept controlling the game after scoring the opener, but it's also true that they have failed to extend the lead from the multiple occasions they created throughout the match. Israel ended up shocking the Portuguese nation near the end of the game, after capitalizing on a big mistake made by Sporting CP goalkeeper, Rui Patricio. The 25-year old failed to clear away a ball he had on his feet and sent a straight low pass to Ben Basat. The Israeli forward picked it up without much trouble, kept the composure and struck the ball past Rui Patricio for the dramatic equaliser.

With this draw, Portugal immediately knew that the first place became virtually unreachable and that the always stressful playoffs were about to turn a reality once more. Everything will be confirmed next week, when the last fixtures are played and FIFA goes forward with the playoffs draw. Right now, Croatia and France emerge as the strongest possible opponents, as they have both secured the 2nd place and at least Croatia has no chances to still qualify directly to the World Cup. The ties and exact dates will be known next week...

Cristiano Ronaldo getting rid of the defenders marking him

Portugal line-up vs Israel:

Goalkeeper: Rui Patrício
Defenders: Antunes, Pepe, Ricardo Costa, André Almeida
Midfielders: Miguel Veloso, João Moutinho, Rúben Micael
Attackers: Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo, Hugo Almeida

Match stats provided by www.ronaldo7.net
Portugal
vs
Israel
1
Goals
1
-
Shots
-
-
Shots on goal
-
-
Corner kicks
-
-
Fouls commited
-
-
Yellow cards
-
-
Red cards
-
-
Ball possession
-

Cristiano Ronaldo next game for Real Madrid will be for La Liga, next Saturday (October 19, 2013), against Malaga. You can watch Juventus live stream, Portugal vs Luxembourg, Spain vs Georgia, South Korea vs Brazil and Sweden vs Germany, all matches provided from our football live section.

Real Madrid next game:
Real Madrid vs Malaga
kick-off time (19-10-2013):

Jakarta (Indonesia) | GMT+7: 21:00
Spain
(Madrid) | GMT+2: 16:00
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | GMT+1: 15:00
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | GMT-3: 11:00
New York (United States) | GMT-4: 10:00
Los Angeles (United States) | GMT-7: 07:00
Beijing (China) | GMT+8: 22:00

Sources: ronaldo7.net / fifa.com

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