Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Portugal Hopes Ronaldo Will Be Ready

Remember when we were wondering, the other day, why (and how) someone in Spain could write a story about Cristiano Ronaldo not being able to play for Real Madrid over the weekend ... without even raising the question about whether he might be available for Portugal's crucial match this coming Saturday?

That has been rectified.

Though not by the original writer.

Turns out, as this story notes, that Portugal believes there is a good chance Ronaldo -- the reigning FIFA Player of the Year -- will be available when the Portuguese play host to Hungary, in Lisbon, in a critical qualifying match.

And in this story, Ronaldo is quoted by FIFA.com as saying he thinks he "will be fine" in time for the match.

Portugal is tied for third in Europe's Group 1 standings, but could jump to second with a victory, combined with a Sweden loss at Denmark.

Portugal is No. 17 in the FIFA world rankings, and missing South Africa 2010 would be embarassing and unfortunate. (Though not as embarrassing and unfortunate as Argentina, ranked No. 8, not making it.)

But Portugal finishes qualifying with a match against Malta, and would have 19 points, if it can defeat Hungary -- which would give them a good chance at second place, and a spot in the UEFA second-place playoffs. The back door to South Africa for four European teams.

Having Cristiano Ronaldo ... probably would help Portugal quite a bit.

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