Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani tasked to see Portugal through against Bosnia-Herzegovina
Portugal edged past Bosnia-Herzegovina two years ago when both teams met in a two-legged playoff tie for the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals. Which side will claim victory this time around?
The battle will start on Friday at the Stadion Bilino Polje in Zenica. Kickoff time for this encounter is at 2:00pm EST, 7:00pm GMT and 8:00pm local time.
Paulo Bento will be hoping to have his players fully focused come Saturday following Bosingwa’s recent statements. Responding to Bento’s choice of excluding him from Portugal’s man-squad for the playoffs, the Chelsea defender announced his decision to pause his international career.
Bosingwa’s public feud with Portugal’s manager is coming at an inappropriate time according to FA president Gilberto Madail who stated that the player “could have made such comments on Wednesday [November 16, after Portugal's matches].”
Either way, the words of a player should not affect an entire team’s dream and Portuguese fans can count on Luis Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo to step up against the Bosnians on Saturday. Thankfully for Paulo Bento, skipper Cristiano Ronaldo is currently in great scoring form.
Nani, meanwhile, is poised to celebrate his 50th cap with a top performance and perhaps a goal. Remember that the Manchester United winger was key to Portugal's goals against Bosnia and Herzegovina two years ago.
However, the Bosnians are planning to make life hard for the Seleçao this time. “They have a lot of quality and Portugal have been a bit disappointing in the last few matches. Taking this into consideration, they are difficult opponents for Portugal,” Ottmar Hitzfield told UEFA.com in the build up to the game this week.
As the hosts on Friday, they’ll try to take advantage of the home factor. One of the most important things will be to deny Bento’s men from grabbing a vital away goal.