Portugal will be without one of their first choice squad members ahead of the crucial qualifying encounter coming up.

Portugal will be without another one of their first-choice centre-backs for their Qatar 2022 World Cup semi-final play-off game against Turkey, with Pepe being the latest player to be ruled out of the fixture. The 39-year-old center-back joined the injured Ruben Dias on the absentee list after testing positive for COVID-19 ahead of the start of the March international break.

Fernando Santos' side will take on Turkey on Thursday in Porto and a win should be enough to secure them a clash with either Italy or North Macedonia. Pepe, just like Cristiano Ronaldo, was looking to help the Seleccao and make it to what will likely be his final World Cup appearance. However, the chance to contribute meaningfully to the cause has now gone down the drain. In his stead, Lille defender Tiago Djalo has been called up from the Under 21 side.

"Pepe tested positive for Covid-19 and will fulfill the scheduled isolation days," said an official FPF statement. "Fernando Santos, National Coach, [has] called up Tiago Djalo, defender of Lille, who was at the service of the U21 National Team.

"The National Team trains this afternoon, at Cidade do Futebol, in the first session of preparation for the game with Turkey, in the play-off [for] the 2022 World Cup."

Despite his age, Pepe has been an instrumental figure in the success story of the Portuguese national team in recent years. This season, he has impressed once more and has been a key figure in FC Porto's charge to reclaim the Primeira Liga title. His involvement in defense has seen the Dragons sitting atop the chart, with six points separating them and second-placed Sporting CP.

With both Pepe and Ruben Dias (hamstring injury) now absent, Portugal will have a huge moutain to climb in their bid for a ticket to Qatar 2022. A win over Turkey would secure them a probable clash with Italy who will take on North Macedonia in their respective playoff semi-final encounter. 


Match details, result and original broadcast info

Portugal 3 - 1 Turkey

March 24, 2022 3:45pmEstádio Do Dragão (Porto)

This match has ended. Below are the original Live broadcast details for this match.

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