Portugal have vowed to recover from their elimination from Euro 2020 and to score goals in tomorrow’s World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland in Faro – including an all-time record for captain Cristiano Ronaldo.
And while Conor Hourihane flew to Portugal last night to meet up with his international teammates belatedly after missing the squad’s flight from their temporary UK base to complete a full season loan move to Sheffield United, there was no place for Darren Randolph.
Randolph, 34, has now been demoted to fourth-choice goalkeeper in the national team and was again overlooked by Stephen Kenny when the Wicklow native tried to get a loan deal from West Ham last night to back up.
Instead, the uncap keeper James Talbot was called up as cover instead of the injured Mark Travers.
The Portuguese Football Association confirmed that the home qualifier against Ireland in Faro 7,865 sold out, only 25 percent of capacity as there were no Irish fans, as UEFA banned traveling fans for World Cup qualifiers this month.
Portugal face injury concerns at defense with defenders Ricardo Pereira (Leicester City) and Gonçalo Inácio (Sporting Libson) sidelined, but Manchester United’s new signing Ronaldo called on duty.
With one goal he will break the all-time record for international football of 109 goals, an additional motivation for the popular home team.
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“We will do everything we can to help him break the record. He’s a player who also inspires us with his presence, “said Valencia striker Gonçalo Guedes when Portugal came back into the game after losing their European title last month.
” We want to achieve the best possible result, play well and score a lot of goals. We know Ireland didn’t score, but we also know they have their weapons. The euro is a thing of the past. We’re concentrating on qualifying, we want to win and do a great job. ”
Kenny’s squad trained on their base in Faro last night, Hourihane was absent from this session as he was out after completing the formalities of his one-year loan move from Aston Villa.
“I’m happy to be here and can’t wait to get started,” said Hourihane, who was on loan to Swansea City for half of last season and now played his last game for Villa has.
“I’ve played Sheffield United a couple of times and it’s an exciting club to get involved with. The manager here has a good reputation in the championship and his Fulham team has us ahead of us beaten in a play-off final a couple of years ago and “I’m looking forward to working with him.” third Wahl was demoted, with Harry Arter linked with a move to Charlton Athletic. Ireland’s U-21 captain Connor Ronan, who was under contract with Wolves until 2024, was about to move to St. Mirren last night.
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