Portugal boss Santos wary of under-pressure Morocco

Annette Crawford
June 20, 2018

A frustrated Fernando Santos has hit out at suggestions that Portugal rely too heavily on talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo's hat-trick was the 51st of his career, many of which were scored alongside former Real centre-back Pepe who spent a decade at the Spanish giants. We are very happy with him and his performance - and that of all other players.

"I can say that [he] makes things easier, he is the best in the world". Things happen more naturally, sometimes passes that could be more hard, he facilitates.

"You know, we have 22 other players than Cristiano", added Santos.

"When he needs me to do something I'm always where he needs me to be".

"I hope that Cristiano will have just as good a game as he did against Spain and that that is enough to win the game and collect three points".

"As I've said it's a big honour to play with him, he's the best footballer in the world", said Silva, who has scored an impressive 12 goals in 24 worldwide appearances.

Iran kicked off their campaign with a 1-0 win against Morocco, thanks to a late own goal by Aziz Bouhaddouz, piling the pressure on Spain at Kazan Arena on Wednesday.

"We can not underestimate them and must have respect for any opponent. He makes us dream, he gives us confidence", explained Pepe. "We lost a battle, but not the war". "Portugal have the capacity to do better than we played against Spain and I hope we can correct our mistakes".

This tournament is a chance for Suarez to play controversy-free soccer at this year's World Cup.

Should he be afforded a chance to make amends from kick-off or off the bench, all eyes will be on the resilience of the unfortunate St. Pauli player.

Morocco and Portugal have met just once prior to Wednesday's clash, with the African giants beating their opposition 3-1 in the group stage at the 1986 World Cup.

Outside Luzhniki Stadium is pre-match celebrations from the Portuguese fans who seem upbeat that their team will possibly earn them the first win.

- Portugal have not lost against a non-European nation at the World Cup since June 2002, when they were beaten 1-0 to South Korea (W5 D3 since).

The teams will meet at 8 a.m. ET on Wednesday in their second World Cup Group B game. Ronaldo personally would like to build on his hat-trick against Spain and take the lead in the race for the Golden Boot while also giving Portugal the control of Group B. His third goal in that game was also the first time he'd scored from direct free-kick in a major worldwide tournament, at the 45th attempt.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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