Ronaldo will suffer if Portugal face Italy in World Cup qualifying, Bonucci says
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Italy or Portugal will be excluded from the 2022 World Cup.
While the two national teams must first win a knockout match to secure a head-to-head with a World Cup spot on the line, that hasn’t stopped the teams from already exchanging words. .
Leonardo Bonucci has said ex-Juventus team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo “will suffer” if Portugal face Italy in the World Cup qualifiers. The 2022 World Cup could be Ronaldo’s last chance to win a title given he will be 41 years old before the 2026 World Cup.
MORE: How The World Cup Qualifiers Work
“I [spoke with] Cristiano Ronaldo and we joked about the possible Portugal v Italy game. We will see what happens on the pitch, Cristiano knows he is going to take a hit, “Bonucci told RAI Sport.” We have to focus on what we will do on the pitch and then in March we will meet again and I have no doubts that we are going to play two great matches. “
Ronaldo spent three seasons as Bonucci’s teammate while playing for Juventus, both arriving in the summer of 2018, although Bonucci spent seven seasons at the club and is returning from a one-year hiatus with the ‘AC Milan.
Bonucci and Ronaldo have won two Serie A titles together, as well as an Italian Cup and two Italian Super Cups. Both were among the winners of the Globe Soccer Awards.
Known for his remarkable tackling skills and ability to win aerial duels, Leonardo Bonucci is currently one of Juventus’ strongest players, and has been crucial to Italy’s success at UEFA Euro 2020. pic.twitter.com/o560v7o0S3
– Globe Soccer Awards (@Globe_Soccer) December 27, 2021
It is already guaranteed that at least Italy and Portugal will miss the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Both countries failed to secure an automatic qualification, finishing below the necessary score in their respective qualifying groups, leaving themselves vulnerable in the qualifiers.
MORE: Could Ronaldo Actually Miss World Cup
Both nations were drawn into the same last four and must now manage to escape as a knockout group of survivors to qualify. Italy must first pass North Macedonia in the semi-finals, while Portugal were drawn against Turkey. Italy (ranked No. 6 in the world) and Portugal (No. 8) will be favored in these matches.
The winners of those two matches at the end of March will meet five days later to decide which country will qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.
Italy and Portugal could have avoided this stage with a more clinical finish in the last qualifying matches. The Azzurri in particular represent a shocking inclusion in the World Cup qualifiers given they have just won Euro 2021 amid an apparent resurgence under Roberto Mancini.
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