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CR7 also between Italy and the World Cup

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Uphill road: first the match against Macedonia, then away with the winner of Portugal-Turkey

A first step to be accepted without closing your eyes, a possible closing of the circle that is creepy. First North Macedonia, then, if we have been better than Elmas and his associates, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal if the European champions four years before us will get rid of the Turkish marking.

The ballot box in Zurich, the one that designed the path of the playoffs towards the World Cup next November in Qatar, pulled a nasty, very nasty joke on our coach Roberto Mancini that only one thing had asked of luck: do not put Portugal on the road blue.

«It could have been better …» Mancio smiles as he pulls out the balls. “But it could have been better for them too: I don’t think the Portuguese are happy with the possibility of meeting Italy in the final …”, said the coach of the party nights at Wembley.

Portugal and the Azzurri are sailing on the same route, with the first ones caressed by the favor of the wind: CR7 and his teammates, in case, will play both games in their stadium, we only the first one and, if happy with the Macedonian half, in Lisbon or Istanbul the decisive 90 ‘to land in Doha in a year. We will meet Macedonia on 24 March and it will be a duel without Goran Pandev as an opponent: after 10 seasons and 122 games, the former Inter player at the time of Mourinho’s treble said enough in June at the end of the third Macedonian game at the European Championships.

«Goran think again …», is the catchphrase in vogue for a few weeks around Skopje, word of mouth growing in the last few hours. There is no Pandev (at least for now), there will be Elmas, the ideal interpreter for Spalletti’s game in Naples, and there will be, once again at his best, Nestorovski from Udine.

“It will be an insidious challenge, for this reason – so Mancini to the microphones of Rai – we will have to think first, exclusively, of Macedonia”.

There are two precedents, both at the time of Ventura ct: a success from them (2-3) and a failure from us, not in the score (1-1), but for what the equal meant then, prologue to a threat of resignation of the same technical commissioner and of the meeting at the Hotel Principe di Piemonte in Turin of the team in turmoil for a qualification towards Russia 2018 which vanished in the double play-off with Sweden. First Macedonia, then, if anything, the nightmare Ronaldo. A ghost that would not have ended in the play-offs if Mr Makkelie, the Dutch referee, had seen what the whole world saw in the 93rd minute of the Belgrade duel: the ball kicked by CR7 had crossed the line for a 3-2 of Portugal in Serbia, but without Var and goal-line technology, officially, nothing happened except two points lost for the Lusitanians in the qualifying round for the 2022 World Cup together with the direct pass in favor of the Serbs.

Ronaldo has never scored for the Azzurri, but he has only played twice against us.

“Not traveling at the end of March when the season will make you feel fatigue and the players will be tired is a great advantage: staying in Lisbon both in the semifinals and in the eventual final is the most important news …”, says Fernando Santos, coach of Portugal. –

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