Portugal's Deco out for North Korea game - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Portugal's Deco out for North Korea game

21/06/2010 05:54:46 AM Comments (0)

The pressure will be on Cristiano Ronaldo to start producing goals when Portugal meets North Korea on Monday, and he will be without Deco to feed him passes.

The Chelsea midfielder missed pre-match training at Green Point Stadium Sunday with a left hip injury and coach Carlos Queiroz ruled him out of the North Korea game.

Ronaldo said he hoped Deco could recover for the final group match against Brazil.

"Obviously Deco is always an important piece in the chess game," said Ronaldo.

Portugal is already without Manchester United winger Nani, who was ruled out of the World Cup before the tournament started.

"There were instances Deco didn't play, when Cristiano Ronaldo didn't play, and we were able to win nevertheless," said Queiroz.

Portugal will be looking for a big win, seeking to get a least one foot into the second round ahead of the last first-round game against Brazil next Friday.

"It is all or nothing as far we are concerned," said Queiroz.

North Korea too has the confidence, after it held Brazil before losing 2-1.

"We are going to put all of our efforts into the remaining two games and to win points - that is our main goal," said coach Kim Jong Hun, adding that his country might even go as far as the quarterfinals.

Brazil took the lead in the group after beating North Korea, while Ronaldo had a flat game in a 0-0 draw against Ivory Coast.

It immediately piled the pressure on Portugal and Ronaldo.

"We are in a fight. If we win we have a good change to pass to the next level," said Ronaldo. "Even winning the World Cup itself is not beyond hope. We have to believe and dream it is possible."

North Korea played with great composure against Brazil, before succumbing. Coach Kim Jong Hun said the team had gained confidence from the match against Brazil, despite the loss.

"They are a very, very dangerous team, with fast players," said Ronaldo. "We want to win, but we know up front that North Korea is going to be defensive. We have to try to penetrate that defense."

The North Koreans are only looking in one direction to see Portugal's threat - Ronaldo.

North Korean midfielder An Yong Hak said the clash with the Portuguese will be tough because "the whole world knows Ronaldo is the best player in the world."

Several players at the World Cup are hoping to strengthen their claims to being the world's best. So far, only Argentina's Lionel Messi's has lived up to the billing. Like with England's Wayne Rooney, the jury is still out on Real Madrid's Ronaldo.

After rifling one ball onto the post from long range against Ivory Coast early on, he was near invisible for the rest of the game. His most notable contribution otherwise was a yellow card. The Portuguese federation appealed the card, arguing it was unfair, but FIFA rejected it. One more yellow on Monday and Ronaldo will automatically miss the Brazil game.

Ronaldo has the eyes of his country and the world on him. The Real Madrid forward hasn't found the net for his country in a competitive game since the 2008 European Championship.

"I hope to score tomorrow," Ronaldo said. "To tell your the truth, I'm not concerned with scoring so many goals. My main concern is to win. If we win by 1-0, or 2-1, that's also satisfactory."

Queiroz said he hopes to see Ronaldo come alive in the World Cup.

"Of course I want everyone, including Cristiano, to score. But the most important thing is a victory. It doesn't matter who puts the ball in the net," Queiroz said.

The North Koreans expect the world from Ronaldo. Striker Jong Tae Se compared Ronaldo favourably with Eusebio, whose four goals in the 1966 5-3 quarterfinal win ended North Korea's fairytale run.

"Ronaldo is better than Eusebio," he said. "He is a more skillful player both tactically and technically."

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