2014 World Cup: Portugal defender Pepe hoping for miracle
Defender Pepe is expected to return from suspension to start for Portugal against Ghana this evening — and the Real Madrid star is praying for “a miracle”.
“I do believe in miracles,” said Pepe, who is available again after serving a one-match suspension following his dismissal against Germany.
Either Portugal or Ghana will definitely be out of the World Cup come the final whistle today — and both will go if the USA and Germany draw. Qualification is out of both of their hands, and both must win to have any chance of progressing.
“We know our skills. the players we have, we should not be in the position we are now… it’s up to us to continue with our role.”
Central to Portugal’s malaise has been Cristiano Ronaldo, whose frustration at his own fitness and his team-mates has been plain to see.
“We’re probably just an average team,” he said. “I’d be lying if I said we were a top team.”
Today they have injury concerns over Hugo Almeida and Helder Postiga, while Fabio Coentrao is ruled out.
To overhaul the USA they need a five-goal swing to rectify an inferior goal difference.
Ghana’s chances are much more positive. Although they must win and hope the Germans beat the USA, they have a much better goal difference and are in better form than the Portuguese, as their superb second-half display against Germany showed.
Midfielder Sulley Muntari is suspended after picking up two bookings. Michael Essien could come in to the side for his first start of the tournament, while right-back Daniel Opare is still out injured.