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Ronaldo coy on Portugal booking

Cristiano Ronaldo has refused to clarify whether he deliberately got himself booked during Portugal’s 1-1 draw with Israel on Friday.

The result, coupled with Russia’s 4-0 win over Luxembourg, means Portugal are all but certain to miss out on automatic qualification to the FIFA World Cup from Group F of the European section.

Portugal sit three points adrift of Fabio Capello’s men with an inferior goal difference going into the final qualifiers and are likely to feature in the play-offs.

Their captain Ronaldo was booked late on in the game in Lisbon for dissent, leading to speculation that he may have picked up a yellow card on purpose so he could miss his country’s final group qualifier against Luxembourg on Tuesday.

However, the Real Madrid star has denied he deliberately earned a caution so he could take a clean disciplinary record into the play-offs.

“FIFA is always very attentive to those situations,” Ronaldo said.

“The playoff is the most important and I don’t want to be out. I will be at those two matches.”

When asked on potential opponents in the play-offs, Ronaldo highlighted France – who look set to finish second behind Spain in Group I – as the main threat.

“France are the strongest we may face,” he continued.

“They are the only ones I do not want to face.”

Ronaldo’s Real team-mate Pepe is also banned for Portugal’s final qualifier.

Sat 12 October, 2013
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