'Matter of Life & Death': Cristiano Ronaldo's Words to Portugal Teammates Ahead of World Cup Playoff

© AFP 2022 / CARLOS COSTAPortugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 European qualifying round group A football match between Portugal and Republic of Ireland at the Algarve stadium in Loule, near Faro, southern Portugal, on September 1, 2021
Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 European qualifying round group A football match between Portugal and Republic of Ireland at the Algarve stadium in Loule, near Faro, southern Portugal, on September 1, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.03.2022
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At the start of the World Cup qualifiers, no one would have thought that North Macedonia could emerge as one of the biggest threats to the giants of football. While Germany and Italy have already tasted defeat at their hands, Cristiano Ronaldo has urged his Portugal teammates not to get complacent against Blagoja Milevski's side on Tuesday.
Portugal skipper Cristiano Ronaldo has conveyed a strong message to his national team colleagues ahead of their do or die World Cup play-off against North Macedonia at home.
While the 2016 European champions failed to secure automatic qualification during the World Cup qualifiers last year, they did inflict a crushing 3-1 loss on Turkey in their play-off semifinal on Friday.

Fernando Santos' men are now only a game away from booking their flight to Qatar, but North Macedonia could break their heart in the final tie of the play-offs.

The Macedonians caused one of the biggest upsets in football history during the weekend as they stunned Italy 1-0, sealing the Euro 2020 champs' fate in Qatar.
Roberto Mancini's team's defeat meant that Italy missed out on participation in a World Cup for the second time running.

But Ronaldo is upbeat about Portugal overcoming North Macedonia in the final play-off in Porto, a game he described as a "matter of life and death" for him and his star-studded team.

"For us, this game is a matter of life and death. There is a responsibility to win this game. For us, also a game of our lives", the 37-year-old legendary footballer said at a press conference at the Estadio do Dragao, where the game will be played later tonight.

"They have surprised [opponents] in many games but I believe they will not surprise us", he added.

The Manchester United talisman, who is the leading scorer in international football with 115 goals, has asked his supporters to create a kind of fan frenzy, including loud cheers and chants inside the venue during the match.

"I urge the fans - I want hell breaking loose at Dragao [Stadium]", Ronaldo continued.

"I went to bed last night thinking that I want the stadium to shut down the music for our national anthem and let the fans sing it a capella to show our passion, our strength and union around the objective of reaching the World Cup", he concluded.

Since 1998, Portugal have never missed a World Cup and if they fail to make it to the tournament in the Middle East, it would be termed as a major disappointment for Ronaldo and company.
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