Either Italy or Portugal will be eliminated from the 2022 World Cup.
While both national teams must first win a knockout match to secure a head-to-head World Cup spot, that hasn’t stopped the sides from swapping.
Leonardo Bonucci has said that former Juventus team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo “will suffer” if Portugal face Italy in the World Cup playoffs. The 2022 World Cup could be Ronaldo’s last chance at a title as he will turn 41 before the 2026 World Cup.
“I [spoke with] Cristiano Ronaldo and we joked about the possible Portugal vs Italy match. We’ll see what happens on the pitch, Cristiano knows he’s going to take some hits,” Bonucci told RAI Sport. We have to focus on what we are going to do on the pitch, then in March we will meet again and I believe we will play two great games. “
Ronaldo spent three seasons as Bonucci’s teammate while playing for Juventus, both arriving in the summer of 2018, although Bonucci had spent the previous seven seasons at the club and is making a comeback. after a year hiatus with AC Milan.
Bonucci and Ronaldo have together won two Serie A titles, along with an Italian Cup and two Italian Super Cups. Both are among Winner of the Globe Soccer Awards .
Known for his remarkable tackle skills and ability to win aerial duels, Leonardo Bonucci is currently one of Juventus’ strongest players, as well as playing a key role in Italy’s success. at the Euro 2020 finals. pic.twitter.com/o560v7o0S3
– Globe Football Awards (@Globe_Soccer) December 27, 2021
It has been guaranteed that at least one of Italy and Portugal will miss the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Both nations failed to secure automatic eligibility, finishing short of the necessary points in their respective qualification groups, and thus leaving them vulnerable in the playoffs.
The two nations have made it to the same four finals, and must now successfully make it through to the survivors’ knockout to qualify. Italy must first overcome North Macedonia in the semi-finals, while Portugal are held to a draw against Turkey. Both Italy (6th in the world) and Portugal (8th) will be favored in those matches.
The winners of both matches at the end of that March will meet five days later to decide which country will qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.
Both Italy and Portugal were able to avoid this phase with more clinical finishing in the final matches of qualifying. The Azzurri in particular represent a shock to reach the knockout stages of the World Cup as they are close to winning Euro 2021 amid an apparent resurgence under Roberto Mancini.