Postcard from Brazil
Is Cristiano Ronaldo Out for Portugal's Match with U.S.?
Jozy Altidore has a hamstring strain and could miss Sunday's match, but concerns about his status pale in comparison to the personnel problems facing Portugal. And yes: Cristiano Ronaldo is rumored to be out.
BY John Godfrey PostedSAO PAOLO—A light drizzle is starting to fall on this massive metropolis, transforming the already-overcast skies into a slightly darker shade of gray. If this level of precipitation represents the amount of bad news that the U.S. received in its 2-1 victory over Ghana—Jozy Altidore injured his hamstring and may miss the game; Clint Dempsey suffered a broken nose and likely will be hampered—Portugal is facing the meteorological equivalent of a monsoon. Let's take them in chronological order, shall we?
June 18, 2014
June 18, 2014
28th Minute: Hugo Almeida—OutThe Portuguese forward with the Brooklyn hipster mustache, Almeida is typically the second player mentioned when soccer aficionados insist that Portugal has more scoring threats than a certain Ballon d'Or winner. (Nani, a disappointment of late, is often the first.) And it's true—Almeida is a legitimate threat. Or rather, he was. The burly 30-year-old striker, who has 19 goals in 56 international appearances for Portugal, pulled up lame in the 28th minute of his team's humiliating 4-0 loss to Germany. According to a team doctor, Almeida's hamstring injury will cost him a minimum of 10 days, which means he will be on the sidelines for the U.S. match and against Ghana four days afterward. Helder Postiga, who plays his club soccer for Lazio, is a 31-year-old veteran and the likely replacement. Eder, 21, who has made just nine appearances for Portugal, could also see some action.
37th Minute: Pepe—Out
Sometimes a reputation for being a hothead is fully justified. For Pepe, the six-foot-two central defender who plays his club soccer for Real Madrid, it absolutely is.
65th Minute: Fabio Coentrao—OutThe Real Madrid left back, seen here running before he was stretchered off against Germany, is another huge loss for Portugal. According to the Portuguese soccer federation, the 26-year0old suffered a second-degree strain on the adductor muscle in his right thigh. A press release confirmed the bad news: "Due to the severity of the injury, he will be unfit for competitive football for a period which extends beyond the duration of the World Cup." Andre Almeida, a 21-year-old with just six international appearances to his name, replaced the wily Coentrao. It's another huge drop-off for the Portuguese.