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Soccer World Cup

World Cup Qualifying: Portugal-Israel Preview

Witters Sport – USA Today Sports

Cristiano Ronaldo and company will have a tough challenge going against an Israel side that need the three points to stay alive, but the individual quality of the Portuguese players will end up being enough for them to get the win.

After eight matches, both sides have different objectives: Portugal have 17 points and are still dreaming about a direct qualifying bid, while Israel are five points behind, and their only chance to get to Brazil is through the playoff round. Portugal will secure second place with a win or a draw and Israel needs to win to keep their chances alive until the final match day.

As many would expect, Cristiano Ronaldo will be focus of attention on both sides. The Real Madrid star is known for struggling when his national team needs him the most, and even when he’s slowly beginning to change that, he will need to come out firing against Israel to avoid any doubt.

The visitors will have a shot if they can play well defensively, but their pivotal point on the attack will be Elyaniv Barda, arguably one of the most experienced players in the roster.

Prediction: Portugal 3 -0 Israel

The peninsular side will be too much to handle for Israel in the end. They might struggle in the first minutes, but I’m confident Ronaldo will have a nice game and will be at his best to give his team the win and the possibility to at least qualify for the playoff round. Israel won’t stand a chance as they will be playing away from home, and with too much pressure on their backs against a much more experience side.

Juan Pablo Aravena is a soccer writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @jparavenarant or add him to your network on Google