This was about the closest I was going to get to Ronaldo. I fact it was as close as any media person was going to get to the great CR7 at the only practice at the Ramat Gan National Stadium for Portugal before their World Cup Qualifying match on Friday afternoon.
Security was tight around the whole club and not even a player came with coach Bento to the press conference which was primarily for the visiting Portuguese press and the Ronaldo look a like winner in the Yediot Achronot contest.
There is tremendous pressure on Ronaldo, Bento and Portugal tomorrow as they are level on points with Israel behind first place Russia.
Portugal needs to win. But so does Israel.
If either of these teams want to take one of the first two spots in their group this is a must win. A draw will do no good.
I remember back to when France played Israel in 2005 in a WCQ for a trip to Germany in 2006. It ended in a 1-1 draw which most people walking out of the game were thrilled to get against the almighty French team.
However, when France went down a player to ten men in the second half Israel pressured, enough to score one goal and tie it up but not another and the clubs split the points.
Both teams ended the campaign with 18 points, however tie breakers were in France’s favor and they went through to the WCQ and were finalists with the eventual Champions Italy.
A draw does no one any good, especially at home for Israel. Period.
They need to win.
Coach Gutman must put out an offensive lineup with Tomer Hemed and Eden ben Basset both playing in Europe and need goalkeeper Dudu Auote to come up big and steal a game against a striker named, Ronaldo.
Will it be possible? Doubtful. But the pressure is surely square on Portugal, and Israel must come out with guns blazing to make sure that pressure is there.
Nothing else is acceptable.
Good luck to Israel!