Portugal are handed an injury blow as Danilo Pereira could miss final Group H games after suffering three broken ribs in training – and Fernando Santos may turn to veteran Pepe in his absence
Portugal coach Fernando Santos fears he may be without central defender Danilo Pereira until the knockout stages and also has fitness concerns about midfielder Otavio ahead of Monday’s clash with Uruguay.
Pereira, of Paris Saint-Germain, suffered three broken ribs in training on Saturday, ruling him out of the rematch of the 2018 World Cup round of 16 clash, which Uruguay won 2-1.
Danilo Pereira could miss Portugal’s remaining group stage games because of a rib injury
Danilo played in Portugal’s win over Ghana and was booked after a foul on striker Inaki Williams
‘As far as I know he is improving and we expect to have him back on the pitch very soon,’ said Santos. Portuguese media reported that Pereira would miss the group stage and his involvement would be in doubt if Portugal make it to the knockout rounds.
Asked about 39-year-old defender Pepe, who was on the bench when Portugal beat Ghana 3-2 in their opening match on Thursday, Santos said he was ‘a monster’ and would be in the team on Monday. Decisions about the availability of Otavio, who started against Ghana, and reserve left back Nuno Mendes, who is also an injury concern, will be made on Monday.
Uruguay’s Tottenham midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur expects his side to improve on their opening 0-0 draw with South Korea. ‘We know it is a crucial game,’ he said. ‘We know that we need to win and that is what we will try to do. We will break our backs as we always do.’
In Pereira’s absence Portugal could turn to veteran Pepe who has 129 caps for his country
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