• World Cup qualifiers

Ronaldo stays quiet over yellow card

ESPN staff
October 12, 2013
Cristiano Ronaldo was not impressed by Portugal's performance against Israel © Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo refused to reveal whether he had deliberately picked up a caution in the dying moments of Portugal's 1-1 draw with Israel.

With one game remaining in Group F, Portugal are preparing to enter the play-offs for the 2014 World Cup, as they trail table-topping Russia by three points and seven goals.

With third-placed Israel five points behind, it means Portugal's last remaining group match, at home to Luxembourg, is unlikely to hold any significance.

Ronaldo's yellow card - which he picked up in injury time for protesting - means he can play no part against the minnows, but he will be available when the two-legged play-offs start. However, he would not divulge whether that had been a deliberate tactic.

"I can't talk about that," Ronaldo told reporters, according to Reuters. "FIFA is always very attentive to those situations. The play-off is the most important and I don't want to be out. I will be at those two matches."

Ronaldo told A Bola that "it is not a drama" to be in the play-offs, but he did admit he feared a meeting with France.

Portugal could also face teams including Croatia, Sweden and either England or Ukraine, but Ronaldo said: "France are the strongest we may face. They are the only ones I do not want to face."

The Real Madrid star was unimpressed with the way his side performed in the draw with Israel.

"We have to improve in many aspects," Ronaldo said. "Israel had two buses behind the ball and when it's like that it's hard to score.

"We were apathetic in the second half, looked sleepy even, and things did not go well. We lacked a bit of maturity at times - maybe it was because we had a young team with a lot of changes."

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