Portugal coach Fernando Santos confirmed central defender Danilo Pereira will miss Monday’s FIFA World Cup Group H game against Uruguay after suffering a rib injury in training.
The Paris Saint-Germain defender is not the only injury concern for Santos, with attacking midfielder Otavio and left-back Nuno Mendes both question marks for Monday.
“As far as I know he (Pereira) is improving and we expect to have him back on the pitch very soon,” said Santos, adding that his squad had enough depth to overcome Pereira’s absence.
“We have three other centre halves who can replace him. We don’t need to make a drama of it,” he insisted, dropping a hint that 39-year-old Pepe could be the man to get the nod.
The match is a repeat of the 2018 FIFA World Cup last-16 tie, where Uruguay won 2-1 to send Portugal out of the tournament. After winning their World Cup opening match 3-2 over Ghana, the Portuguese could make qualification very difficult for Uruguay if they can take their revenge, reports Xinhua.
However, Santos warned that a rival that contains veterans such as Diego Godin, Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, along with younger players, such as Real Madrid’s Fede Valverde and Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez, could be dangerous.
“We will have to be very careful because they can press their opponents really intensely, force them into errors and then hit them hard,” warned Santos.