Euro 2024: Portugal vs. Georgia Preview - Ronaldo set for third consecutive start

Portugal boss Roberto Martínez has confirmed that skipper Cristiano Ronaldo is in line for his third consecutive start of the tournament when the Seleção completes its final Group F game versus Georgia on Wednesday night.

Martínez has been tipped to field a heavily-rotated outfit after his side confirmed qualification and top-spot with a convincing 3-0 win over Turkey on Sunday evening.

The former Belgium manager has confirmed, however, that he will start Ronaldo versus Georgia, as well as maintaining Portugal number one Diogo Costa between the sticks.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s game, Martínez confirmed: “I can tell you that our captain (Ronaldo) will be in the starting eleven, tomorrow. He only played one warm-up game, so it’s important that he plays.

“His overall season has been very consistent and he’s played a lot of games. To continue with a competitive rhythm, it wouldn’t be good for him to stop now.”

Porto shot-stopper Costa was also confirmed as a mainstay in the XI after claiming his first clean sheet of the tournament versus Turkey.

On the potential goalkeeper switch, the Spanish manager said: “I don’t like rotating in that position. It’s important to maintain defensive relationships. “We prepare to win the game. Tomorrow, our XI will be full of important players. There will be no revamp, but yes, a team full of important players.”

Eyes on João Felix

Another player to find himself in the spotlight has been João Felix, with the ex-Benfica yet to feature in a single minute of Portugal’s 2024 European Championships campaign.

The forward reportedly headed for the tunnel before the full-time whistle had been blown on Portugal’s 3-0 victory over Turkey, with the Spanish media pointing towards a fresh feud between Felix and Martínez.

Felix set the record straight this afternoon, however, in the pre-match press conference, revealing he simply ran off to go to the toilet. On the rumour, the 24-year-old said: “I don’t read those kinds of stories, but my brother sent me it. Of course, it’s a lie, otherwise I wouldn’t be here.

“It’s just another moment of disrespect on my name and that of the manager, as well as the team in general,” Felix continued. “In certain situations, things haven’t gone well, but they’ll never see me drop my shoulders. They’ll see me triumph, I’m sure. The best moments are still to come.”

Also likely to feature tomorrow night is Matchday One hero Francisco Conceição, but among the doubts within Martínez’s ranks are Gonçalo Ramos, Nuno Mendes and Diogo Jota - all recovering from knocks.

Wednesday night’s clash sees Portugal and Georgia face off against each other for the first time in official competitions, but meetings between the two nations in friendlies have been almost as scarce.

Both countries have gone toe-to-toe just once before, back in 2008, with a 2-0 victory for Portugal giving the Seleção the upper hand. Anyone for seconds?

Predicted XI: Diogo Costa - Diogo Dalot, Gonçalo Inácio, Rúben Dias, Nelson Semedo - João Neves, Rúben Neves - Pedro Neto, João Felix, Francisco Conceição - Cristiano Ronaldo

By Patrick Ribeiro