Republic of Ireland vs. Portugal: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview

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Republic of Ireland vs. Portugal: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview
Francisco Seco/Associated Press

Portugal conclude their warm-up programme before they journey to Brazil for the World Cup with this tricky friendly match against Republic of Ireland in New Jersey, USA.

Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to return to duty after concerns about his physical condition after minor injury.

Portugal have failed to beat Ireland in the three occasions that they have played them since 2000, per WhoScored.com, having lost once and drawn twice.

Here is how you can watch this World Cup warm-up match: 

 

When: Wednesday, June 11, at 12:45 a.m. BST/7:45 p.m. ET

Where: MetLife StadiumEast Rutherford, United States. 

TV: Premier Sports (UK only) 

Live Stream: PremierSports.tv (UK only)

 

Cristiano Ronaldo Returns for Portugal

Francisco Seco/Associated Press

It has been a nervous few weeks for Portuguese fans as they monitor the condition of the best player to ever wear their shirt.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been plagued with minor injury since Christmas but has managed to collect a Champions League winners' medal during the process. 

Ronaldo has missed Portugal's World Cup warm-up games against Greece and Mexico after suffering with knee and thigh complaints, per Goal.com, but he now makes a timely return before the World Cup begins, on Thursday. 

The player is due to make his 111th appearance for his country against Ireland, per Soccerway.com, and he will be a timely reminder of what Portugal have missed during their preparations.

Paulo Duarte/Associated Press

Team-mate Vieirinha was thrilled at Ronaldo's return to the national side.

The midfielder said, per BeIN Sports:

His presence on the national team, gives motivation to the other players. It is very important to us and very important to Portugal, because he is another player who will help the team.

[...]

About Cristiano Ronaldo, I think the last training answered the questions that everyone had. I think this training shows he came to help the team and all of us are happy with it.

We hope this stays in this way, without creating a lot of expectations with him being back in the team. I believe that was the best thing that could have happened in recent days.

Paulo Duarte/Associated Press

Ronaldo is one of a kind and without doubt currently the best footballer on the planet. For Portugal to start this World Cup without him would have robbed them of their talisman and disappointed the neutral observer greatly.

If Portugal are to carry themselves deep into the knockout stages they will need a fit and firing CR7 to aid them. As good as many of their squad are they have no one who can individually win a game like Ronaldo can. 

Portuguese Form Worries

David Ramos/Getty Images

In Ronaldo's absence, Paulo Bento's team has struggled with a brace of lacklustre displays under their belt.

A goalless draw against Greece was followed by a last-minute win against Mexico, leaving many Portugal supporters underwhelmed.

Bento was realistic about his team's chances at the finals in Brazil and admitted they need to improve.

He said, per Goal.com:

"It's going to be a balanced group with four strong teams so it's going to be very difficult for us. But we will fight to the end to achieve our first goal, which is to reach the knockout phase. We still have a few mistakes that we need to correct before the World Cup."

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With Pepe still missing from the heart of the defence, even with Ronaldo's return there are weaknesses still present in Bento's team.

Portugal have failed in tournament football in the past, and there is nothing here to suggest that the same might not happen again. The status of Ronaldo means that he could be a shadow of himself if he has been rushed back after a knee issue that dates back months.

Portugal will need to rely on their experienced campaigners like Nani and Helder Postiga to step up a gear if CR7 is not at his mercurial best. If this does not happen then it could be an early exit for Bento and his under-performing squad. 

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