Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring against MoroccoMaddie Meyer/Getty Images

Portugal will bank on Cristiano Ronaldo one more time when they face off against Iran in their final Group B game of the Fifa World Cup 2018.

The European champions have picked up a draw and a win in their first two matches of Group B, and they will have their sights on another three points in Saransk on Monday.

Portugal will know they will be up against an Iran side who have defended for their lives in this Fifa World Cup 2018. That defence has earned them three points against Morocco and only a narrow 1-0 defeat to Spain.

Considering how well marshalled Carlos Queiroz's side have been in this Fifa World Cup 2018, Portugal just might need their skipper to step up and score for a third straight match.

Ronaldo began his fourth World Cup with a brilliant hat-trick against Spain, with that third goal still one of the best in the tournament so far, before netting the winner against Morocco, a goal which has put Portugal in control going into their final Group B match.

What is a bit worrying however is that no other Portugal player has scored in this Fifa World Cup. All four of Portugal's goals have come from Ronaldo, so Iran will feel if they can keep the Real Madrid superstar quiet, they might be able to nick something from this game.

While Iran could still progress with a draw, they really need a win to have a realistic chance of qualifying for the last 16, so maybe, just maybe, we might see a more attacking Iran side in this match.

Iran World Cup Queiroz
Iran will look for that team spirit against to down PortugalJack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Queiroz, being Portuguese and having managed the Portugal national team in the past, knows all about their opponents, and he will look to take advantage of that as he tries to mastermind a big upset.

Team news:


Joao Moutinho missed a few days of training due to illness, so it remains to be seen if the midfielder will be fit enough to start this match against Iran. If Fernando Santos believes taking a risk on Moutinho is not prudent, then the manager might bring Joao Mario to the centre to play alongside William Carvalho, with Bruno Fernandes or Gelson Martins coming in to play in the wide position. The experience of Ricardo Quaresma is also an option for Santos.

Raphael Guerreiro is another player who has been struggling with a slight injury, but the left-back is expected to be ready to feature on Monday against Iran.

Cristiano Ronaldo has had Goncalo Guedes as his partner for the first two matches, but considering this will be a match where Portugal will have to break down a deep defence, bringing in Andre Silva, a more physical presence, might not be a bad idea. Santos, though, will be tempted to stick with the same front two.


Ehsan Hajsafi had to be taken off in Iran's last match with a hamstring problem. It remains to be seen if the Olympiakos defender will recover in time to play Portugal. Milad Mohammadi or Akhmat Grozny, who plays his club football in Russia, are potential replacements if Hajsafi isn't passed fit.

Confirmed starting XI:

Portugal: Rui Patricio; Cedric Soares, Pepe, Jose Fonte, Raphael Guerreiro; Ricardo Quaresma, William Carvalho, Adrien Silva, Joao Mario; Andre Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Iran: Ali Beiranvand; Ramin Rezaeian, Majid Hosseini, Morteza Pouraliganji, Ehsan Hajsafi; Omid Ebrahimi, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Mehdi Taremi, Saeid Ezatolahi, Vahid Amiri; Sardar Azmoun.