At 26, Leipzig’s Portuguese striker Andre Silva is in the form of his life. He scored a fiery brace in Leipzig’s 4-1 win in the Bundesliga over Mainz recently to add to a fine goal a month back that saw the German side beat the mighty Manchester City 2-1 in a UEFA Champions League encounter. This should fire Silva up as he looks to help Portugal step into a challenging second qualifying phase for the FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar later this year (November 18 to December 21). Having finished second in their World Cup qualifying group last year, Portugal will be part of a 12-team qualifying competition (three groups of four each with the group winners qualifying for the World Cup) in March. Italy and Portugal are in the same group which means only one of them can qualify. And Silva is confident that Portugal will make it to football’s quadrennial showpiece in the Gulf.
“We were unlucky to finish second in our group in the first qualifying competition. So now we have a second qualifying phase in March where we have two games to try to make it to the World Cup. It’s not a situation we desire, but we still have the opportunity to qualify and that’s important,” said Silva during a virtual media interaction organised by the Sony Sports Network recently.
The striker believes the fact that the Portuguese team having their backs to the wall will ensure they give it their best. “We want to achieve this World Cup goal badly and are totally focused about it. We realise that we have to give more than 100 per cent to achieve this goal. We will do everything we can to qualify and I believe we will surely qualify,” added Silva.
In the final qualifying competition which is like two semi-finals, Italy face North Macedonia and Portugal play Turkey. However, the good news for Portugal is that if they beat Turkey, they will have home advantage for their final qualifying encounter which could be against Italy.
Bundesliga is live on the Sony Sports Network.