Sporting News looks at Portugal’s potential route to 2022 in Qatar, assessing if Cristiano Ronaldo might be in with a shot of winning the World Cup in 2022. Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal are set to compete in the FIFA 2022 World Cup later this year in Qatar, which may prove to be the 37-year-old final chance at a potentially title-winning tournament at the tail-end of his career. It is apparent that Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, veteran midfielder Joao Moutinho, and 39-year-old defender Pepe all have roles, albeit not full-time ones, to play at the very least through their fifth World Cup as Portugal looks to add to their coveted trophy collection before Ronaldo and co. call their international careers over. If Portugal and Argentina both win their groups, we may well see Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi playing against each other in the final at the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

Portugal, Champions of Europe in 2016 and winners of UEFA’s inaugural Nations League three years later, were forced to play a knockout stage. There is an unclear future regarding Portugal’s World Cup ambitions in Qatar 2022. Portugal needed a victory in their 2022 World Cup qualifying playoff match to advance to 2022 in Qatar, having finished runners-up in their group behind Serbia. Portugal secured their place in this winter’s tournament with their victory in the playoff final against North Macedonia. Portugal missed out on the opportunity to book a spot in World Cup 2022, losing to Serbia 2-1 in the last game of their group, whose late Aleksandar Mitrovic goal secured the top position of Group A for their opponents. Portugal went into the qualification playoffs as heavy favourites. Still, they were very cautious about the potential of North Macedonia causing upsets, as the North Macedonian side defeated Italy 1-0 in the semifinals.

The Portuguese can win a FIFA World Cup as long as they can play like a team and replicate the motivation and drive that saw them lift the UEFA Euro 2016 title in France. While they have disappointed in recent World Cups, Argentina, bitter rivals Germany, and Spain all have the pedigree and talent to be considered perennial serious contenders. Most punters would have those three teams ahead of them, even his Portugal teammates, in their rankings of likely winners. The Manchester United forward has scored 115 goals in 186 games, making him a national hero. Portugal has been placed in Group H of the FIFA World Cup 2022, where they will compete for a spot in the round of 16 with Ghana, Uruguay, and the Korea Republic.