Portugal vs. Northern Ireland, 2014 UEFA World Cup qualifying: Preview and TV schedule

Martin Rose - Getty Images

Portugal lost ground in Group F on Friday when they fell to Russia, but they should get back on track by claiming three points against Northern Ireland.

For the 100th time, Cristiano Ronaldo will represent Portugal on Tuesday night. It's an incredible feat for a man who is just 27 years old, but it's unlikely to mean much to him if his country isn't able to pull off a victory against Northern Ireland. Portugal are heavily favored, and need all three points to keep pace with Russia in Group F after their 1-0 loss to the Russians on Friday.

The absences of Raul Meireles and Carlos Martins from the side pushed Ruben Micael into a starting role in Friday's match, and he should keep that place due to his team's current lack of depth in the center of midfield. Fabio Coentrao picked up a knock against Russia, and was replaced 20 minutes in by Miguel Lopes. Paulo Bento brought in Nelson, a natural right back, to replace Coentrao in the squad, so Lopes should take over the starting left back spot.

Northern Ireland are respectable at goalkeeper, central defense and central midfield, but lack quality elsewhere on the pitch. They certainly have the players to frustrate Portugal and make it tough for them to make anything happen in the center of the pitch, but it's hard to see them squeaking out any result other than a lucky 0-0 draw.

Match date/time: Friday, 8:45 p.m. local, 3:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal

TV: Sportsnet One (Canada), Sky Sports 1 (U.K.), RTP Internacional (U.S. and Canada - Portuguese)

Online: ESPN3 (U.S.)

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