Defeat to Portugal in their second Group B clash at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday would see them knocked out of the tournament no matter what the result is between Spain and Iran later in the day.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos opted to pair Goncalo Guedes with Ronaldo from kick-off in the thrilling 3-3 draw with Spain in Sochi, where the captain of the Euro 2016 winners netted a stunning 88th-minute free-kick to deny one of the favourites, who were reeling from the shock sacking of coach Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament. His younger brother, Sofyan Amrabat could be the player to replace him in the team. Jose Fonte and Pepe still have it in them, but there could be doubts whether their ageing legs can handle the pressure of an entire tournament.
"We thought about what we did in the first game against Spain and we tried to rectify in training what we did not do so well, but there is no magic solution. Portugal have the capacity to do better than we played against Spain and I hope we can correct our mistakes".
"We will respect them".
The Portugal centre-back Pepe was also toeing the party line, saying that they had to prepare for this game as they had done the encounter against Spain. "We always try to work together and in combination".
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"We have to impose our qualities and give our best".
After an injury-time own goal against Iran, Morocco will have to pick themselves up and rally in time for the game, and Herve Renard's side can still draw some positives from the defeat. Renard said he was still smarting from the disappointment but said that the players alone were not to blame. "A coach who loses is never right", he said. "I share some responsibility in talking about the choices I've made".
At an age when most players are winding down, Ronaldo is flourishing, defying his advancing years by becoming even more prolific as he gets older.
"We have to do our utmost to make him less exceptional".
"We lost a battle but we haven't lost the war. We will step onto the pitch with this spirit".