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Queiroz to risk Ronaldo in clash with Samba boys

Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz doesn't think he can afford to leave Cristiano Ronaldo out of the starting line-up for today's World Cup group match against Brazil, despite the threat of suspension facing his star player.

"I can't consider the bookings that have been made, but only the technical aspects of my team and those of the Brazilians," Queiroz said.

"Portugal's priority is to qualify -- that's the main thing ... We'll play to win, but we at least want to get a point."

Queiroz warned Brazil could "tear us apart" if his team's defensive game slips.

Brazil have already qualified for the round of 16 with two wins, while Portugal have four points and can only miss out on the next stage if they lose and Ivory Coast thrash North Korea.

Queiroz was highly critical of Ronaldo's booking during Portugal's opening 0-0 draw against Ivory Coast. He argued that refereeing errors are hurting the quality of games at the World Cup.

"About Cristiano's yellow card, what can I say? He was fouled and was shown a yellow card," Queiroz said. "The referees must be more effective. There should be conditions so that mistakes are corrected -- that will ensure that players play the beautiful game." Another problem is the pitch.

"If the pitch is not up to scratch that's bad for both teams, because Portugal play with smooth passes," Queiroz said. "But you can't cry about problems ... Players have to make up for this."

Brazil's main vulnerability, he said, would be the absence of Kaka, who will be serving out a suspension after he was sent off in late in Brazil's 3-1 win over Ivory Coast on Sunday.

"Kaka is part of the golden trio along with Robinho and Luis Fabiano," Queiroz said. "So what's important is who replaces him."

Brazil coach Dunga joined Queiroz in blasting referee errors, and complained about the two yellow cards shown to Kaka.

"The first yellow that Kaka got came after he had been fouled. And in the second situation, a player went up to Kaka. Kaka did not provoke him," Dunga said. "In no way did Kaka lose his cool at any time, even though the Brazilians were repeatedly fouled."

Brazil midfielder Elano, who scored in their first two World Cup group games, will miss today's match, Dunga said. Dani Alves, who plays right-back for Barcelona but often steps into midfield for Brazil, is likely to replace him.

BRAZIL v PORTUGAL, LIVE RTé2 & BBC1 (KO 3.0)


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