Portugal held by minnows Cape Verde

Portugal, May 24, 2010 (AFP) - Portugal suffered a blow to their morale ahead of next month's World Cup finals in South Africa on Monday as they were held to a 0-0 draw by minnows Cape Verde, ranked 117th in the world, in a friendly.

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) controls the ball near Cape Verde's Marco Soares (L) at Covilha Sports Complex in Covilha, central Portugal, on May 24, 2010. AFP photo

The 2006 World Cup semi-finalists star player Cristiano Ronaldo was a peripheral figure for the first hour of the match leaving the creative play to Nani and Fabio Coentrao.

However, their creativity was wasted as Liedson missed with two headers in the 17th and 26th minutes and Nani also was guilty of missing a golden opportunity when set up by a delightful backheel by Deco.

Ronaldo - whose first season at Real Madrid ended in disappointment with no trophies after his move from Manchester United - came more into the match after the hour mark and saw a fierce shot saved in the 61st minute while he also sent efforts wide in the 81st and 92nd minutes.

Ronaldo, a member of the Portuguese side that went out to France in the 2006 World Cup semi-finals, was not too unhappy with the performance.

"We are only at the beginning, it was just a warm-up match to get us into shape," said Ronaldo.

"Of course we wanted to win, but I am sure that we will be better come the World Cup.

"We will be better both physically and psychologically, and we will show that we are an excellent side," added Ronaldo, who has often been criticised for failing to reproduce his best football for his country.

Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz - who was assistant coach at Manchester United for the majority of Ronaldo's time there - was also unconcerned by such a poor performance and result.

"It was a match played at the rhythm of a training ground game, after a week of intensive training," said the Mozambique-born coach, who was criticised for the lacklustre World Cup qualifying campaign which saw the Portuguese squeeze through in the play-offs.

"The players didn't take any risks and were not aggressive but they did what I wanted them to do which was to show discipline and organisation."

The Portuguese play two more friendlies - against Cameroon here on Tuesday week and Mozambique in South Africa on June 8 - before they start their World Cup Group G campaign against Ivory Coast on June 15 before playing North Korea and favourites Brazil.

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