- Portugal arrived at Lisbon airport on Saturday morning ahead of flying out
- The squad then arrived at Zhukovsky Airport on Saturday afternoon
- Portugal face Spain in Sochi in Group B clash on Friday
Cristiano Ronaldo‘s Portugal arrived in Russia on Saturday to begin final preparations for a World Cup campaign that pits them against arch-rivals Spain. The European champions play their Iberian neighbours in the 2014 Winter Olympics host city Sochi in the opening match for both nations Friday.
Ronaldo and his compatriots received a traditional Russian welcome during a bread and salt ceremony upon arrival at their team base camp in Kratovo, a leafy village 40km southeast of Moscow.
The Real Madrid star was the last player off the team bus, escorted by police to the team’s tournament headquarters after arriving at Zhukosvky Airport, approximately 70 km far from capital city Moscow.
Earlier in Lisbon Airport, a child broke through the security barriers and dashed over to his hero. Ronaldo put his hand on the young boy’s head and then signed his shirt whilst posing for photos.
Portugal is scheduled to hold their first team session at the Saturn training centre at 1130 local time (0830 GMT) on Sunday.
Fernando Santos’s side needs to take the opener against Spain seriously, as it can be remembered that a 4-0 defeat against Germany in Brazil fours years ago, set the tone for a dismal group stage exit.
The winner on June 15 at Sochi’s Fisht Stadium will hold advantageous position to top in the Group B. The other two teams in Group B, are Morocco and Iran. The Spaniards arrived at their own base in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar on Thursday.
Portugal are ranked fourth by FIFA and won nine of their 10 European qualifying group matches. It will be the team’s seventh World Cup appearance and the 33-year-old Ronaldo’s fourth and likely last campaign.