Can Messi face Ronaldo at the World Cup?

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi head to the next World Cup as two of the greatest players of all time.

How and when can Portugal and Argentina play each other in Qatar?

Ronaldo scored 117 goals in 191 games for Portugal and won the European Championship with his country in 2016. Messi scored 90 goals in 164 appearances for Argentina and won the Copa America last year.

Both men have been at the top of world football for most of the last 20 years, but they go to Qatar with very different results at club level.

Ronaldo was let go by Manchester United before giving an explosive interview to Piers Morgan and may never play for the Red Devils again. He then received a chilly reception from his club and national teammate Bruno Fernandes when they met for the next competition.

Messi had a difficult first season in Paris after arriving on a free from Barcelona last summer, but he has found his game this season, with 12 goals and 14 assists in the first half of the season with PSG.

Both remain among the favorites to finish top scorer in Qatar. But when will they be able to face each other?

Portugal were dropped into Group H along with Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea, while Argentina’s Group C included Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland. Uruguay are tipped to beat Portugal, while Messi’s Argentina are overwhelmingly favorites to finish top of their group.

If they both win their group, Portugal and Argentina – and therefore Ronaldo and Messi – will only be able to meet in the final on December 18 at the Lusail Iconic Stadium. The same applies if both nations finish in second place in their group.

However, if one of the two, Ronaldo or Messi, wins the group stage and the other doesn’t, then Portugal and Argentina could meet in the semi-finals.

If Argentina win Group C and Portugal are relegated to second place in Group H, and both countries win all their matches, they will meet in the first semi-final, also at the Lusail Iconic Stadium, on 13 december. If the tables were turned, they would face off in the second semi-final at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor the following day.

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