Portugal boss Fernando Santos defended his experienced side after thrashing Luxembourg 5-0 in their World Cup qualifier thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick.
’s hat-trick helped
gain a 5-0 victory over
at the Estadio Algarve on Tuesday night.
The victory ensures Portugal remain a point behind group leaders
, who moved onto 17 points with a 3-1 home win over
Speaking after the game, Santos' focus was on the age of his team as he dismissed claims that his men will fail him again, having exited both the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020 at the last-16 stage.
I hear a lot about it [the age of the squad], I even understand, but more changes than what we have been done over the past six years are difficult,
told reporters during his post-match his news conference, with set to be 37 heading into next year's World Cup.
"Just look at who was at the World [Cup], the European Championship and who is playing now. There are no age restrictions, it doesn't even make sense.
"Players do not have to stop playing for the national team because they are of more or less age, quality is what counts.
"Fortunately, we have a lot of 30-year-old or 31-year-old players able to get here and play and the players have shown that [quality]."
In November, Santos's side travel to Ireland before then hosting Serbia in a decisive match to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
"We managed to restrain the opponent and take advantage of every situation to transform them into goalscoring opportunities,"
after the game.
"We did very well until the 25th minute, with how we played and what we had seen from Luxembourg.
"After that we also did well, but we started to want to do everything in a hurry, in one touch, two touches, and we even allowed Luxembourg to get ahead.
"The last game will be decisive, whatever happens in the next round, neither team will be out, although I believe we will win [against the Republic of Ireland] – it will be decisive."
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