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Portugal defender Pepe out of World Cup play-off with Covid

Veteran defender Pepe will miss Portugal’s World Cup play-off semi-final against Turkey after testing positive for Covid-19, the Portuguese football federation announced on Monday.

Coach Fernando Santos called up Lille centre-back Tiago Djalo, 21, to replace the 39-year-old Porto player, with the 2016 European champions also without injured Manchester City defender Ruben Dias.

Portugal play Turkey on Thursday in Porto and if they win next play either Italy or North Macedonia.

Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates joined the national side’s training camp at Oeiras, near Lisbon on Monday.

Portugal last failed to qualify for the World Cup in 1998, playing in each of the last five editions.

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