Josh Cullen: Republic of Ireland midfielder determined to stop Cristiano Ronaldo for a full game

Cristiano Ronaldo scored two late headers to snatch victory when the teams met in September

Cullen and his team-mates came within minutes of one of the most famous results in their history in September when they led Ronaldo’s Portugal 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier in Faro.

Speaking as the Republic launched their preparations for Thursday evening’s return in Dublin, live on Sky Sports, Anderlecht midfielder Cullen said: “He’s probably one of, if not the only, player in world football that could have scored those two goals. We know what a special player he is.

“Yes, we managed to do it for 89 minutes, but we would have much preferred to have done it for 95 or whatever it was in the end, and that’s what we’ll be looking to do on Thursday night.

“We can take a lot of encouragement from the performance we put in out there and we’ll be looking to do a similar job on Thursday night, but turn a good performance into a good result as well.”

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying match at Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Picture date: Tuesday September 7, 2021.

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