LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo sat out Portugal's exhibition match against Greece on Saturday and his flair was sorely missed as the two World Cup-bound teams produced a tedious 0-0 draw.
The muted game at the National Stadium in Lisbon did little to brighten the hopes of the two European teams ahead of the tournament in Brazil that begins June 12.
The under-strength Portuguese lacked a spark that could have translated their sporadic forward moves into goals. As well as Real Madrid star Ronaldo, who is recuperating from a series of leg injuries and sore muscles, Portugal felt the absence of playmaker Joao Moutinho in midfield and Pepe in the central defense.
Greece, though initially fielding its strongest team, looked ordinary and rarely got out of first gear.
"One situation we have to be prepared for is not having our regular players available," Portugal coach Paulo Bento said. "We paid the price of our lack of effectiveness in attack."
Portugal will start the World Cup in Group G with Germany, Ghana and the United States. Greece is in Group C with Colombia, Japan and Ivory Coast.