Portugal is one of the favorites for the World Cup title and the current holder of the European Championship title. The situation cannot be any different when the captain of this team is called Cristiano Ronaldo. One of the best players in the history of the football will try to win the only title that is not part of his glorious career. The first teams that will try to stop him are Spain, Morocco and Iran that are going to compete with Portugal in Group B of the tournament. This will be the 7th time in which Portugal will play at the World Cup tournament. So far the biggest success of the Europeans had been the third place since 1966. Surely Ronaldo and company are dreaming of something more…
HEAD COACH AND LINEUP
The head coach of Portugal at the World Cup will be the head coaching legend, Fernando Santos. Santos won the title at the UEFA Euro 2016 in an amazing final against France. Now Santos and his player will try to accomplish something greater. Everything will depend on the performance of the other players next to Ronaldo. He is one of the best, if not the best but this does not mean that he can win the title alone.
All Portuguese goalkeepers are on the top level, playing for good European teams but the favorite of Fernando Santos is the goalie of Sporting Lisboa – Rui Patricio. Patricio is a stable goalkeeper that does not risk and provides stable performances for his club team on weekly basis. Portugal normally spends most of the time attacking and for this reason Patricio must stay on alert in all 90 minutes of the games in case of surprise attacks from the opponents of Portugal.
On defense, Portugal has a variety of options both for the full backs and for the central defenders. Although, we must mention the name of Raphael Guerreiro. The full-back of Borussia Dortmund had a wonderful UEFA Euro 2016 tournament and his performance on the wing should be vital for the Europeans.
Most of the Portuguese midfielders are attack-minded, but this does not mean that the team does not need defensive midfielders. The best defensive midfielder in the squad is William Carvalho. He is the key player in this line and he must stop the attacks of the opponents of Portugal. Without his ability to win tackles, Portugal will have a hard time against the other teams at the World Cup.
On offense, we cannot mention any other name than Cristiano Ronaldo. He does not need an introduction and an explanation of his abilities. We can only mention that Ronaldo had played 149 games for Portugal and had scored 81 goals during these games. He is a great leader and every coach dreams of having him in his squad. Can he bring the World Cup title to Portugal?
STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES
The strength of Portugal is the fact that the team is full of quick and skillful players. Almost all of the fullbacks, the midfielders, the wingers and the strikers of Portugal can take players 1 on 1. This will be extremely important in even games that are expected to happen during the World Cup. On top of that, the team has Cristiano Ronaldo, who can decide a single game with a single moment of football miracle. Unfortunately, there are some weaknesses in the Portuguese squad. The team has problems on defense. There are no clear defenders that can be counted as starters. In almost any game the starting defensive line of Portugal consists’ different players and this will be a problem for the Europeans. They surely can score goals, but can they keep a clean sheet? We will find the answer soon, but judging from the last few friendly games of Portugal (vs. Egypt 2-1 & vs. Netherlands 0-3) we cannot say good words about the defensive performance of the team.
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Portugal starts the World Cup tournament with a mega derby against their neighbors Spain on June 15th. This game will pretty much decide the winner of the group since the other two teams are way more limited compared to Spain and Portugal. After that, on June 20th Portugal will face Morocco and will finish the group stage battles on June 25th in a game against Iran. Everyone not only in Portugal but in the whole world expects a top-two finish for the Portuguese national football team. We cannot imagine the surprise and the effect that a potential elimination can do to the fans of Portugal. For this reason, we also must note that in the potential Round of 16 games, Portugal could face someone like Uruguay, Russia or Egypt. All these teams are either on the level of Portugal or are worst. This is why; we must expect to see Portugal in the later stages of the World Cup in Russia.