Portugal surprised us all by taking home the European Championship trophy in 2016. Two years on, the team is stronger, and they will be eying to cause another upset. Cristiano Ronaldo shows no sign of letting up, but at the age of 33 this is likely to be the last time we see him on the world stage. Can Portugal win a first World Cup for their favourite son?
Russia 2018 brings a World Cup update to FIFA 18, and if you're looking for an underdog holding plenty of firepower, then Portugal are a fantastic choice. A sticky group provides a great challenge, and there is no question that winning the World Cup would be a lot more difficult than their Euros success in 2016.
Portugal have a 5 star rating on the World Cup update. This consists of an 88 attack, 83 midfield and 82 defence.
Portugal’s potential World Cup fixtures
Round of 16
Uruguay or Russia
France or Argentina
It’s not a terrible Group Stage draw for Portugal, but that opening tie against neighbours Spain will probably decide who goes on to top Group B. Despite being European champions, Portugal will be the underdogs, but they showed at Euro 2016 they can be a stubborn opponent.
If they do taste defeat, the Portuguese will need to bounce back quickly for the much kinder ties of Morocco and Iran, and Cristiano Ronaldo will be licking his lips facing those defences.
If they do finish second behind Spain, Portugal will face the winners of Group A, likely to be Uruguay. The sides match up well, but Portugal should just have the edge. A win there takes them in to the quarters where you will probably meet France in a repeat of the Euro 2016 final. France have a young team, but are dangerous with their pace, which could allow you to sit deep and hit them on the counter-attack.
Brazil or Belgium should await in the semifinal. The Brazilians are a different animal to four years ago, but if you do get the kinder tie of Belgium, their lack of experience against the bigger nations could work in your favour.
Defending champions and favourites Germany are expected to reach the final, and you struggle to see how Portugal could hurt them, even with Cristiano Ronaldo. It may just take a stroke of luck or a moment of genius from CR7 to claim World Cup gold.
Portugal have used a 4-4-2 formation under coach Fernando Santos, but with strength and depth in midfield, we have switched to a 4-2-3-1 wide.
Rui Patricio takes the goalkeeper’s jersey, with Nelson Semedo, Jose Fonte, defensive wall Pepe (88 standing tackle) and Raphael Guerreiro in the back four.
Adrien Silva partners William Carvalho in defensive midfield as Joao Moutinho moves up into the number 10 role. The crafty Bernardo Silva (88 agility) lines up on the right side, with Joao Mario on the left and, of course, none other than the unbelievable Cristiano Ronaldo (94 finishing) up front.
On the bench select Anthony Lopes, Luis Neto, Cedric, Danilo Pereira, Andre Gomes, Ricardo Quaresma and Andre Silva.
It may be obvious, but the clear gameplan will be to utilise all of Cristiano Ronaldo’s ability. Perhaps playing him up front on his own isn’t the ideal system, but he has all the attributes to perform the role. Get the ball wide to use his aerial ability (95 jumping) and if he does drop into pockets of space, don’t be frightened to shoot from range (92 long shots).
It is key that you give the Real Madrid star plenty of service, and as both your wide players like to cut inside onto their stronger foot, it's down to your full backs to get balls into the box. On the instructions tab, make sure Nelson Semedo and Raphael Guerreiro have ‘always overlap’ on attacking runs.
This won’t be the case against Spain, but when you face Morocco and Iran in the Group Stage, you will have a whole load of possession. The opposition will defend deep and it's important you get bodies forward, especially with Ronaldo up front on his own. Slide into an attacking mentality on the D-pad to increase your chances of breaking your opponent down.
Shock the world… again
The Euros was one thing, but surely Portugal couldn’t do the same at the World Cup this summer? Although their attacking options have improved with the emergence of Bernardo Silva and Andre Silva, the ageing defence could be an issue. However, playing against the bigger teams could suit Portugal in Russia.
It may not be exciting but sitting back and then hitting your opponents on the counter attack through Ronaldo and perhaps Ricardo Quaresma off the bench gives the Portuguese a clear playing style. You may need to be a tactical master but winning the World Cup with Portugal on FIFA 18 is not out of the question.
Portugal squad player ratings
|Jose Carlos Marafona||31||GK||Braga||77|
|Jose Fonte||34||CB||Dalian Yifang||82|
|Raphael Guerreiro||24||LB||Borussia Dortmund||80|
|Ricardo Pereira||24||RB RM||Leicester||80|
|Joao Cancelo||23||RB||Inter Milan||79|
|Bernardo Silva||23||RM||Manchester City||84|
|William Carvalho||26||CDM CM||Sporting||84|
|Adrien Silva||29||CM CDM||Leicester||84|
|Joao Mario||25||LM CM RM||West Ham||84|
|Joao Moutinho||31||CM CDM CAM||Monaco||84|
|Ricardo Quaresma||34||RM LM||Besiktas||83|
|Danilo Pereira||26||CDM CB||Porto||83|
|Andre Gomes||24||CM LM RM||Barcelona||82|
|Gelson Martins||23||RM LM||Sporting||81|
|Manuel Fernandes||32||CAM CM||Lokomotiv Moscow||81|
|Bruma||23||LM RM CAM||RB Leipzig||80|
|Goncalo Guedes||21||LM ST RM||Valencia||78|
|Rafa Silva||25||LM RM||Benfica||77|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||33||ST LM||Real Madrid||95|
|Andre Silva||22||ST||AC Milan||82|