Portugal have produced a lot of quality players over the years, but victory on the international stage has long eluded them. In 2004 they hosted the European Championships and made it to the final only to have their hearts broken by an underdog Greece side. In 2006 they made the semi-final of the World Cup but lost to France, they haven’t progressed beyond the round of 16 since.
They did finally taste triumph in 2016 though, spoiling France’s party by claiming Euro 2016 victory in Paris. That win stands as the countries proudest footballing moment, but with a talented squad and one of the world’s best players, can you take over and improve on it? RealSport has everything you need to know about how to run the Portugal national side and lead them to glory.
Expectations & Philosophies
Due to there being no scheduled competition ahead of you or even a qualifying group there are no explicit expectations. The board do not care about the newly minted European International League competition that is replacing a lot of friendly games in your calendar. However, once the Euro 2020 qualifying groups are drawn you will be expected to breeze through the group and secure a spot in the tournament with ease. Once you reach 2020 you can be assured that the board will expect a strong showing from Portugal, with at least a quarter-final appearance, if not more, required to keep your job.
There are also no philosophies for you to follow with Portugal. This allows you to assess the squads strengths and weaknesses for yourself and determine how best they should play. You won’t be chastised by the board if you opt to play defensively or chase goals without a care for defence so long as the results are good.
Football Manager 19 gives you a wealth of tactical templates to start your team with. These not only provide you with a style of play but with tempo, overlap orders and even your level of aggression in the tackle. So what tactical style should you utilise with Portugal? Well, they have the midfield talent to keep the ball away from most teams, but the squad lacks the brilliance at centre back to cope without protection from the midfield. Meanwhile the fullbacks and creative central midfielders are the strength of the side. This suggests that a control possession tactical style would suit for most games, while a fluid counter-attack may well be a wise move against some of the stronger sides you are likely to come up against in the latter stages of a tournament.
With a control possession tactic selected you can pack the midfield a 4-2-3-1 formation and dominate the ball while still having some defensive-minded midfielders to help screen the centre backs.
In goal is Rui Patricio. The back four is made up of Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Paulo Oliveira, and Raphael Guerreiro. The central midfield two is comprised of Danilo Pereira and Ruben Neves. The attacking midfield trio is Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, and Goncalo Guedes behind the sole striker Cristiano Ronaldo.
This formation is what you should be running for the majority of the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign when you are going to be the best side in your group. However, when coming up against France or Spain you should be less forward thinking. A fluid counter-attack tactic with a 5-2-1-2 WB formation would suit well. This adds a third centre back and a second striker at the expense of your wide midfielders. It puts the width burden on your wing backs and allows Bernardo Silva and Cristiano Ronaldo to link up more.
Portugal have a lot of talent in their squad, but who are the stars you can rely on when you first take the hot seat?
Cristiano Ronaldo - CA 5 star (195), PA 5 star (196)
Arguably the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo has been a force for years now. He came to prominence with Manchester United where he won three Premier League titles and a Champions League title before making a then-record £80 million move to Real Madrid in 2009. At Madrid Ronaldo was a world-beater, helping the team win two La Liga titles along with four Champions League trophies.
In FM19 Ronaldo is a brilliant talent. With 20 determination, 19 finishing, and 19 natural fitness he is deadly in front of goal and can create for other players too. His 195 CA makes him one of the best players in FM19 and even though he is 33 he should still be an impressive player for a few years yet.
Bernardo Silva - CA 4 star (166), PA 4.5 star (170)
Ronaldo is Portugal’s current superstar, but Bernardo Silva is the face of their future. He is 23 when you take over in FM19, and already a dominant creative force in the Premier League. Silva started his career at Benfica before making a €16 million move to Monaco in 2015. There he displayed his ability to take over games at a higher level, winning a Ligue 1 title before moving to Manchester City in 2017 for £44 million.
In FM19 Bernardo has a deep creative streak. His 166 CA is near a his potential peak of 170, and when on the ball he is a powerful force. With 18 work rate, 17 first touch, and 16 passing he can move the ball well and will run all day in the middle of the park. Comfortable on the right wing, he can drive past defenders with his 17 dribbling and deliver deadly balls into the box.
Joao Cancelo - CA 3.5 star (158), PA 4 star (170)
The 24-year-old right back has moved a lot in his young career. He came up through the Benfica youth team but received just a handful of first-team appearances before moving on to Valencia. He then had a stop with Inter Milan before arriving at Juventus in June 2018 for a fee of €40 million.
In FM19 Cancelo is a natural right back with amazing attacking instincts. His 15 dribbling, 15 crossing, and 14 passing mean getting him forward is a good move. Cancelo isn’t amazing defensively, but he can run all day and his 158 CA still has room to grow thanks to a 170 PA. With 15 off the ball and 17 acceleration Cancelo is someone you should lean on for a while.
Ronaldo is beginning to age out of international football and other parts of the squad are in need of a fresh face or two. Which young players could be in your squad for Euro 2020 or World Cup 2022?
Gedson Fernandes - CA 2.5 star (135), PA 5 star (150-180)
Portugal’s central midfield will soon have space for another player as Joao Moutinho is now 31. One likely candidate to enter the squad is Benfica teenager Gedson Fernandes.
Fernandes has risen through the Portugal youth levels at a rapid rate and is seeing first-team action with Benfica. He seems set for a move to a big European league soon and with that will come further development. His PA range of 150-180 makes him a potential leading star for Portugal so be ready to get him in your squad soon.
Diogo Dalot - CA 2.5 star (130), PA 4.5 star (150-180)
While Joao Cancelo doesn’t look to be going anywhere, you need more than one right back in your squad. Diogo Dalot seems like the next impressive full back for Portugal, and is able to play on the left side as well as the right. Dalot started his career with Porto but moved to Manchester United in June 2018 for £19 million. He has received quite a few appearances for United already in his young career.
In FM19 Dalot is already a solid player with 15 acceleration, 14 crossing, and 14 technique, and his PA range of 150-180 indicates he will improve dramatically over the next few seasons. Come World Cup 2022 he could well be a leading player for you.
Florentino Luis - CA 2 star (121), PA 4.5 star (140-170)
Another Benfica product, Florentino Luis is a defensive midfielder with star potential. The Portugal squad is full of creative midfielders like Joao Mario, Bernardo Silva, and Joao Felix, but they are light on the defensive side of things, opening the door for Luis to get caps almost immediately.
In FM19 the Benfica teenager already has solid defensive skills with 13 tackling, 15 work rate, and 14 positioning. His PA range of 140-170 makes him a strong candidate for a spot in the squad come World Cup 2022.
|Joao Cancelo||D (R) WB (R) M (R) AM (R)||24||Juventus||158/170||£49.5m|
|Nelson Semedo||D (R) WB (R)||24||Barcelona||149/164||£13m|
|Ruben Dias||D (C)||21||SLB||146/166||£17m|
|Paulo Oliveira||D (C)||26||Elbar||137/149||£5.75m|
|Ruben Vezo||D (RC)||24||Valencia||136/145||£4.9m|
|Jose Fonte||D (C)||34||LOSC||139/146||£950k|
|Raphael Guerreiro||D (L) WB (L) M (L) AM (L)||24||Borussia Dortmund||148/163||£14.75m|
|Mario Rui||D (L) WB (L) M (L)||27||Napoli||143/146||£13.5m|
|William Carvalho||DM||26||Real Hispalis||150/160||£15.25m|
|Danilo Pereira||DM M (C)||26||FCP||150/157||£21.5m|
|Ruben Neves||DM M (C)||21||Wolves||148/170||£29m|
|Joao Felix||M (C) AM (RLC) ST (C)||18||SLB||135/175||£8.5m|
|Bernardo Silva||M (RC) AM (RC)||23||Man City||166/170||£52m|
|Bruno Fernandes||M (C) AM (C)||23||Sporting||153/154||£24m|
|Joao Mario||M (RC) AM (C)||25||Inter||143/160||£15m|
|Goncalo Guedes||M (RL) AM (RL) ST (C)||21||Valencia||149/171||£15.25m|
|Diogo Jota||AM (LC) ST (C)||21||Wolves||144/164||£25m|
|Gelson Martins||AM (RL)||23||Monaco||151/170||£19.5m|
|Andre Silva||ST (C)||22||Milan||141/158||£10.75m|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||AM (RL) ST (C)||33||Juventus||195/196||£68m|
Break the duck
Portugal are perhaps the most established international side without a World Cup. The other European powers have at least one, but despite the talent they have been able to field Portugal are yet to claim their first. It is unlikely that Cristiano Ronaldo is still playing in 2022, which will make the job of breaking their duck even harder. There are a lot of talented youngsters coming up through the ranks in Portugal but they don't have the quality of Ronaldo. However it isn't all doom and gloom. Portugal's depth of squad and ability to be tactically malleable makes them a dangerous proposition in any tournament.