World Cup 2018: Portugal Preview

The European Champions will look to spring another surprise this summer at the grandest stage of them all.


Reuters/MICHAEL DALDER

Portugal drew their way to glory during Euro 2016 and will hope that their defence first approach works in Russia this summer.

In 2016 Portugal drew all their group games and qualified as a third-placed side. They then drew 0-0 with Croatia before winning in extra time.

The quarter-final pitted them against Poland who they defeated on penalties before they won their first game in 90 minutes against Wales in the semi-final. 

France awaited them, and again they drew 0-0 in the 90 minutes before Eder, of all people, scored the winner. 

In Brazil four years ago Portugal failed to make it out of the group stage as they finished with four points. 

The road to Russia

Portugal amassed an impressive 27 points in their qualification but had to work all the way as Switzerland also picked up 27 points, they qualified due to a superior goal difference. 

However, the road to Russia originally began with a cloud as Portugal lost their opening game to Switzerland 2-0. 

Two straight 6-0 victories followed against Andorra and Faroe Islands before Portugal won 4-1 and 3-0 against Latvia and Hungary, respectively. 

Reuters/MURAD SEZER

Goals would continue to flow as Cristiano Ronaldo bagged four goals in two games in the return fixtures against Latvia and Faroe Islands.

Hungary and Andorra were dispatched comfortably which left Portugal three points behind group leaders Switzerland, despite winning eight in a row, heading into their pivotal game in Lisbon. 

In what was essentially a playoff game to determine who would enter the World Cup automatically, Portugal overcame Switzerland 2-0 to seal their place in Russia. 

Cristiano Ronaldo scored 15 goals for Selecção das Quinas during the qualifiers while Andre Silva netted nine. 

Starting XI

Portugal have a breadth of great forwards to choose from but lack an out and out striker. Ronaldo usually is deployed on the wings but Portugal could move him into the middle if they need a goal.

Pepe will undoubtedly be at the heart of the defence in what will more than likely be his final international tournament for the 35-year-old. 

Key player: Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo is undoubtedly the heartbeat of this Portugal team and his performances will be key if Portugal are to progress to the later stages of the competition.

Reuters/PAUL HANNA

The Real Madrid player has just three goals at the World Cup and he will surely hope that this summer will be kinder to him regarding that stat. 

Either way, Ronaldo will make Portugal a feared team in this competition.

Group stage matchup

Morocco and Iran are likely to just make up the numbers in group B as European neighbours Spain and Portugal look set to battle it out for first place. 

Portugal open up their tournament with a game against former World Cup winners Spain on June 15. 

Five days later Selecção das Quinas face off against Morocco before they wrap up their group games against Iran. 

Prediction

Portugal should qualify from their group with ease, but they could face an awkward matchup in game two if they fail to pick up any points against Spain in game one.

Realistically though Portugal should make their way into the last 16 where they will run into either Russia or Uruguay, provided there are no shocks in group A. 

Beyond Ronaldo though, this team does not seem to possess the quality across the park to challenge the likes of Brazil, Spain, Germany, and Argentina. A quarter-final place is probably the most realistic expectation Portugal can have. 

Can Portugal win the World Cup? Let us know below. 

  1. Poll: How far will Portugal go in the World Cup?

    1. Group stages
    2. Round of 16
    3. Quarter-finals
    4. Semi-finals
    5. Final
    17 votes
    Share Your Result

Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?


Connor Bromley

79

Connor Bromley is a Freelance journalist who covers the NHL and football. If there is a ball or puck being played with then he is covering it!

Also sub-editor for football.

Twitter: @ConnorBromley

0 Comments