Best: Third Place 1966
Group: G (vs Germany, Ghana & USA)
Coach: Paulo Bento
Portugal, along with the Netherlands have been eternal underachievers. At the last world cup they were knocked out in the round of 16 by eventual winners Spain. They are drawn in the group of death, and will have to work to advance.
Man to Watch
FIFA Balon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo will shoulder most of the burden. He’s probably one of the most complete footballers we’ve seen in recent times. He has the ability to turn a game around. His speed, precision and technique make him such a powerful player. Lets not even talk about his free kicks. Unfortunately he recently picked up an injury and is on a race to recover in time for their first game. (For a giggle, read about how a Ghanaian witch doctor claimed to have caused his injury)
Often labelled as a one man team, Portugal’s lack of strikers other than Cristiano is their biggest concern. Nani is forever getting injured and is always a doubt. Postiga is either injured or off form. Ronaldo is the only consistent striker they have, but he desperately needs someone to relieve him (and the pressure).
So can they do it?
They will find it difficult, but they’re likely to finish second in their group. In that case, a round of 16 or quarter final finish is likely.
Goalkeepers: Beto (Sevilla), Eduardo (Braga), Rui Patricio (Sporting)
Defenders: Andre Almeida (Benfica), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid), Joao Pereira (Valencia), Neto (Zenit St Petersburg), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Costa (Valencia)
Midfielders: Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Ruben Amorim (Benfica), William Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon), Rafa (Braga)
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Eder (Braga), Helder Postiga (Lazio), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Nani (Manchester United), Varela (FC Porto), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg)