Portugal head to the World Cup with arguably the current best player in the world, but he seems to be struggling with injury and fatigue ahead of the tournament. In addition, they have been drawn in a tricky group with Germany, the USA and Ghana. What can we expect from the West-Europeans in Brazil? Here our short team profile with all necessary stats.
World Cup history:
Their best performance at football’s biggest stage came in 1966 when the great Eusebio inspired the debutants to finish third. The Portugal legend scored nine goals but left the pitch in tears after his country was beaten by eventual champions England in the semi-final. 2014 is Portugal’s sixth World Cup appearance, but only in 2006 did they surpass the Round of 16 again and finished fourth.
2010 World Cup campaign:
In 2010, they survived the so called ‘group of death’ in second place behind Brazil after two goalless draws against Ivory Coast and Brazil as well as thrashing North Korea 7-0. However, their World Cup dreams were ended by a goal from David Villa which ensured a 1-0 defeat against eventual champions Spain in the Round of 16.
How they qualified
Portugal finished their qualification group behind Russia and had to qualify through a playoff against Sweden. Cristiano Ronaldo’s four goals ensured a 4-2 win on aggregate and left the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic frustrated.
Team captain and Portugal’s all-time record goal-scorer is definitely the leading star of the team and the whole country hopes he will recover in time. His club teammates, Pepe and Fabio Coentrao, are expected to lead the defence while the likes of Joao Moutinho and Nani are supposed to spark the offence.
Paulo Bento is leading Portugal since September 2010 when he took over from former Bafana Bafana coach, Carlos Queiroz. He led Portugal to the 2012 EURO semi-finals where they narrowly lost on penalties to eventual winners Spain. The 44-year-old played for two of the major three teams in his country and represented the Portuguese national team in one World Cup and one EURO.
Portugal’s Group G Fixtures:
Date Match Venue
16/6 Portugal v Germany Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador
22/6 Portugal v USA Arena Amazonia, Manaus
26/6 Portugal v Ghana Estadio nacional, Brasilia
How do you rate Portugal’s chances in Brazil? Have your say in the comment section below.