They’ve hovered continuously in the top 10 of the FIFA Rankings, they’ve constantly managed to keep a “big team” status tagged to them, they’ve always entered almost every other tournament of late as contenders, yet somehow they’ve failed to achieve any glory in the FIFA World Cup. Yes, that is Portugal, the Cristiano Ronaldo-led side that we’ve analysed in this post. If FIFA Rankings are anything to go by, 4th ranked Portugal are bound to be in the Semi-finals at least, if not the champions. However, that can only be ascertained when the teams take to the field in Russia from June 14th. However, an in-depth analysis is also not a bad option to know where exactly do they stand in the race for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Portugal World Cup Analysis
This in-depth analysis talks about Portugal’s strength, weaknesses, key players, recent form, and everything else needed to give you a brief idea of what is to be expected from the big names in Russia.
Portugal’s strength lies in their front line. An attack that has Cristiano Ronaldo in its ranks is good enough to leave any defence in shatters. What makes it better for Portugal is the fact that the likes of Ricardo Quaresma and Andre Silva have come right as the second fiddle to their captain. Stopping that attack won’t be an easy task for any defence in the World Cup. They’ve got a young defence which will play a crucial role in their counter-attacks. Their EURO success will also be a key factor when in crunch situations during the tournament. To sum it up, Cristiano Ronaldo, their young defence, and confidence of turning things around will serve as strengths for Portugal in Russia.
First things first, Portugal enter the tournament with one of the weakest benches. An injury to any of their first choice players will leave Fernando Santos in a spot of bother. Also, Portugal looks an entirely different side without Cristiano Ronaldo that emphasises the fact that they’re over-dependent on their captain. Their other key players will have to step up and display some character to ensure they remain in the hunt. In one line, the sidekicks who’ll be playing around the key men will be the weakness for Portugal and their slipups could prove to be costly for them in Russia.
When you name Portugal, you’re bound to start with the captain, Cristiano Ronaldo. The beast will have a large share of Portugal’s fortune pinned on his shoulders as he will play the role of finisher to all their good moves. Apart from him, the young Andre Silva will have a key role to play as well in the attack. In the midfield, it will be Adrien Silva, William Carvalho, and Bernardo Silva holding the side together. Back in the defence lineup, an aged Pepe will have to be at his best to give his match a chance. He will undoubtedly be the telling individual for Portugal in all of their games.
FIFA World Cup Record
The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will be Portugal’s seventh appearance, fifth consecutive since missing out in 1998. They have had an astonishing run of form ever since Cristiano Ronaldo debuted for them. Their new finish, however, dates back to 1966, when they finished third in England. They came close to their best finish in Germany during the 2006 World Cup but missed out as they finished fourth behind Germany, France, and Champions Italy. Cristiano Ronaldo has scored only three goals for Portugal in the FIFA World Cup significant, and it will most probably be his last chance to better that this time around.
FIFA World Cup Qualification and Recent Form
Portugal were pitted in Group B of the UEFA Qualifiers alongside Switzerland, Andorra, Latvia, Hungary, and three are Islands. They managed to finish on top of their group with 27 points and owing to their better GD than the second best side, Switzerland. Their only defeat of the campaign came against Switzerland on 6 September 2016. Talking about their recent form, Portugal have managed to account for six wins, three draws, and a defeat in their last ten games. The loss came at the hands of the Netherlands, who surprisingly thrashed them 3-0. Their last game ended in a 0-0 draw against Belgium. They’ll be playing one more friendly against Algeria before kicking off their campaign against Spain.
Portugal World Cup Schedule
After naming their final 23-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Portugal now gears up for their final friendly game against Algeria on 7th June at Lisbon. They’ve found themselves clubbed alongside Spain, Iran, and Morocco in Group B. They’ll leave for Russia soon after that and will play their first game against Spain on 15th June at the Fisht Olympic Stadium. Their second game will be on 20th June against Morocco at the Luzhniki Stadium. Their group stages will come to an end against Iran on 25th June at the Mordovia Arena.
With a bunch of major teams missing out of qualification, the 2018 FIFA World Cup is expected to be full of surprises with the small teams ready to make a big impact. Portugal has a fairly easier group with Morocco and Iran being their other challengers apart from Spain. Even if they fail to get the better of Spain, they’ll easily finish ahead of Iran and Morocco. In the Round Of 16, they’re most likely expected to play either of Uruguay, Russia, or Egypt, which will make them the better side to enter the quarters. That is where the there campaign is expected to end for us. Considering their possible fixtures, Cristiano Ronaldo and his men are expected to finish somewhere between the 5th and 8th positions.