World Cup 2018: Portugal Squad Preview, Fixtures, Where to Watch, Best Starting XI & Predictions
Portugal are a better team than what they get credit for as is evidenced by their near flawless World Cup qualifying campaign. They won 9 out of the 10 games thanks to the unrestrained Cristiano Ronaldo who racked up a staggering 15 goals from 9 games.
It would be fair to say that gaffer Fernando Santos has revitalised this Portuguese team. His record with the Seleção das Quinas in the qualifiers is near perfect and their triumph in the Euros 2016 is a testament to this fact.
So Portugal have every reason to feel optimistic about their voyage to Russia, and with this, in all probability, being Ronaldo's last shot at glory in the grandest stage of them all, Portugal will surely believe they can go all the way.
Portugal's Group Fixtures and Venues
Match 1: Portugal vs Spain, 15th June
Match 2: Portugal vs Morocco, 20th June
Match 3: Portugal vs Iran, 25th June
Also read: Top 5 Group Games to Watch at the World Cup
TV and Live Stream
TV: Sony Ten 2, Sony Ten 2 HD, Sony Ten 3, Sony Ten 3 HD
Live Stream: Sony LIV
Portugal Squad for the World Cup
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Goztepe), Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon)
Defenders: Bruno Alves (Rangers), Cedric Soares (Southampton), Jose Fonte (Dalian Yifang), Mario Rui (Napoli), Pepe (Besiktas), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Ricardo Pereira (Porto), Ruben Dias (Benfica)
Midfielders: Adrien Silva (Leicester), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting Lisbon), Joao Mario (West Ham), Joao Moutinho (AS Monaco), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv Moscow), William Carvalho (Sporting)
Forwards: Andre Silva (AC Milan), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gelson Martins (Sporting Lisbon), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas)
Key Players to Watch: Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva
Portugal Coach: Fernando Santos
Fernando Santos is arguably the best manager that Portugal have had in decades. After taking over the reins from Paulo Bento, he has ensured that the Portugal football team has gone from strength to strength.
But he has quite a meal to prepare for Russia. Accommodating the ebullient David Silva into the team is going to be tricky and it will be interesting to see how Santos goes about it. Whether he will be slotted into that far right role where he thrives at City or if he'll be used more centrally in a no.10 position remains to be seen.
Santos has the tactical nous and has a great understanding of the players under him. If he drives this Portugal team on to great things, do not be surprised.
Portugal's Preferred Formation and Portugal's Best Starting XI
Portugal's preferred formation is 4-4-2 flat. Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Silva will start up top. Goncalo Guedes has been in top form and he could very well replace Silva to partner Ronaldo. Quaresma on the right, Gelson Martins on the left and William Carvalho alongside Joao Mario in the centre. The right wing back's role will go to Cedric Soares whereas Raphael Guerreiro will take charge of the left wing.
Alternatively, Portugal could play in a 4-4-2 diamond formation. Ronaldo and either one of Guedes or Silva start up top. Bernardo Silva will play at the tip of the diamond. But the problem with this formation is that Portugal has natural wingers in Quaresma and Martins and their quality will count for nothing in a diamond midfield.
Anyway, Pepe and Fonte will cover at centre back while Rui Patricio will be the guardian of the sticks.
Portugal's History at the World Cup
Portugal have not won the World Cup despite consistently being one of the big names in the tournament. They've had at least 3 golden generations go without anything to show for all the talent they possessed.
The farthest they've gone is till the semifinals of the World Cup and that was in 2006. That team was led by Luis Figo.
Prediction: How far can Portugal go?
Portugal should go through the group stage without a hitch. Iran and Morocco are teams they could easily negotiate with. Beyond that, they could face Uruguay in the Round of 16.
And if the best teams eke out favourable results, Portugal will end up facing an irrepressible France team and that could be where the trouble starts. Euro Cup revenge will be on the cards and it will be a real test of character for the Portuguese.
Prediction: Quarter-final exit.
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