World Cup 2018: Portugal Team, Predicted Playing XI & Starting Lineup vs Iran
[UPDATE] Confirmed Starting Lineup for Portugal: Patricio, Soares, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro, Carvalho, Adrien Silva, Mario, Quaresma, Ronaldo, Andre Silva
The WC 2018 enters the final round of group stage games today with all teams from groups A and B playing on Monday. Group B, in particular, is still not decided with three teams in with a shout of moving to the Round of 16.
Spain and Portugal are both tied on four points each while Iran are on three points thanks to their 1-0 win over Morocco who have been eliminated. Spain play Morocco while Portugal play Iran and it is the latter game that could decide the final group standings.
Morocco are not expected to trouble the Spaniards so it will be up to Portugal to get their own result to ensure smooth progress to the Round of 16. Whether they top the group or not will depend on the other result and maybe even their disciplinary record (fair play points) if they are tied on points, goal difference, and goals scored.
Portugal Team News
The good news for Portugal is that they have all their players available for selection. Fernando Santos. What he will want is to select a cohesive team that will not lose possession as much as they did against Morocco.
"We have to look at this, we lost control of the game," Santos said before the game. "We misplaced a lot of passes, we lost confidence. It was inexplicable.
"If in a match against players like they have, if you don't have the ball, they wear you down and you get into trouble."
The other thing that will concern Santos is that nobody else has scored apart from Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese forward has led his team from the front with a hat-trick against Spain and the winner against Morocco but they need to show that they are not a one-man team.
How will Portugal line up against Iran?
With qualification to the Round of 16 on the line, the Seleção das Quinas will pick their strongest lineup and Santos will go with their usual 4-4-2 formation with Rui Patricio in goal.
Pepe and Jose Fonte are expected to partner each other at centre-back while Cedric Soares plays at right-back with Raphael Guerreiro at left-back. Guerreiro did not have a great game against Morocco but, with Iran also needing a win, he will be selected.
William Carvalho and Joao Moutinho will form the midfield partnership that is expected to take on the three-man midfield of Iran. But they will be helped by Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes drifting in from the flanks. Joao Mario could also get a look-in on the left if Santos feels he will be needed.
Up front, Cristiano Ronaldo will most likely be partnered with Goncalo Guedes. Andre Silva is also in contention to play alongside Ronaldo while the experience of Ricardo Quaresma also makes him a viable option from the bench.
Also read: Spain's Predicted XI vs Morocco
Portugal XI and Formation
Note: This article was updated with the starting lineups after they were announced.
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