History in the World Cup
Despite being current European Champuions, Portugal are not a nation known for their "footballing heritage". Their story starts at the 1989 FIFA U-20 World Cup, where, for the first time ever the nation of Portugal went on to experience footballing success. They would go and win the trophy again in 1991, laying the foundations of the Portugese Golden Generation. Rui Costa & Luis Figo converted in the '91 final penalty shootout and would go on to be the technical leaders of the great team.
That highly rated Portgual team qualified for their first World Cup in 2002. The tournament held in Japan & South Korea was also one to forget as losses to the United States and Korea ensured that they did not make it out their group. Most of this talented crop of players would leave the national team having disappointed at the largest stage and fallen one step short at Euro 2004. Wikipedia starts by describing what happens next as a silver lining, but let's face it, that does not do Cristiano Ronaldo justice.
Cristiano Ronaldo made a name for himself at Euro 2004 but with the Golden Generation gone, it was his time to shine. In 2006, CR7's Portugal made it out of the Groups with a 100% win ratio. This team was not as gifted as the last team but they knew how to fight. They brawled their way past Netherlands and England but Zizou's France, in the semis, were one step too far. Germany would then add insult to injury by steam-rolling them in the third place match.
Portugal would take this attitude to the next two tournaments, hoping the brilliance of Ronaldo would win them games on his own but they lost to eventual Champions Spain in 2010 and a received walloping, again, from eventual Champions Germany in 2014.
After winning Euro 2016, Portugal have played 22 games, just drawing 4 and losing 3 and finished 3rd in the FIFA Confederations Cup. They have played 9 games against fellow nations that qualified, beating Switzerland (home), Russia, Saudi Arabia & Egypt but failing to beat Chile, Mexico and Switzerland (away). Their last game was a heavy 3-0 loss to the Dutch in Geneva in late March. This is a young Portugese side and they will be looking to prove that they are not a one-man team. Ronaldo has also changed into a more predatory player and one should not expect to see too many step-overs and lung-busting runs from the legend.
Manager: Fernando Santos
Goalkeepers: Rui Patricio, Beto, Anthony Lopes
Defenders: Bruno Alves, Rolando, Luis Neto, Raphael Gurreiro, Jose Fonte, Mario Rui, Cedric Soares, Joao Cancelo
Midfielders: Joao Moutinho, Joao Mario, Bernardo Silva, Ruben Neves, William Carvalho, Andre Gomes, Manuel Fernandes, Adrien Silva, Bruno Fernandes
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Andre Silva, Goncalo Guedes, Gelson Martins, Ricardo Quaresma
Well, this section looks quite a bit obvious right now. What more is there to say about this man? 397 goals in 514 club appearance, 81 goals in 149 international games. 5 Ballon D'Ors and he's won every major competition he's ever participated in except....
FIFA : Current - 4
Highest - 3
ELO : Current - 6
Highest - 2
This article is a one amongst a series covering the teams of the 2018 World Cup. Feedback? Tweet to @SgtSaltnPeppa