Russia presents a familiar territory for the Portuguese as they look forward to conquering over their fellow group members, especially the 2010 champions, Spain.
Apparently, the victory of Portugal in Russia may not be a shock to the world fans because winning the UEFA European Championship in 2016 already fascinated the Universe.
Having won the UEFA EURO 2016, Portugal qualified to compete in the 2017 Confederations Cup also held in Russia. They defeated Mexico in the play-off to clinch the third place in the tournament.
Portugal’s qualifying matches were characterized by easy victories in 9 out of 10 fixtures. The most interesting encounter in the qualifying campaign was the 2-0 triumph over the Swiss in Lisbon which saw the team top of the group and secure their place in Russia.
Fernando Santos’ squad for Russia is packed with talent, skills, and experience. The following are some key players making the team.
The main face of the team, Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, is definitely going to be in Russia. Having scored 15 goals in the qualifiers, he happens to be the team’s best scorer. Ronaldo will be wearing the Captain’s armband for the squad at Russia.
AC Milan’s Andre Silva who displayed his skills after netting 9 goals in the qualifiers and working extremely efficiently with Ronaldo is in the squad. Coach Santos calls the combination of these two players a lethal partnership!
Other key players in the team are Man City’s Bernardo Silva, the new West Ham midfielder Joao Mario and seasoned campaigner Joao Moutinho playing his trade with Monaco in the French Ligue 1.
The History of Portugal at the World Cup
The Portuguese have made 6 appearances in the World Cup and they managed to get to the semi-finals twice – 1966 and then 40 years later in 2006.
Portugal’s run in the 2014 Rio edition was a forgettable one as they crashed out of the group stage managing a lone win against Ghana 2-1 in their last group stage fixture.
It is worth acknowledging that Portugal may repeat the UEFA EURO stuns in this year’s World Cup. They will start their campaign against Iberian rivals Spain on 15th June at the Fisht Olympic Stadium. This is a match that will determine which of these neighboring European heavyweights will top Group B. Consequently, this should not be a matchup that any fan will want to miss! Having said that, let us not forget that both Morocco and Iran will definitely have a say in the fate of Portugal and Spain.
I think a quarter final qualification is very much on the cards for Portugal this term. They must at least secure the second spot in Group B and then go as favorites against second placed team from Group A in the round of 16.