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2022 World Cup: Country profile – Portugal

Factfile on Portugal who are in World Cup Group H:

Best World Cup performance: Third place in 1966.

Other honours: European Championship winners in 2016; UEFA Nations League winners in 2019.

FIFA ranking: 9.

Main clubs: Benfica, Porto, Sporting.

How they qualified: Finished second in European qualifying Group A behind Serbia, and then beat Turkey and North Macedonia in the play-offs.

Coach: Fernando Santos, 68, succeeded Paulo Bento as Portugal coach in 2014. He turned a team that had disappointed at the 2014 World Cup into European champions in 2016. Also won the Nations League in 2019 but they went out of the last World Cup and Euro 2020 in the last 16. A qualified engineer, Santos is sometimes derided for not being bold enough with a team full of attacking talent. Spent most of his playing career at modest Estoril. As a coach he won a league title at Porto and worked at Sporting but he also managed several clubs in Greece before four years with the Greek national team. He led them to the knockout stages of Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup.

Graphic: https://www.sofascore.com/

Key player: Cristiano Ronaldo is the all-time leading goalscorer in international football with 117 goals in a record 191 caps for his country. He has enjoyed a magnificent career but he is now 37 and has endured a difficult start to the season at Manchester United. A five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Ronaldo made his Portugal debut in 2003 at the age of 18 and is now set to play at his 10th major international tournament. However, in many ways he is the key player because some wonder if his presence might hold back the many other outstanding — and far younger — talents in the Portugal squad.

Graphic: https://www.sofascore.com/

Expectations and key players according to Pedro Ponte, Canal 11:

Expectations:

“So, Portuguese fans expect no less than reach at least the quarter finals. Any other result lower than that will be really tough to absorb. Recently we lost against Spain when we jus needed a draw to reach the Nations League final four… So Portuguese fans really need good results in Qatar.”

Key players:

“Regarding key players, I could point you Cristiano Ronaldo but of course now is the rest of the team that plays for him. I really believe that João Cancelo, Bernardo Silva and Rafael Leão can be key players for Portugal’s strategy.”

Group fixtures

November 24: Portugal v Ghana.

November 28: Portugal v Uruguay.

December 2: South Korea v Portugal.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Diogo Costa (Porto), Rui Patricio (Roma/ITA), Jose Sa (Wolverhampton/ENG).

Defenders: Diogo Dalot (Manchester United/ENG), Joao Cancelo (Manchester City/ENG), Danilo Pereira (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Pepe (Porto), Ruben Dias (Manchester City/ENG), Antonio Silva (Benfica), Nuno Mendes (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund/GER).

Midfielders: Ruben Neves (Wolverhampton/ENG), Joao Palhinha (Fulham/ENG), William Carvalho (Real Betis/ESP), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United/ENG), Vitinha (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Otavio (Porto), Joao Mario (Benfica), Matheus Nunes (Wolverhampton/ENG), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City/ENG).

Forwards: Rafael Leao (AC Milan/ITA), Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Ricardo Horta (Braga), Goncalo Ramos (Benfica), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United/ENG), Andre Silva (RB Leipzig/GER).

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