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Portugal: The Ultimate Euro 2020 Preview

Reigning champions Portugal must escape from the group of death if they are to retain their title, wit a repeat of the final against France looking like a mouth-watering clash in the final round of fixtures.

Captain and Talisman Cristiano can move ahead of Michel Platini and become the outright top scorer in European Championships history with a single goal, while he is only five adrift of Ali Daei with the most international goals of all time.

Portugal have a much stronger squad than in 2016 – on paper at least – with an awe-inspiring array of attacking talent. Ronaldo and Portugal know how to win, so don’t be surprised to see them go far this summer.

Group F: Hungary, PORTUGAL, France, Germany

Captain: Cristiano Ronaldo

Head Coach: Fernando Santos

FIFA Ranking: 5

Best Finish: Champions – 2016

Fixtures:

Hungary v PORTUGAL – 15 June, 17:00 (BST). Puskás Aréna, Budapest, Hungary

PORTUGAL v Germany – 19 June, 17:00 (BST). Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany

PORTUGAL v France – 23 June, 20:00 (BST). Puskás Aréna, Budapest, Hungary

Qualification

Despite a rocky start, Portugal recovered to qualify automatically for Euro 2020 as they finished second in qualifying Group B. Draws with Ukraine and Serbia in their opening two games opened the door for both sides to sneak ahead of Fernando Santos’ side, but 11 goals from Cristiano Ronaldo (only Harry Kane scored more in qualifying) brought Portugal back on track and they secured qualification with a routine win over Luxembourg in the final match.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Rui Patrício (Wolves), Rui Silva (Granada)

Defenders: João Cancelo (Manchester City), Rúben Dias (Manchester City), José Fonte (LOSC Lille), Raphael Guerreiro (Dortmund), Nuno Mendes (Sporting CP), Pepe (Porto), Nélson Semedo (Wolves)

Midfielders: William Carvalho (Real Betis), Danilo (Paris), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Gonçalo Guedes (Valencia), João Moutinho (Wolves), Rúben Neves (Wolves), Sérgio Oliveira (Porto), João Palhinha (Sporting CP), Pote (Sporting CP), Renato Sanches (LOSC Lille), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)

Forwards: João Félix (Atlético Madrid), Diogo Jota (Liverpool), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), André Silva (Eintracht Frankfurt), Rafa Silva (Benfica)

Source: UEFA.com

Danger Man – Cristiano Ronaldo

No explanation needed.

A born winner and goal scorer, Ronaldo has already cemented his place among the all-time greats of the game. Still playing at the highest level at the age of 36, Ronaldo’s game may have changed over years but his will to win certainly hasn’t.

A demon in the air and a lethal finisher inside and outside of the box, defenders will know that they have to be at the top of their game for 90 minutes minimum if they are to get the better of Portugal.

One to Watch – Nuno Mendes

Looking like a potential starter at left back for Portugal, 18-year-old Nuno Mendes has enjoyed a meteoric rise from youth football just a year ago.

A 2020/21 Portuguese champion with Sporting Lisbon, Mendes will gain a huge amount of experience from this tournament regardless of how many minutes he gets on the pitch.

Linked with Manchester City in recent weeks, don’t be surprised to see a lot more of Nuno Mendes on your screens over the next decade.

Premier League Representation

Nine members of Portugal’s 26-man squad appeared in the Premier League in 2020/21 – Rui Patricio, Nelson Semedo, Ruben Dias, Joao Moutinho, Bernardo Silva, Ruben Neves, Diogo Jota, Joao Cancelo and Bruno Fernandes.

Elsewhere, veterans Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Fonte have featured in the Premier League in years gone by.

Route to the Final

  1. If Portugal top the group, they will play the team who finishes third in Group A, B or C.
  2. If Portugal finish second, they will face the team who finish top of Group D (England, Croatia, Scotland, Czech Republic)
  3. If they finish as one of the four best third place teams, they will play the winner of either Group B or C.

After the second round, the draw will depend on which third place teams qualified for the knockout stages.

Stats

  • Portugal won only one game within 90 minutes at Euro 2016 – semi-final vs Wales, 2-0.
  • Portugal have never been knocked out of a European Championships at the group stage.
  • Portugal have never lost to opening opponents Hungary (W9 D4) though they drew their Group stage match at Euro 2016, 3-3.

Sam Hanys

A miserable Ipswich Town fan.

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Premier League Table

# Team MP W D L P
1 Arsenal 0 0 0 0 0
2 Aston Villa 0 0 0 0 0
3 Brentford 0 0 0 0 0
4 Brighton & Hov… 0 0 0 0 0
5 Burnley 0 0 0 0 0
6 Chelsea 0 0 0 0 0
7 Crystal Palace 0 0 0 0 0
8 Everton 0 0 0 0 0
9 Leeds United 0 0 0 0 0
10 Leicester City 0 0 0 0 0
11 Liverpool 0 0 0 0 0
12 Manchester City 0 0 0 0 0
13 Manchester United 0 0 0 0 0
14 Newcastle United 0 0 0 0 0
15 Norwich City 0 0 0 0 0
16 Southampton 0 0 0 0 0
17 Tottenham Hotspur 0 0 0 0 0
18 Watford 0 0 0 0 0
19 West Ham United 0 0 0 0 0
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 0 0 0 0

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