The qualification course and the group:
Chaotic. That is learn how to describe the qualification course of Portugal, very near turning right into a fiasco. Positioned in group A of the Europe zone alongside Serbia, Eire, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan, the Seleção had all of the playing cards in hand to qualify comfortably for this 2022 World Cup, scheduled for Qatar. Nevertheless, a remaining loss, at residence, in opposition to Serbia (2-1) in November 2021 condemned Fernando Santos’ band to the play-offs. Near horrible disillusion, Cristiano Ronaldo’s teammates lastly eradicated Turkey (3-1) earlier than getting the higher of North Macedonia (2-0), executioner of Italy. In an Estadio do Dragao in Porto in fusion, the 2016 European champions received their place for this World Cup. Positioned in group H, the Portuguese will discover Ghana (November 24), Uruguay (November 28) and South Korea (December 2).
The strengths and weaknesses
“Portugal is a crew that performs very properly, which isn’t the identical as taking part in an excellent sport. Taking part in properly means scoring targets with out conceding. That is the key of this choice. These phrases are these of Fernando Santos, the coach of Portugal, and so they alone sum up the strengths and weaknesses of this Seleção. Counting on a greater than environment friendly defensive base, this Portuguese formation typically struggles to be engaging across the opposing floor. Providing a sport that’s nonetheless removed from thrilling, Portugal additionally discover themselves at a crossroads with a glowing pool and an getting older however typically untouchable Cristiano Ronaldo. Leaving his 4-1-4-1 for a 4-3-3 for the reason that defeat in opposition to Serbia (1-2), the Portuguese tactician appears, in the meantime, to have discovered an fascinating system. Extra compact within the midfield, the Seleção thus finds higher transitions between its protection and its three attacking males. In consequence, Portugal could be pleased with having discovered the online 16 instances within the final 8 matches. All whereas conceding solely 4 targets. It now stays to verify this good momentum on this small peninsula jutting into the Persian Gulf.
Coach: Fernando Santos
A title at Euro 2016, the primary within the historical past of the Portuguese choice. A brand new coronation, in 2019, on the event of the primary version of the League of Nations. Sure, the course of Fernando Santos on the head of Portugal is, till now, greater than convincing. At the very least from an accounting perspective. Arrived to normal shock on the bench of the Seleção in September 2014, to succeed Paulo Bento, the one who had taken Greece to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 earlier than going out with the Greek crew within the spherical of 16 of the The 2014 World Cup is certainly the topic of a lot criticism. A reluctance expressed by many observers, regardless of a steadiness sheet largely to the benefit of the 67-year-old technician. With 103 matches on the head of the Portuguese formation – a small feat since there are solely 23 different coaches within the historical past of soccer to have reached this milestone of 100 matches with the identical nationwide crew – Fernando Santos can, right now right now, boasting a superb statistical line with 64 wins, 21 attracts and 18 defeats. Nevertheless, past the purely quantified facet and the prize checklist which already provides him a particular place within the hearts of Portuguese supporters and within the historical past of this choice, the child from Lisbon continues to make folks speak.
Carried by an unbelievable breeding floor (Bruno Fernandes, William Carvalho, João Cancelo, João Felix, Ruben Dias, Ruben Neves, Vitinha, Diogo Jota, Florentino Luis, Diogo Leite, Fábio Silva) surrounding the fivefold Golden Ball, Cristiano Ronaldo, Fernando Santos is struggling to impose his model on the world stage. The performances achieved by Portugal over the last World Cup in Russia (eradicated within the spherical of 16 in opposition to Uruguay, regardless of a strong squad on paper) but additionally over the last Euro (eradicated within the spherical of 16 by Belgium after leaving the “group of loss of life” within the firm of France, Germany and Hungary) confirmed this unlucky pattern: a disappointing degree of play, outcomes at half mast, and this regardless of a workforce greater than proficient. Doubled on the gong by Spain within the race for the Ultimate 4 of the 2023 Nations League, Fernando Santos has, regardless of every thing, been capable of reinvent himself on many events. If the Portuguese engineer has actually proven sufficient freshness to query himself in current weeks, he’s nonetheless cautious as a result of one other disappointing efficiency in Qatar this winter may properly spell the tip of his reign on the head of this Seleção.
Star to observe: Cristiano Ronaldo
Confined to the bench of substitutes and near the exit on the aspect of Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo additionally lives sophisticated hours in choice so inevitably all eyes can be turned in direction of the fivefold Ballon d’Or. With 191 choices to his credit score (117 targets), the previous striker for Juventus Turin and Actual Madrid will essentially be eager to shine, what’s extra in probably the most prestigious of competitions. Pissed off after his false begin over the last summer time switch window and missing membership taking part in time, CR7 however stays part of the Portuguese choice. Nevertheless, this govt standing doesn’t appear to be totally unanimous among the many normal public. Within the Portuguese media, the omnipresence of Ronaldo is beginning to cringe, to the purpose that the star of world soccer now appears to be dropping credit score. In Bola identified, furthermore, on this respect, “a decreased quantity of play” and “a declining aim share”. Worse nonetheless, a current ballot carried out by the Portuguese day by day revealed that 57% of supporters needed to see him begin on the bench in opposition to Spain on the final day of the group stage of the League of Nations. Mistrust all the identical as a result of if the Mancunian star not appears to be unanimous, CR7 stays CR7 and an awakening in Qatar may change every thing. The World Cup to relaunch the Portuguese season? Reply in a number of days…
The attraction: Nuno Mendes
Portugal have an inexhaustible reservoir of up-and-coming expertise and Nuno Mendes is undoubtedly one in all them. Holder at Paris Saint-Germain for the reason that begin of the season, this 20-year-old left-back can also be progressively establishing itself as an essential factor of this Seleção. In competitors with Raphaël Guerreiro for a beginning place at this World Cup, this pure product of the Leões coaching heart will due to this fact logically be one of many sights in Qatar. Very quick, explosive, highly effective in duels, he likes to swallow up area to assault and provide good balls to his attackers. His left foot, very exact, additionally permits him to maintain the ball properly below strain and ship caviar. Defensively, the younger man, who has the identical consultant as his teammate Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), just isn’t clumsy, particularly in a single in opposition to one. Nevertheless, he nonetheless wants to enhance on placement and focus. One factor is definite, this World Cup is a golden alternative for him to achieve expertise and take a brand new step in his younger profession.
The checklist of 26:
Guardians: Diogo Costa (FC Porto), José Sa (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Rui Patrício (AS Roma).
Defenders: Diogo Dalot (Manchester United), João Cancelo (Manchester Metropolis), Danilo Pereira (PSG), Pepe (FC Porto), Rúben Dias (Manchester Metropolis), António Silva (SL Benfica), Nuno Mendes (PSG), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund).
Environments : João Palhinha (Fulham FC), Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Bernardo Silva (Manchester Metropolis), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), João Mário (SL Benfica), Matheus Nunes (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Otávio Monteiro (FC Porto) , Vitinha (PSG), William Carvalho (Actual Betis).
Forwards: André Silva (RB Leipzig), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Gonçalo Ramos (SL Benfica), João Félix (Atlético Madrid), Rafael Leão (AC Milan), Ricardo Horta (SC Braga).