The Portugal World Cup Squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup did reveal some surprising selections by their coach Fernando Santos but nevertheless, Portugal are still looked up to as top contenders to triumph at the World Cup after their victory at EURO 2016.
The team is definitely going to look up to their talisman and captain Cristiano Ronaldo but has plenty of other players who can make a difference at the big stage.
Let’s analyse the Portugal world cup squad in a position by position style (defenders, midfielders and forwards) and see what firepower does this side pack:
#1. Defense And Goalkeeping:
The defensive duties have been entrusted with veterans Pepe, Jose Fonte and Bruno Alves and will see one other player from their squad. The only down side to the matter is that Pepe, Alves and Fonte are in their twilight years (all 3 on the wrong side of 30). Raphael Guerrero or Cedric are the most likely candidates to complete the defensive 4.
The relatively bright side is the 30-year old goalkeeper Rui Patricio, who has been reliable throughout the qualifiers and has been a decent performer for the side.
Will the ageing defensive line overcome the doubts with their veteran qualities? We’ll find out tomorrow as they take on a pacy Spanish side who have reinvented themselves with plenty of youth talent.
Portugal have been relatively strong in terms of defense so the odds are in their favour but it’ll be slightly tricky for them to play against oppositions who are heavy on counter attacking football.
#2. Midfield And Attacking Midfield:
This is where Portugal can stand out to make a difference, other than having the world’s most lethal forward in their squad.
The midfield will likely see veteran Joao Moutinho providing fluidity in terms of passing and he’ll team up with William Carvalho, who has been a largely underrated player but was solid as a defensive midfielder at EURO 2016.
He doesn’t essentially get the limelight but is a great player and can be a difference maker by helping the defense win the ball and providing extra cover to them.
Now, the attacking midfield of Portugal is something I’m particularly excited about. Ricardo Quaresma has been called up to provide pace on the wings and he’ll be joining the dark horse of the Portugal World Cup squad, none other than the Manchester City star boy Bernardo Silva.
Silva has been in scintillating form since the last few months for his club and has a decent first season overall as he proved his worth after adjusting brilliantly to the Premier League side in the business end of the season and just in time for the World Cup squad selection.
He will play a key role in providing support to the forwards up top and will be a threat to opposing defenders.
Portugal have Cristiano Ronaldo.
That’s pretty much where I should wrap up this article since there are no words to describe how important he is to his side.
He’s their top scorer and has been in devastating form and after winning the Champions League with Real Madrid this season for the 3rd consecutive time (and his 5th time, overall), Ronaldo looks determined to play his part for the Portuguese side as he was during their EURO 2016 victory.
The man partnering Ronaldo will be the young and sprightly Andre Silva, who has had a much better stat line with the Portuguese squad in the World Cup qualifiers as compared his club, A.C. Milan and playing with some of the veterans within his national side, this could be his time to prove his mettle.
Portugal have been drawn with Spain, Morocco and Iran and they start their campaign tomorrow, with their first match coming against Spain at 11:30 p.m. IST.
If all goes as per what is predicted, Portugal should definitely qualify for the Round of 16 and their match against Spain is most likely to decide their (and Spain’s) position in the group.
Their squad is an interesting mix and we’ll see how they perform tomorrow in what promises to be a high-octane match-up.
LET THE GAMES BEGIN!
Image Credits: Google Images
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