What Can We Expect from Portugal During the 2018 World Cup?
With the World Cup fats approaching, betting enthusiasts and sports fans alike are eagerly anticipating the awaiting competition. The Portugal national team is likely to present a formidable obstacle to overcome and in order to better appreciate what may be in store, it is a good idea to take a look at some relevant statistics as well as viable predictions ahead of their matches.
- FIFA ranking: 3rd
- Tournament Best: 3rd in 1966
- Number of appearances: 6
A Look at the Team History
Portugal has enjoyed an impressive number of showings since their entrance in 1966. It was actually this first year that they fared best when the team took third place under the guidance of Eusebio. This “golden generation” was set to last for a number of years although the team was unable to capitalise upon their success with any solid first place victory. Since 1966, the team has appeared in no fewer than five World Cup finals. These were in 1986, 2002, 2006, 2010, and most recently, in Brazil 2014. This past clearly shows that the group has the prowess to make it into the top tier. The main question involves whether or not they can leverage this past momentum during the upcoming 2018 season.
The Team Itself: Destined for Glory or More of the Same?
There is no doubt that the most famous name when referring to the Portugal national team is Crtistiano Ronaldo. Not only has he become a veritable hero after vanquishing Sweden during the 2014 World Cup, but the sheer magnetism that he brings to the pitch should very well serve to cement the efforts of his teammates. However, Ronaldo is not the only one set to make waves this year. The experience of Pepe combined with the defensive capabilities of Raphael Guerreiro should provide the necessary offensive-defensive balance to go far. This represents a very solid midfield line and with the continued presence of goalkeeper Rui Patricio, opponents will be in for quite a challenge. It can be argued that this very same line-up was the main reason for their UEFA EURO 2016 victory; the first major title in the history of the team.
Besides these veritable lynchpins, the team is equipped with other players who should pose a very real threat to their opponents. In terms of midfielders, other talents include Joao Mario, Andre Gomes, Adrian Silva and Sanchez. At 24 years old, William Carvalho is considered to be at his peak while right back Cedric has experience thanks to his presence in the Euro Cup. Considered to be the best left back that France had to offer, Rafael Guerrero is likewise thought to have matured over the years.
Fernando Santos should play an important role in the outcome of the 2018 World Cup. While he has only taken on his managerial role since 2014, he has been coaching since as far back as 1987. One interesting point to make is that Mr. Santos is actually an engineer by trade. This leads us to believe that he will view the competition from a top-down and rather scientific approach as opposed to being governed by emotion alone. It can also be argued that this very same pragmatic presence had enabled him to lead the “big three” Portuguese football clubs in the past (Sporting CP, Porto and Benfica). Regardless of this previous experience, his name truly came to centre stage in 2010 when he led Greece to the top-eight category in 2012.
What About Statistics?
Although there is much to be said in regards to the players as well as the experience of their coach, we have to wonder if past psychology will play a role in their 2018 performance. Let’s keep in mind that this team has failed to qualify in a total of eight World Cups and UEFA EURO competitions. The fact that these have been consecutive events leads us to wonder if Portugal tends to run out of steam during latter competitions.
Many feel that the chances of Portugal walking away a winner are partially due to the fact that they have one of the youngest teams in the business. Of course, we cannot deny that the 33-year-old Ronaldo is not exactly a spring chicken any more. However, the remainder of the team more than makes up for this age. It is also wise to stress that Ronaldo should never be counted out; particularly during high-pressure plays. The man simply has the sheer experience that his other teammates currently lack. We cannot deny the importance of youth and as we have seen in the past, the team can hold their own even without the magical presence of Ronaldo (as in the Euro finals).
However, let’s also not fail to mention that their performance was less than stellar during the EURO 2016. Considering the fact they were only able to pull off a single win in seven matches, we have to call into the question of how they will perform against major powerhouses (they faced the likes of Wales, Hungary and Iceland in the Euros; not necessarily top-tier teams).
Performance in Russia
Although the 2018 World Cup is being held in summer, the fact that it is taking place in Russia calls into question the ability of the Portuguese team to adapt to an entirely different climate. In truth, this is just as much of a concern for any team which has qualified. The only worry is that their older players may have more of a difficulty than the young blood. Of course, they still have nearly a year to prepare themselves accordingly.
There is no doubt that Portugal is bringing a great deal of talent to the table. Thanks to a combination of seasoned veterans alongside up-and-coming talent, 2018 should prove to be a very interesting year. Whether or not this seventh showing proves to be their shining moment has yet to be determined.
2018 Portugal World Cup Betting Odds
|2018 World Cup||Portugal Win||24/1*|
|2018 World Cup||Portugal Win||21/1*|
|2018 World Cup||Portugal Win||21/1*|
*Odds at the time of writing. Subject to change.