UEFA EURO 2012 Team Preview – Portugal

Population 10.5 million Area 92,090km2 Capital Lisbon Currency Euro Official Language Portuguese

FOOTBALL FACTFILE

Football Asocciation Federação Portuguesa de Futebol (FPF) Official Site http://www.fpf.pt Year of formation 1914 Euro Ranking 5 World Ranking 5 National Stadium Estadio Nacional, Lisbon Well-known club sides FC porto, Benfica, Sporting CP Leading goalscorers Pauleta (47), Eusébio (41), Cristiano Ronaldo (32+), Luis Figo (32) Most capped players Luis Figo (127), Fernando Couto (110), Rui Costa (94) European Championship finals attended 1984, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 Best European Championship performance Runners-up 2004 Playing Record in European Championship P122 W66 D28 L28 Odds of winning UEFA EURO 2012 18/1

JOURNEY TO POLAND/UKRAINE

In a torrid start to their qualifying campaign, the Portuguese failed to win their opening two games and eventually had to rely on the play-off stages to seal their place at the UEFA EURO 2012. A 0-0 first-leg encounter with Bosnia-Herzegovina was followed by an emphatic 6-2 home victory in the second leg.

With enviable attacking options in Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo and Helder Postiga (who scored an incredible 17 goals between them in 10 qualifying matches), coupled with defensive solidity in the forms of Real Madrid’s Ricardo Carvalho and Pepe, Portugal have more than enough quality within their ranks to go far this summer. What stands in their way then? Just the hardest group in the tournament.

To progress, they must topple European heavyweights Germany, whom they face in their first game, before a duel with the dangerous Danes and then the dazzling Dutch. A tall order and no mistake, but one that’s certainly with their gasp. And should they emerge from this formidable group – and get a bit more luck in the knockout stages than in the previous four tournaments – there’s no reason why Ronaldo and co can’t go all the way.

HOW THEY GOT THERE

03/09/2010 – Group H – Portugal 4-4 Cyprus
07/09/2010 – Group H – Norway 1-0 Portugal
08/10/2010 – Group H – Portugal 3-1 Denmark
12/10/2010 – Group H – Iceland 1-3 Portugal
04/06/2011 – Group H – Portugal 1-0 Norway
02/09/2011 – Group H – Cyprus 0-4 Portugal
07/10/2011 – Group H – Portugal 5-3 Iceland
11/10/2011 – Group H – Denmark 2-1 Portugal
11/11/2011 – Play-Off – Bosnia-Herzegovina 0-0 Portugal
15/11/2011 – Play-Off – Portugal 6-2 Bosnia-Herzegovina

HOME AND AWAY KITS

GROUP FIXTURES – GROUP B

Saturday, 09/06 – Germany v Portugal (Lviv, 19:45)
Wednesday, 13/06 – Denmark v Portugal (Lviv, 17:00)
Sunday, 17/06 – Portugal v Netherlands (Kharkiv, 19:45)

FINAL SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Eduardo (SL Benfica), Rui Patrício (Sporting Clube de Portugal), Beto (CFR 1907 Cluj).

Defenders: João Pereira (Sporting Clube de Portugal), Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid CF), Bruno Alves (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Rolando (FC Porto), Ricardo Costa (Valencia CF), Pepe (Real Madrid CF), Miguel Lopes (SC Braga).

Midfielders: Raúl Meireles (Chelsea FC), Miguel Veloso (Genoa CFC), João Moutinho (FC Porto), Rúben Micael (Real Zaragoza), Hugo Viana (SC Braga), Custódio (SC Braga).

Forwards: Nani (Manchester United FC), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF), Hugo Almeida (Beşiktaş JK), Ricardo Quaresma (Beşiktaş JK), Silvestre Varela (FC Porto), Hélder Postiga (Real Zaragoza), Nélson Oliveira (SL Benfica).

THE CAPTAIN – CRISTIANO RONALDO

Officially the second-best player on the planet, Cristiano Ronaldo is a man needing no introduction. A perfect blend of power, pace and skill, the Portuguese wonderkid is the complete footballer, who is truly embracing the mental qualities needed to lead his nation. Scoring a staggering 112 league goals in his two season at Real Madrid so far, Ronaldo is due a starring role in a big tournament.

THE KEEPER – RUI PATRICIO

Having split time between the sticks during Portugal’s qualification period with veteran Eduardo, Rui Patricio has found himself the number one choice of manager Paulo Bento. Though he only made his international debut in 2010, during the second half of a 4-0 friendly win over Spain, in the past two years he has more than displayed his worth in the national setup.

STAR MAN – NANI

While it’s obvious who the real Star Man of this team is, Nani has certainly played a joyous second fiddle to his square-jawed skipper. Proving his international and club credentials over the past two years, numerous defenders will attest that, on his day, there are few better wingers in the world than Luis Carlos Almeida da Cunha (to give him his full name). Much like his captain, Nani can be devastatingly effective down either flank, offering a dangerous delivery and clinical strike. One of the big success stories of Portugal’s qualifying campaign, Nani amassed five goals in 10 games.

THE MANAGER – PAULO BENTO

After Portugal’s dismal start to qualification, Paulo Bento was appointed as successor to Carlos Queiroz. A member of Portugal’s UEFA EURO 2000 and FIFA World Cup 2002 campaigns, Bento was one of the squad members suspended after the fiery semi-final defeat by France in UEFA EURO 2000. He retired from playing in 2004 and went on to manage, Sporting Lisbon, winning four domestic cups and a league runners-up spot two years on the trot. He has the pedigree and passion to deliver what Queiroz could not.

TOURNAMENT PREDICTION

Group Stage – While Paulo Bento has done a huge job in steadying the ship and having some excellent players in the squad, but getting out of the Group of Death looks like a huge task. Bento will target all three points against Denmark in the second game and a surprise win over either Germany or the Netherlands, but both of them were just unbeatable in qualifying and both reached the later stages of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. They both might a bit too much for Os Navegadores.

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