Euro 2016 team-by-team guide: Everything you need to know Portugal
Kevin Palmer gives us the lowdown on the Portugal.
Group F fixtures
- June 14th: Iceland in Saint-Etienne
- June 18th: Austria in Paris
- June 22nd: Hungary in Lyon
COACH: Fernando Santos
This experienced tactician is one of the few men in world football who has taken charge of Portugal’s top three clubs, with Santos listing Benfica, Porto and Sporting Lisbon among his former clubs.
He proved his worth on the international stage by excelling with a modestly talented Greece national team by guiding them to the 2010 World Cup finals and Euro 2012, making progress to the knock-out stages on both occasions. He should have the talent at his disposal to go even further at Euro 2016.
STAR MAN: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Carrying the Portuguese national team on his considerably broad shoulders has been a chore Ronaldo has not always appeared to relish, but he has been quested as suggesting the current batch of Portuguese stars could give him a chance to finally achieve international glory.
Ronaldo’s statistics at international level are predictably wondrous, with his sparkling scoring record set to be complemented by his achievement of becoming Portugal’s record appearance maker. This genius has the brilliance to win any match on his own. All he needs is a team of compatriots around him to give him the necessary support.
LOOK OUT FOR: Bernardo Silva (Monaco)
Ronaldo has referred to a promising crop of Portuguese youngsters bursting through the national team ranks and this 21-year-old wide man looks set to be a star over the course of the next decade.
He started his career at Braga before making a move to Monaco in the summer of 2014, he was promoted from the under-21 side during the Euro 2016 qualifiers and offers a speedy spark to support central attacking star Ronaldo. Silva has been lined with moves to Juventus, Chelsea and even Barcelona in recent months.
WILD CARD: Rafa Silva (Braga)
Another of the new generation in the Portugal ranks, Silva is at home on the left side of their attacking line-up.
He was released by Sporting Lisbon in his formative days, but has proved himself with Braga and is rapidly maturing into a class act for club and country. He made the cut for their 2014 World Cup finals squad, but remained an unused substitute in Brazil. Silva can expect a little more of a significant role in his nation’s Euro 2016 plans.
VERDICT: This team has some bright young stars freshening up its appearance, but it is still going to be the Ronaldo show.
Santos is a fine tactician with a proven record in major international tournaments and he needs to find a balance in his side that ensures their defensive flaws are not exposed. That may mean deploying two holding midfield players, with the highly-rated Sporting Lisbon star William Carvalho a possible partner for Porto’s Danilo in a 4-2-3-1 formation if Portugal opt for that approach.