Sunday 19 November 2017

World Cup team preview: Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

Just seven days to go until the World Cup begins in Brazil and today we're previewing Portugal.

A cloud hangs over Portugal's preparations for the tournament given the injury concerns over Cristiano Ronaldo.

If he fails to recover from tendinosis in his left knee and a muscle problem in his left thigh, the Portuguese have big problems.

Germany will be strong favourites to top Group G but Portugal should fill the runners-up berth barring a disaster.

Ghana and the USA will provide stiff opposition for Paulo Bento's men.

Group G: Germany, USA and Ghana

Tournament odds: 28/1

How they got here

Had to rely on the lottery of the playoffs for the second time running.

Their star man Cristiano Ronaldo was the inspiration scoring all four goals in their 4-2 victory over Sweden after two legs.

A draw at home to Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland and draws home and away to Israel meant that Portugal finished runners-up in their group with the automatic qualifying place going to Russia.

Key player

The Ballon d'Or player would be the key player on every team on the planet bar one.

If he can regain full fitness, he can inspire Portugal to very good things but he will need to be at his mercurial best.

Joao Moutinho will pull the strings in midfield.

Cristiano Ronaldo (L) stretches with teammate Raul Meireles during training at the NFL New York Jets practice facility in Florham Park, New Jersey, yesterday

Something you didn't know about Portugal

Almost 12% of the inhabitants of Luxembourg and 3% of the people in France are of Portuguese descent.

Paris has the largest Portuguese community outside Portugal and is the second largest Portuguese city after Lisbon based on the number of Portuguese residents.

Online Editors

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