Portugal, known also as Seleção das Quinas, are going to play their 8th World Cup tournament in Qatar as the world’s arguably best player Cristiano Ronaldo leads the pack.
They are in group H with Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea, but with the calibre of players plying their trades in European leagues, Portugal cannot only emerge from the group stage, but they can go far to the final.
Fernando Santos’ squad are proud to have the embattled but energetic Manchester United forward Ronaldo, experienced Pepe, Manchester City defender Joao Cancelo, Bruno Fernandes, and Bernardo Silva among other talents.
Players to watch out for:
Name: Cristiano Ronaldo
Current club: Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo has the most goals – 117 and appearances – 191 for Portugal and he’s the captain of the team. Undoubtedly, the tournament at Qatar will be his last, and he has the skills, experience and stamina to fight as the greatest of all time that the football world believes he is. His presence on the pitch is always magnetic with a show of football’s beauty.
The 37-year-old Manchester United forward has played 1139 games in his entire career netting 818 goals. He’s capable of playing any position upfront – as a striker, a winger at any flank and his heading ability, passing accuracy, and ability to shoot with both feet are qualities he carries. Also, his speciality in set pieces and penalty-taking is a threat to the opposition.
Current club: Porto
Pepe is one of the best defenders of his generation with a speciality in hard-tackling and contesting aerial balls which has boosted his work rate as a central defender, that can also be deployed as a defensive midfielder.
He has leadership skills on the pitch as well. He is quick, aggressive and strong. The former Real Madrid defender has played 128 games scoring 7 goals for Portugal and he is the vice-captain for the team.
Pepe has won almost all the trophies except World Cup which he believes he can win with his teammates in Qatar.
Name: Bruno Fernandes
Current club: Manchester United
Bruno Fernandes is an attacking midfielder known as the highest goal-scoring Portuguese player. He has leadership abilities on the pitch as well.
The 28-year-old former Sporting CP player is a box-to-box midfielder whose scored nine goals in 48 games since 2017.
Portugal can bank on him for ball-possessing ability and creativity to initiate an attack and punish defenders on take-on and shooting precision.
Name: Fernando Santos
Fernando Santos will be guiding Portugal to their second World Cup campaign under his management since he took the managerial job on 23 September 2014. He is an experienced manager with outstanding success at club level football.
Based on his spells with prominent Portuguese club sides, he knows how to assemble players in the country and those playing in Europe, which has earned him a reputation for managing the team. Santos won UEFA European Championship in 2016 and got a Bronze in FIFA Confederations Cup in 2017 for the team.
With the array of talented, experienced and passionate players in his camp, Santos has the capacity to come out of the group stage and advance as far to the semis at the tournament.