World Cup Preview: Portugal

The 2018 World Cup is approaching quickly as 32 national teams will compete in Russia to be World Champions. The World Cup is an international men’s football tournament between countries that are members of the Fédération International de Football Association. The last tournament took place in Brazil 2014 and the titleholders are Germany after they defeated Argentina 1-0. In fact, over 1 billion people watched the final game between these two countries. Much has changed in four years and we wanted to take a look the favourites for the 2018 World Cup and determine which teams holds the mental edge. While pundits, fans, and Artificial Intelligence software focus on the numbers, we put our faith in the letters. Let’s read on…

Portugal

The men’s football team from Portugal are the reigning EURO Champions. In 2016, they played for the win and escaped games by scoring only one goal more than the opponent. With bad luck, an injury, or a superb play from the opponent, this strategy is unsustainable in team sports and the 2016 EURO champions quickly leave the World Cup in Russia. However, nothing is impossible with the irrepressible Cristiano Ronaldo, 5 time Ballon d’Or winner, who had 15 goals in 9 games throughout the World Cup qualifying round. Let’s take a look at his mates.

Defensively, they have less talent than Brazil, Spain or Germany but they make up for it through ingenuity and tactical positioning. These two qualities will be critical given that the centrebacks available have reached their twilight years. Pepe, Fonte, and Bruno Alves will need all of their national team experience to command their team against waves of attacks, especially since their first group game against Spain!

Ricardo Quaresma and Joao Moutinho provide all the necessary experience in the middle of the field. They are will be counted on to generate enough opportunities for their forwards to get the single goal needed to win. Who are we kidding? They need to get the ball to Cristiano Ronaldo who is guaranteed to score in each game, even if he failed to score in the 2018 Champions League final in Kiev.

The forward line is also comprised of Bernardo Silva and André Silva. There is a brief history that proves Ronaldo and André Silva have strong task cohesion and a trusting relationship. We cannot forget about Bernardo Silva who had an incredible year with his club team, Manchester City F.C., the 2017-2018 Premier League champions. Manager Fernando Santos has yet to find a suitable spot for Bernardo Silva and this could prove costly when one-goal games are expected for Portugal.

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