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UEFA Euro 2024 Team Previews: Portugal

Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo may be 39 years old, but he is still the face of football in Portugal. (Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports)

UEFA Euro 2024 Team Previews: Portugal

UEFA Euro 2024 is just weeks away from kicking off in Germany. Over the next 17 days, we will be previewing each team that will be taking part in Europe’s biggest football tournament. Check out all of the team previews that have been done so far. Up next is Portugal.

Portugal has been all about one player for a long time. Now Cristiano Ronaldo is heading to the end of his career, and the rest of the team has stepped up amazingly. During Euro 2024 qualifying, “A Seleção das Quinas” (The Team of the Escutcheons) was the only perfect team, winning all 10 of their matches. It was pure dominance as well, Portugal outscored their opponents 36-2, and both goals came in the same match against the second-place side Slovakia. However, Portugal has lost two of their last four matches, but both came against Euro 2024 sides in Slovenia and Croatia.

Euro Appearances

After making just one of the first nine Euros, Portugal has been a part of the last seven. Euro 2024 will be the eighth straight for “​​A Seleção das Quinas.” The first time they made an appearance was at Euro 1984. It was not until Euro 1996 that they became a consistent competitor.

Best Finish at the Euros

2016 was the peak of Portugal’s footballing history. That was the year they won their only major tournament. Euro 2016 saw them take it all against the hosts France, thanks to an extra-time goal from Eder. They had previously been in four semifinals and made the final one other time at Euro 2004 when they hosted. 

Key players

As he has been for the last two decades, Cristiano Ronaldo is the face of Portuguese football. He is the most-capped player in all of football with 207 appearances for “A Seleção das Quinas” while also being the highest goalscorer ever in international football with 130 goals scored. However, Ronaldo may find a back seat at Euro 2024. The depth of Portugal is absurd. Alongside him in attack is Rafael Leão, João Félix, and Diogo Jota. As good as the forwards are, the midfield may be even better. It is headlined by Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes and Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva.

The defense is also elite, with 41-year-old Pepe leading the way once again. Alongside him and his 137 caps will be Rúben Dias, Diogo Dalot, and João Cancelo. This defense for “A Seleção das Quinas”  is dangerous and the reason why they allowed just two goals in Euro 2024 qualifying. It is also hard to knock goalkeeper Rui Patrício. Patrício has over 100 caps for Portugal and will continue to be a brick wall. 

Manager

One of the better international managers of the last decade is Roberto Martínez. After his time with Belgium, Martínez took over “A Seleção das Quinas” in early 2023. While with Belgium, he took them to a third-place finish at the 2018 World Cup. His other great accomplishment was leading Wigan Athletic to the FA Cup title in the 2012-13 season, despite being relegated the same year. 

Biggest Group Game – vs Czech Republic on June 18

To me, the toughest match Portugal will have to play in the group stage is the Czech Republic. Plus, it will be very interesting to see what happens with Ronaldo in the first match of Euro 2024. Portugal has so many talented players that play at the highest level that Ronaldo may be an afterthought in the first few games.

Prediction

A Seleção das Quinas” should have no real trouble in Group F with anything less than a clean sweep being a disappointment. Winning the group would see a round of 16 matchup with a third-place side from Groups A, B, or C. The toughest match I can see would be Croatia. Nonetheless, Portugal should get through that, but I see them falling out in the quarterfinals against the Netherlands, who I predict will finish second in their group.

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