World Cup 2018 Team Preview – Portugal

Before we begin, please hit Play on the YouTube video below and play at a high volume:

Weird Al is a genius.

Which seems a perfect transition to the Portugal team preview.  As much as many of us may dislike/hate the man and the club team he plays for, there is no denying that he is a genius on the field and one of the best players to have ever played.  I mean, seriously, how can you get mad at a man that can do this?

And so, somewhat like Egypt and somewhat not, the World Cup hopes of Portugal ride on one man: Cristiano Ronaldo Dos Santos Aveiro.

Take some time and peruse the man’s Wikipedia page.  It is unreal what he has accomplished.

However, this is not a Ronaldo preview, it is a Portugal preview.  How good of a team is Portugal?  Well, they are the defending European Champions having beaten France IN PARIS in the final in 2016. In Euro 2012, they lost to the eventual champion, Spain, in the semifinals in penalties.  Many said, since Spain beat Italy 4-0 in the final, that the semifinal was the real final.

This is a good team.  Now, how good of a team is it without Ronaldo?

The rest of the team play in a mishmash of European leagues.  Some in England, some in Spain, some in Portugal, some in Turkey, Russia, Italy, Germany, and France. The manager is Fernando Santos, who not only led the Portuguese to the 2016 European Championship, but also led Greece, of all teams, to the knockout rounds in both the 2012 Euro and the 2014 World Cup.   That’s actually impressive.

Answering the question, though, without Ronaldo the team is… I’m not quite sure.  There are other goalscorers and quality players. Santos has, like he did in Greece, forged a team that plays well together and doesn’t really rely on one man.  Ronaldo has the effect of drawing defenders and attention, which makes things easier for his teammates to score. In the last ten games where Portugal have scored goals, there have been fifteen different goal scorers.

That makes them very dangerous.

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Schedule

15 JUN 2018 – 21:00 Local time, 11:00 Pacific, Fisht Stadium, Sochi

PORTUGAL v SPAIN

20 JUN 2018 – 15:00 Local time, 05:00 Pacific, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

PORTUGAL v MOROCCO

25 JUN 2018 – 21:00 Local time, 11:00 Pacific, Mordovia Arena, Saransk

IRAN v PORTUGAL

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Prognosis

The toughest game is the first.  If either team wins, they win the group.  In case of a tie, it will depend on goal differential in the other two games.  In reality, Portugal and Spain are leaps above Morocco and Iran, so their World Cup will not really begin until the Elimination stages.  At that point, the winner of Group B plays the runner-up of Group A and vice versa.  Group A consists of Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Uruguay.

Assuming Uruguay win the group, the winner of Group B gets to play either Russia, Saudi Arabia, or Egypt.  In my earlier previews, I predicted that Egypt would get the second slot.  That pretty much spells a trip to the Quarterfinals for the winner of Group B, doesn’t it?

So, assuming a tie between the two powers in the first game, the next two games will be a question of playing “Whatever you can do, I can do better”.  Lots of goals will need to be scored.  Which is why having Ronaldo is such a big deal.

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Predicción

A frenetic tie in the first game followed by two wins.  The only question is whether they will outscore Spain against the lesser teams.  I say they don’t.  Second place in the group.

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Vital Statistics

Ms. Universe:

As with other countries, Portugal has multiple ladies representing the country in the various pageants.  Here is Matilde Ramos Lima, the winner of the Miss Universo Portugal pageant and Portugal’s representative at Miss Universe:

This is Filipa Barroso, winner of the Miss Republica Portuguesa pageant and Portugal’s representative to the Miss World pageant:

And this is Ana Rita Almeida Marques, the runner-up in Miss Universo Portugal and Portugal’s representative to the Miss International pageant.

Yeah, I didn’t know Miss International was a thing.

***

National Dish:

Bacalhau

Without a doubt, this is Portugal’s most popular food.  Bacalhau is cod, which is dried and salted and then prepared in a variety of ways. It is much beloved throughout the northern and western coasts of the Iberian peninsula.  Here are a few examples of typical preparations:

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The Last Word

Ok, real talk, how the fuck is Ronaldo that ripped?  Maybe I should eat more bacalhau…

ballsofsteelandfury

ballsofsteelandfury

International Member of the Geelong Cats and recovering Steelers fan. Likes Butts. And Balls. And Boobs. Pretty much anything that starts with the letter B. Preferably together.
ballsofsteelandfury

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Wakezilla

Portugal is definitely a darkhorse team that can win it all of everything clicks for them. However, unlike the Euros, Portugal struggles at the World Cup. They should reach the quarter finals and then after that, it’ll likely depend on who they draw against.

litre_cola

Just can’t do it. Pepe is on this fucking team and he needs to play in Lisbon traffic.

Don T

It still drives me nuts that Portugal conceded only one goal in four games and was eliminated in the last 16 against Spain. I like POR. Quaresma is a .badass too.

King Hippo

That cod and eggs looks fucking disgusting. Like Ronaldo. But PtM and the preview ARE THE TITS!!