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World Cup 2010 Focus: Portugal

Posted by David Schiavone Monday, May 31, 2021

Portugal set out to South Africa in pursuit of World Cup glory in the knowledge that the Seleccao's so-called ‘golden generation’ has gone, in the last few tournaments they have come close to major championship glory with the likes of Luis Figo and Rui Costa but Carlos Queiroz will be in optimistic mood given the record of three semi-finals and one final in the last five major tournaments.

In qualifying the Portuguese made hard work of what should have been a straight forward task; Denmark and Sweden were their main rivals, but ones that should have been dispatched. It was Denmark who triumphed in the group, posting a 3-2 victory in Portugal and a 1-1 stalemate in Copenhagen, this meant Queiroz had to contest a play-off with his team. Portugal then dispatched an impressive Bosnia side 2-0 on aggregate to claim their place at the World Cup.

As you would expect Portugal’s main threat will come in the shape of Real Madrid forward and worlds most expensive player Cristiano Ronaldo. The £80 million man will carry the nation’s hopes in South Africa, though it must be noted the Portuguese played a lot better when he wasn’t in the side during the final games of qualifying and the playoff matches.

But can they do without him, he is confident though: "I will try to give the best of me, as I always do, both in Madrid and in the national team. I'm in a great form but I don't do miracles. The important thing is not me, if the team is fine, we can go far and that is the mentality we will have at the World Cup."

Other’s in the squad capable of the unexpected are Manchester United’s winger Nani, who is in explosive form for United, especially during the final months of the season. Simao can produce moments of magic and Danny is a midfield maestro who can unlock defences with inch perfect passes. Pepe of Real Madrid has been passed fit for the tournament despite not playing for six months.

Much rests on coach Carlos Queiroz who is under pressure to perform, lacklustre qualifying made him a prime candidate for the chop but he survived and will lead his team in South Africa, but as usual Portugal are without an out-and-out striker, Liedson is the likely starter but isn’t renowned for his accuracy in front of goal.

Portugal’s Provisional 24 Man World Cup Squad: Eduardo (Sporting de Braga), Daniel Fernandes (Iraklis), Beto (FC Porto); Miguel (Valencia), Ricardo Costa (Lille), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Bruno Alves (FC Porto), Rolando (FC Porto), Ze Castro (Deportivo), Pepe (Real Madrid); Fabio Coentrao (SL Benfica), Duda (Malaga), Pedro Mendes (Sporting CP), Tiago (Juventus), Deco (Chelsea), Raul Meireles (FC Porto), Miguel Veloso (Sporting CP), Simao Sabrosa (Atletico Madrid), Danny (Zenit), Nani (Manchester United); Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Liedson (Sporting CP), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen)

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