The Portuguese are known as the “navigators”, and in the world of football, the “Brazilians of Europe”. The Brazilians and their ilk combine the name Ronaldo, and they are two of the world’s top stars. Before the Brazilian, nicknamed “The Phenomenon” (El Phenomeno), retired, the Portuguese was mentioned by his full name: Cristiano Ronaldo. We can compare the two in many respects, except for the World Cup’s achievements. The Portuguese has nothing to remember. The Portugal national team has played in the World Cup with CR7 more than without it, and yet it has only been through the quarter-finals with him once.
Portugal is not considered a prestigious country in the World Cup, neither in terms of participation nor in terms of results. It participated only eight times, and did not achieve better than third place in 1966, and fourth in 2006. It was eliminated from the World Cup twice from the next round and the 16th round twice, and did not qualify in Two participations, knowing that she has not absented herself from participating since the 2002 World Cup. Ronaldo and his companions only have the 2016 European Championship and the 2019 Nations League Championship.
Like his first opponent in the international awards, Argentine Lionel Messi, Ronaldo enjoys the sympathy of the team’s players and help him finish his career with the award that usually crowns all other awards, especially since he is running the World Cup in Qatar at the age of thirty-seven.
Uruguay’s nightmare from Russia to Qatar
In the last World Cup, Portugal was disappointed in the round of 16, after topping its group with a draw with Iran, a victory over Morocco and an exciting draw with Spain 3-3. The three goals were scored by Ronaldo, who added a fourth goal in Morocco, but the Uruguayan cut off the “navigators” and shot down Ronaldo’s “hat-trick”, who scored more in the World Cup in Russia than he had scored in three previous World Cups!
Portugal, which topped the World Cup qualifiers in Russia with nine victories and one loss (27 points), with the strongest attack (32 goals) and the strongest defense (4 goals), did not qualify directly for the World Cup in Qatar, as it was three points behind Serbia, and was denied by the deadly minute goal in its own home. In front of Serbia from direct qualification to move to the playoffs. And defeating Macedonia, which had excluded Italy from the World Cup, before defeating Turkey and winning the World Cup card in Qatar.
The Uruguayan nightmare did not miss Portugal in the World Cup in Qatar. The meeting is renewed in Group H, which also includes Ghana and South Korea, which will facilitate qualification for the first two teams.
Portugal achieved good results in the European Nations League by coming second in Group B behind Spain by a point, achieving an important victory over Switzerland by four clean.
A star-studded assortment
Portugal coach Fernando Santos, who led the three major clubs in his country (Benfica, Porto and Sporting Lisbon) and previously led Greece in the 2014 World Cup and the European Nations Championship, confirms that his team’s ambitions are great, after completing a distinguished preparatory program, and with a star-studded squad led by Ronaldo.
Among the Portuguese stars in Qatar is a new Ronaldo, called the “Young Lion”, and he is Rafael Liao, the 23-year-old Milan striker, of Angolan origin. He scored the fastest goal in the Italian league and in the five major leagues (6.4 seconds), and the Rossoneri’s top scorer led him to the title. Critics describe him as a mixture of Liberian George Weah’s speed and the agility of French Thierry Henry, while the president of Lille club described him as Kylian Mbappe of Portugal.
The squad is fortified by the 39-year-old veteran defender Pepe, who is considered one of the most prominent defenders in the world, who equaled Figo in the number of matches with the national team (127 matches) after Moutinho and Ronaldo. He won the Euro 2016 championship and participated in the last two World Cups. He played with Real Madrid from 2007 to 2017, and played 334 matches with him.
In addition to Pepe, Lille player Jose Fonte, the heart of the solid defense, the Euro 2000 champion, who played for Sporting Lisbon, Porto, Vitoria Setubal, Benfica, Crystal Palace, Southampton, West Ham United and China’s Dalian.
Among the strikers is Andre Silva (26 years old) with RB Leipzig, who started with Porto and joined Milan, Seville and Eintracht Frankfurt. He is the second top scorer in the Bundesliga after Poland’s Robert Lewandowski (28 goals). He has been with the national team since 2016 and was part of the 2018 World Cup squad.
Another striker in the Qatar World Cup squad, Ricardo Horta, 27, who played for Benfica, Vitoriacúbal, Malaga and Sporting Braga, joined the national team in 2014.
In the middle, Joao Moutinho (25 years) stands out with Wolverhampton and before him with Sporting Lisbon, Porto and Monaco. He joined the national team in 2005 and participated in the 2014 and 2018 World Cups and the 2012 European Nations Championship.
There is Bernardo Silva, the Manchester City midfielder (27 years old), and he was the best player in the team in 2019, and won the League and the Federation Cup with him in his first season. He started in Benfica and then Monaco and won the French League 2017, and started with the national team in 2015 and participated in the 2017 Confederations Cup and the World Cup. 2018 and 2019 European Nations Finals and won the tournament and was named the best player.
Another striker after Ronaldo who made an impact in the English Premier League is Diogo Djota (25 years old), who joined Liverpool since 2020, who became the second player after his compatriot to score a hat-trick twice in the English Premier League.
With this squad of players around Ronaldo, who wants to leave Manchester United, and although he returned to training after an absence, he is still confused about his fate, and with this inappropriate atmosphere at the gates of the World Cup, coach Santos was asked about the inevitability of Ronaldo’s presence, and he said: “I prefer that he not be present in some matches, unlike others, he must be present because his influence is great, especially in the big matches.”
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