Reigning Euros champions Portugal face arguably the toughest defence of their title in history this summer when they enter the ‘Group of Death’ alongside Germany and France at the 2020 tournament. Portugal stunned previous hosts France to win the 2016 trophy in Paris against Les Bleus and are underdogs for their Group F clash here.
With Germany currently floundering, Portugal is considered second favourites in their Euros group and should qualify for the knockout stage. This in itself would continue their record of progressing out of every Euros group they have ever competed in. Portugal has reached at least the quarter-finals in all seven of their Euros campaigns, made it to three semi-finals, lost the final in 2004 and famously stunned France five years ago to finally lift the trophy.
Of course, Portugal has superstars throughout their squad but that prowess wasn’t enough to secure them top spot in their Euros qualifying group. That campaign began draws at home to Ukraine and Serbia, which triggered the alarm back in Lisbon. The team turned their campaign around, however, and while they lost to Ukraine in Kiev to surrender top spot to Andriy Shevchenko’s side, the Portuguese nevertheless scraped into the Euros with a group-topping 22 goals scored.
Portugal plays a fairly consistent 4-3-3 formation that often opens up gaps for the opposition to exploit. There is a wealth of talent in midfield without there being a battle-hardened defensive midfielder to cover the back line. This means Portugal can often fling players forward at will and, while this leads to plenty of chances at one end, it exposes them to the break. This happened in the recent 2-2 draw with Serbia and is a shortcoming the head coach needs to address before coming up against France and Germany.
Mercifully for the boss, his first Portugal Euro game this summer is against Group F’s weakest side Hungary. Win this and all they will need is a point against either France or Germany to likely secure safe passage to the knockout stages. Two of Portugal’s games are taking place in Budapest, while the clash against Germany is penned in for Munich. Because of this the Portuguese FA have decided to base the team in Hungary.
Come second in their group and Portugal would likely face England in the round of 16 – a team they eliminated from the Euros in 2004 en route to the final.
Cristiano Ronaldo (c)
© 2023 Unibet Euro NO.
© 2023 Unibet Euro NO.