Euro 2012 - Team profile: Portugal

Wed, 30 May 13:13:00 2012

Portugal, haunted by past failings, were the last team to qualify for Euro 2012 and despite a place alongside Germany, Netherlands and Denmark in the 'group of death', they are no underdogs, aiming at least for a place in the quarter-finals.

Cristiano Ronaldo - 0

The football-mad Portuguese cannot understand how they let slip their first major success when they lost to Greece in the final of Euro 2004 in Lisbon. Eight years on, it still hurts.

Although that ghost survives, Portugal, having qualified for a seventh consecutive major championship, are confident and determined to capitalise on a stellar midfield and the talent of the world's most expensive player.

Cristiano Ronaldo, 27, is in his prime and he does not hide his ambition.

"These are the colours we will defend in the Euro with one single objective: to conquer it," he wrote on his Facebook page next to a photo of Portugal's new secondary kit - a white shirt, with a green and red St. George's cross, the symbol Portugal used in the era of great maritime discoveries.

Ronaldo may be galvanised by his incessant dazzling displays with Real Madrid, but coach Paulo Bento is more down-to-earth.

"We want to go as far as possible, and our first objective is the quarter-finals, that is what is set out at the moment," Bento told reporters.

His Portugal have flair in attack and a resolute defence, qualities forged through a tough, and memorable, qualifying passage.

Euro 2012 seemed little more than a mirage after they opened with a 4-4 draw with Cyprus and a 1-0 loss to Norway and lagged second from last in Group H. Carlos Queiroz was suspended and Portugal were managed by an interim coach.

But, after Bento took over, in September, 2010, he secured five consecutive wins. When they lost to Denmark and slipped into the play-offs, Portugal stayed cool - before storming to a 6-2 aggregate victory over Bosnia.

Portugal were runners-up in Euro 2004, reached the semis in Euro 2000 and the quarters of Euro 2008. Two years ago, their South Africa World Cup campaign ended in a defeat to eventual champions Spain in the last 16.

The flamboyance and firepower of Ronaldo and Manchester United's Nani should ensure excitement on the wings while busy Porto midfielder Joao Moutinho, Chelsea's Raul Meireles and Real Madrid centre-back Pepe, if needed, are leading midfield options.

In defence, Zenit St Petersburg's Bruno Alves, and Pepe, offer combative power and experience, though this is the area of greatest uncertainty after coach Bento fell out with experienced defenders Ricardo Carvalho and Jose Bosingwa.

Real Madrid's Carvalho announced his retirement from international football last year, saying he had been disrespected by Bento, while Bosingwa vowed never to play while Bento is in charge.

Their absences will be felt, but it may be that Portugal's attack carries the greatest concerns.

Strikers Hugo Almeida and Helder Postiga seek to silence critics who claim Portugal's abundance of flair has been let down for years by the absence of a top striker since Eusebio in the 1960s - and that without goals, they have little hope.

Portugal, haunted by past failings, were the last team to qualify for Euro 2012. - 2

Reuters

Comment 1 - 15 of 15

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  1. Hey Istina Portugal are definetley going through the­ first they probably won't but they will get through­ because Netherlands are not the team that they used to­ be for me they are not one of the strongest team so­ Portugal are going through.

    From Prince Chidera, on Mon 4 Jun 15:35
  2. Hoping to see Portugal and Germany go on to the next­ round. Good luck Portugal!

    From maria, on Thu 31 May 17:20
  3. too bad they are in the group of death...

    From Nastytackle, on Wed 30 May 17:04
  4. Have you been playing Fifa Ultimate team, eurosport?­ Looks it with that last graph.

    From Icantsplel, on Wed 30 May 16:59
  5. @FB: wait a second longer; we're still working on­ the Cup of Idiots which you just won!

    From Juan P, on Wed 30 May 16:47
  6. People giving Holland to much credit. Yes they were in­ finals last WC but they aren't the same anymore. I­ think that Germany and Portugal will come out of this­ group. I just don't see Holland reaching the same­ level of play they were at last WC.

    From , on Wed 30 May 15:44
  7. Portugal deserved to win in 04. Hopefully going in as­ the underdogs will benefit them.

    From Tk, on Wed 30 May 15:44
  8. Portugal to be eliminated in first round, there is NO­ way they will get out of group stage, no way

    From Ronaldinho, on Wed 30 May 15:18
  9. FB, maybe next time you actually learn how to interpret­ the graphics before unleashing your own load of BS.­ It's Ronaldo who is being rated in heading,­ dribbling, finishing and work rate. And yes, he's­ better than any individual player Germany or the­ Netherlands might have.

    From Sérgio, on Wed 30 May 15:07
  10. People who see plenty of goals in Portugal are mad.

    From FB, on Wed 30 May 14:38
  11. Eurosport must have the worst analysts. These graphs­ are pure BS, rating Portugal higher than Germany and­ Holland in finishing and headers dribbling and­ workrate. What a joke. thx for wasting my time.

    From FB, on Wed 30 May 14:37
  12. I really can't see them beating Holland or Germany.

    From jasper, on Wed 30 May 14:22
  13. Very generous team attributes. With no striker its very­ difficult to give them a team attack of 9, sure Ronaldo­ and Nani from midfield - but they cant be expected to­ score all the goals. I give them about a 3% chance of­ making it past Germany and the Netherlands.

    From Kaiser_Wilhelm_I, on Wed 30 May 13:46
  14. still no decent striker in the squad. The midfield is­ amazing, with plenty of goals there, but you still need­ someone to hold the ball up front for you. Always a­ good team to watch Portugal, shame england couldn't­ nick a few of their spare midfielders to replace­ plodders like milner and barry!

    From MP, on Wed 30 May 13:45
  15. Ronaldo passing - 8. how can they possibly tell after­ only seeing two passes all season?

    From tony, on Wed 30 May 13:33
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