The Portuguese have been in poor form in recent competition and will be looking to improve at Euro 2016. In recent times Portugal have been expected to be competing for trophies consistently and have been very disappointing on more than one occasion. Their best results were a final in the 2004 Euro's and a Semi-final appearance in the 2006 World Cup, unfortunately since then Portugal have failed to make a serious impression at any major competition which is extremely worrying for a side that contains arguably the best player in the world.
Recent qualifying campaigns have been tricky for Portugal but this was seemed anything but as they earned 21 points from their 8 games with only 1 loss coming in their very first game ,1-0 at home to Albania. After this the Portuguese FA acted quickly in sacking manager Paulo Bento and replaced him with the experienced coach Fernando Santos who put this bad result behind both him and his team as they went on to win all of their following fixtures. Worryingly though, they only scored 11 goals and surprisingly only won each of their games by a single goal, which is poor for a side who has so much quality in attack.
Their frontline is one of the most feared in international football as it includes none other than Cristiano Ronaldo who was Portugal's top goalscorer in qualifying netting 5 goals in only 8 games, but even without the obvious threat of the number 7, Portugal are still a high quality side. Joao Moutinho the Monaco midfielder is regarded as one of the best midfielder's in European football and is a vital cog in the Portuguese side as this play maker tends to find the gaps for Ronaldo to exploit. Others in the squad include former Manchester United star Nani and Real Madrid's attacking full back Fabio Coentrao both capable of goals with 1 each during qualifying for Euro 2016.
Realistically though if this team are to reach the later stages of the tournament they will be very dependent on Ronaldo bringing home the bacon and as 47 goals in 44 appearances this season shows he is more than capable of producing.
Portugal will need a miracle to take home the Trophy from France, but if you need a footballing miracle then they may have the best player in the world for it in Cristiano Ronaldo. He will be looking to prove himself on the international stage and join the greats such as Maradona and Pele, who have not only had club success but gone on to prove themselves with their national sides and win various trophies. These great names did not achieve these feats single handed as the Brazilian team of the 60's and 70's were among the greatest of them all and the Argentina sides of the 80's were not too bad either.
Unfortunately the Portugal team of 2016 is not in the caliber of either of those sides and their sights will have to be set a lot lower for this nation as realistically a Quarter-final is the best they can hope for.
|Belgium / Netherlands||2000||Semi-finals||3|
|Austria / Switzerland||2008||Quarter-finals||7|
|Poland / Ukraine||2012||Semi-finals||3|
Portugal usually find a way through to the later stages of the competition, although they have never won the European Championships, they came close - filling the runners-up berth on home soil back in 2004. They have experience and talent but will it be enough to see them through this time around.
|14.06.16||17.00||Austria||0 - 2||Hungary|
|14.06.16||20.00||Portugal||1 - 1||Iceland|
|18.06.16||17.00||Iceland||1 - 1||Hungary|
|18.06.16||20.00||Portugal||0 - 0||Austria|
|22.06.16||17.00||Iceland||2 - 1||Austria|
|22.06.16||17.00||Hungary||3 - 3||Portugal|
Portugal are drawn in Group F and this is expected to be a straight shoot out between them and Austria. The young Austrian side will be trying to prove themselves at Euro 2016 and their first test will be when they encounter this Portuguese side in an encounter that will surely decide who wins the group.
Many expect Portugal to get past Austria and top the table but we've got a sneaky feeling Austria will come out on top and demote Portugal to second place. Iceland make their first appearance at a major championships and will have nothing to lose in their clash against Portugal as they will be looking to prove something by getting a result against this star studded side. The final team is Hungary, while very well drilled and very professional, lack the options for goals as many of the other sides in France and Portugal will be expected to blow this side away.
Portugal should qualify comfortably but if Austria do turn them over, it would mean they would realistically need 6 points from the other 2 games to ensure qualification, this will be tricky and it could make for an early shock at Euro 2016. Portugal should scrape through their group in either 1st or 2nd place. After this they will certainly struggle as they do not have a deep squad and are mainly reliant on one man to get them goals.
Below is a list of the 4 teams drawn in Group F and their FIFA World Ranking, as you can see, Portugal are the highest ranked team, with Austria coming in a close 2nd.
There was a distinct lack of goals during qualifying, however Ronaldo managed to net himself a 5 goal haul with Joao Moutinho the second leading Portuguese goalscoring during qualifying with a paltry 2 goals. If Portugal do not buck up their ideas this summer, they'll find themselves on an early flight home.
Portugal will be hoping to get through Group F pretty comfortably, but with Austria in the same draw it will be very difficult to claim the top spot. Their fixture on the 18th June will be pivotal in determining the finishing positions of these sides as the winner of this tie will undoubtedly take top spot and ensure an easier passage through into the knockout stages.
Portugal will have to be at their very best here if they are to top the group but they don't always perform in the early stages of big competitions and Austria are tipped to come out on top of the group. The last 16 of the competition could throw up a few shocks and a Portugal loss could be one of them. They are likely to draw the runners-up of Group B if they qualify in 2nd place, which I'll stick my neck on the line and predict it's going to be Wales, a lacklustre Portuguese team may struggle to contain the revitalised Gareth Bale so it looks like stormy seas ahead.
There is only one man people will be tuning in to watch when Portugal step on the field in France, and that man is Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the most decorated players in world football. His goal return is phenomenal and he will surely be going all out to add an international trophy to his already glittering collection of accolades.
Portugal tend to play a passing style of football but do like to attack quickly on the counter with their speed in wide areas. They do possess creative talent in midfield who can manipulate the game if allowed to do so, however, they may not be able to at Euro 2016 as they might not have as much time on the ball as they are used to.
Their goals mainly come from counter attacks with the wingers cutting inside from either side and are usually at their best when a team comes onto them and pushes it's defence up. Ronaldo is usually heavily relied upon to score goals but is not the only outlet as there is still plenty of goals from midfield. A negative is that Portugal do not have a prolific striker who can hold the ball up and allow the rest of the team to get into the game, this may be a worry if they can reach the later stages of the tournament as the quality teams should be able to nullify the wide men.