Football

Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal Begin the Chase for a Second Continental Championship in June

Ronaldo in Portugal national team shirt

Euro 2024 is right around the corner and the tournament has got the world talking. Portugal is one of the teams that will be contesting for the championship this year, and they have a decent chance at success, according to most bookmakers.

The Seleção will be appearing in their eighth consecutive European Championship, a run that dates back to the peak years of country legend Luis Figo. They are one of eight teams to have tasted success in this competition, dramatically winning Euro 2016. Portugal was considered underdogs in their matchup against France but were able to see off the host team thanks to a 20-yard strike by Éder in extra time.

The 2024 European Championship will be held in Germany this year, and while France and England are considered heavy favorites to win, the past years have shown us that any team can beat the odds in this competition. Portugal will, without a doubt, be one of the teams to beat this year as they boast one of the best squads in Europe. We take a deep look into Portugal’s title-winning chances and reasons why they shouldn’t be counted out of contention.

Portugal Has Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo’s peak may be behind him, but Portugal tickets will yet again be in high demand at the Euros as fans hope to see arguably the biggest sportsman alive on the pitch. The Ronaldo era has delivered on all fronts for the national team in this tournament. Since making his senior team debut in 2003, the legendary forward has helped the Seleção to three Euro semi-finals, two finals, and the country’s first European title. CR7 has been Portugal’s driving force, both on and off the pitch, and he will yet again be a key factor in their success this year. His excellent leadership and motivation have been the catalyst behind Portugal’s success in this tournament even when they had far worse teams, and we could see this on display this summer.

The Al-Nassr forward is widely considered one of the greatest football players of all time, and his resume is stacked with numerous records and accolades. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner holds the record for most international goals scored (128 in 206 appearances) and is nine goals shy of hitting the 900 career goal mark. At 39 years old, the Portuguese captain has shown that he still has what it takes to compete on the big stage. While he may not be the explosive scorer he once was during his peak at Real Madrid, Ronaldo has continued to beat father time in front of goal. He leads the Saudi Pro League in scoring this season and was the highest goal scorer in all competitions last year, with 54 goals scored for both club and country. Ronaldo was also the second top goalscorer in the Euro 2024 qualifiers, scoring 10 goals, including six in his last eight games.

This will likely be Ronaldo’s last tournament for Portugal, and the team will be beyond motivated to give their national hero a gracious bow-out, hopefully crowning the end of his illustrious international career with another European title. It remains to be seen if Portugal will rely heavily on their star’s brilliance as they’ve done throughout his tenure, but they certainly need him to succeed.


Roberto Martinez Has a Team of World-Class Talents

Aside from the Ronaldo factor, Portugal is a team stacked with world-class players across the board. While the Seleção may not have the strength in depth like teams such as France and England, they have just enough to make some noise in the summer.

Diogo Costa should get the nod as Roberto Martinez’s starting goalkeeper, although AS Roma No. 1 Rui Patricio could give him a run for his money. The former Belgium coach will rely on Ruben Dias to lead Portugal’s four-man defense. The Manchester City defender is a proven winner, with a Champions League and four consecutive Premier League titles to his belt. The center back could be joined by either the experienced 41-year-old Pepe, who is still going very strong at Porto, or 22-year-old Gonçalo Inácio, who will be making his Euro debut. Barcelona’s João Cancelo is the favorite to be Portugal’s starting left-back ahead of 21-year-old Nuno Mendes, while Nelson Semedo could potentially play on the right to give the team much-needed width.

The Seleção also boasts one of the best creative midfielders in the world right now Bruno Fernandes. The Manchester United star is the only member of the squad to feature in each of Roberto Martinez’s first 10 games since he became head coach and is a lock to start at center midfield. The other midfield positions remain open as Martinez could field Ruben Neves, Otávio, Vitinha, and talented Benfica youngster João Neves. One notable absentee could be Renato Sanches, who has endured an underwhelming season at Roma. As for the defensive midfield position, either João Palhinha or Danilo Pereira could take the starting spot.

Portugal’s forward line will feature Cristiano Ronaldo as center forward, while Bernardo Silva and Rafael Leão will take care of business on the flanks. Martinez will also have João Félix and Gonçalo Ramos as attacking options on the bench, while Liverpool forward Diogo Jota is in a race against time to be fully fit for Euro 2024.


Portugal’s Potential Opponents in Euro 2024

Portugal will begin their Euro 2024 campaign with a game against the Czech Republic at the Red Bull Arena on Tuesday, June 18. Martinez’s men will then take on Turkey and Georgia, fairly easy matchups that should see them top Group F. If they win the group, they could face runner-ups like Serbia, Croatia, or Switzerland in the RO16. Progressing past this round could see them going toe-to-toe with the Netherlands or Slovakia in the quarter-finals and Germany or Spain in the semi-finals. Should they scale past this hurdle, the Seleção could face either England or France in the final.

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