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Euro 2020 team guide: Portugal profile
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Tom Bodell
Portugal are one of the favourites for Euro 2020
Portugal are one of the favourites for Euro 2020

Portugal arrive at Euro 2020 with arguably the most potent set of attacking weapons of any competing nation.

It took an extra-time goal from Swansea flop Eder to secure victory over hosts France in the final in 2016 but the holders will be the envy of many this time around.

Placed in the group of death alongside Germany, Les Bleus and Hungry, Fernando Santos' side cannot afford any slip-ups if they are to successfully defend their title.


Cristiano Ronaldo is, of course, the headline grabber and the 36-year-old is one goal away from overtaking French legend Michel Platini to become the all-time leading scorer in European Championship history.

Portugal also boast the attacking talents of Atletico Madrid star Joao Felix, Liverpool hitman Diogo Jota and Andre Silva, who is coming off a stellar 28-goal season with Eintracht Frankfurt.

Portugal have a rich European Championship history. As well as lifting the trophy in France, they reached the 2004 final on home soil and have three further semi-final appearances on their CV.

Hungary are up first and anything other than a win could be disastrous against the group minnows.

Heavyweight clashes against Germany and France follow and there is every chance the tournament winners will come from Group F.

How they qualified

Despite their array of talent, Portugal only finished as runners-up in Group B, three points shy of unbeaten table-toppers Ukraine.

Draws against the Ukrainians and Serbia in their first two games handed Andriy Shevchenko’s side an early advantage and they never relinquished it.

From there on, Portugal dropped just three points — a 2-1 reverse in Kyiv — to edge out third-placed Serbia.

The highlight of their qualifying campaign was a 5-1 win in Lithuania, which saw Ronaldo notch four times.

The line-up

Ruben Dias will hope to take his Premier League form into Euro 2020
Ruben Dias will hope to take his Premier League form into Euro 2020

Things have been fairly settled for Portugal ahead of Euro 2020, with experienced head coach Santos settling on a 4-3-3 system.

The backline is marshalled by Manchester City’s defensive rock Ruben Dias, with both Lille’s title-winning captain Jose Fonte, 37, and Pepe, 38, thoroughly experienced partners.

At full-back, Nelson Semedo and Joao Cancelo will compete for the right-back spot, while Sporting’s title-winning Nuno Mendes has the job sewn up on the left.

In midfield, Manchester United talisman Bruno Fernandes and Wolves ace Ruben Neves look nailed on to start. But whether Bernardo Silva completes that trio or plays further forward remains to be seen.

If it is the latter, one of Danilo Pereira or Joao Moutinho will add midfield ballast. Renato Sanches, another member of Lille’s Ligue 1-winning side, is also in contention.

Skipper Ronaldo will lead the line, with two from Jota, Felix and and the two Silvas flanking him.

Star man: Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo will be gunning for more silverware
Cristiano Ronaldo will be gunning for more silverware

Fresh from another record-breaking season with Juventus, Portugal’s talismanic captain has further international glory in his sights.

Serie A's top scorer in 2020-21 with 29 goals, he also became the first player to secure every major domestic trophy in England, Spain and Italy — all while reaching the 100-goal mark for the Bianconeri.

A single strike will make him the top scorer in European Championship history with 10 goals, while a further seven are required to overtake Iran’s Ali Daei as the leading marksman in the history of men’s international football.

Ronaldo has described winning the Euros in 2016 as ‘the most important trophy’ of his unparalleled career, despite being forced off injured in the final.

It would take a brave person to bet against the former Real Madrid and Manchester United man adding a second European Championship trophy to his collection.

Up-and-comer: Pedro Goncalves

It was an unforgettable season for Sporting and young attacker Pedro Goncalves, who bagged 23 goals in 32 appearances to inspire the Lions to their first title success since 2002.

Formerly of Wolves, 23-year-old Goncalves always had talent but found opportunities outside of the Midland outfit's Under-23 team hard to come by.

After a single substitute outing in the League Cup he departed for Familicao, where five Primeira Liga goals in 33 outings convinced Sporting to part with £5.85million to sign him. 

But it is at Sporting where Goncalves — nominally an attacking midfielder — has exploded onto the scene, becoming the first domestic winner of the Golden Boot since Domingos Pacienca in 1996.

The boss: Fernando Santos

Appointed in 2014, Santos succeeded Paulo Bento after a poor run of results, culminating in a 1-0 defeat to Albania in Euro 2016 qualification.

He has subsequently guided Portugal to Euros glory and lifted the 2018-19 Nations League by beating the Netherlands in the inaugural final.

A former Greece national team manager, Santos was previously in charge at Porto, Sporting and Benfica.

The 66-year-old’s lengthy coaching career has also taken him via AEK Athens, Panathinaikos and PAOK, before switching to international management in 2010 with the Greeks. 

All information correct as of midday, June 4, 2021


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