Portugal Euro 2016 Preview

Cristiano Ronaldo will look to add to his already impressive trophy cabinet as the Portugal Euro 2016 campaign kicks off on June 14th.

The Squad

Keepers: Eduardo (Dinamo Zagreb), Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Rui Patrício (Sporting CP)

Defenders: Bruno Alves (Fenerbahçe), Ricardo Carvalho (Monaco), Cédric (Southampton), Eliseu (Benfica), José Fonte (Southampton), Pepe (Real Madrid), Raphael Guerreiro (Lorient)

Midfielders: Adrien Silva (Sporting CP), André Gomes (Valencia), Danilo (Porto), João Mário (Sporting CP), João Moutinho (Monaco), Rafa Silva (Braga), Renato Sanches (Benfica), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg), William Carvalho (Sporting CP)

Forwards: Éder (LOSC), Nani (Fenerbahçe), Ricardo Quaresma (Beşiktaş), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

Recent Tournament History

The two most recent international tournament appearances for Portugal have provided results on opposite ends of the success spectrum. In Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, they found themselves in a strong group (Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands). They managed to come second in the group stage, and after beating the Czech Republic (1-0) in the quarter-finals, they were headed to the semi-finals to take on Spain. Portugal managed to take the eventual Champions of the tournament to a penalty shoot-out, but lost it 4-2.

Fast forward two years to Brazil and World Cup 2014: Portugal, again, found themselves in a very tough group, (Germany, United States of America, and Ghana) perceived by many as the tournament’s Group of Death. And, like the Euros two years earlier, they found themselves losing to the eventual champions of the tournament (4-0, Germany). However, this time around, it was not in the semi-finals, but in their first match. Portugal went on to manage a draw (USA) and a win (Ghana), but it wasn’t enough to see them through to the knockout stages, as they finished third.

Qualifying

After the groups they had been placed in for the aforementioned tournaments, Group I (Albania, Denmark, Serbia, and Armenia) of the qualifying stages for Euro 2016 would’ve been the best Portugal could ask for in their quest to forget Brazil. This was easily one of the weakest groups of the qualifying rounds and Portugal took full advantage. They won seven of their eight matches and easily topped the group, booking their tickets to France. They scored a total of eleven goals in their eight matches and finished with a goal difference of +6.

Through the qualifying group stage, the team was led by none other than Ronaldo with five goals (including a hat-trick against Armenia). João Moutinho added two goals and four others added one goal each.

Group F

Much like the qualifying group, Portugal will be salivating over the seemingly soft group they have been drawn into for the tournament proper. Along with Portugal, Group F is made up of Hungary, Austria, and Iceland. Advancing to the knockout stages will be a foregone conclusion for Portugal, who will be looking ahead to the knockout stages.

As was seen in qualifying, as Ronaldo goes, so goes Portugal. And you can bet that the Real Madrid man will be looking to make what could be one of his last international tournaments a memorable one for Portuguese fans.


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