Portugal are hoping to win what will most definitely be Cristiano Ronaldo’s final tournament. However unlike the past few major tournaments they’ve been in, they won’t be able to just rely on him. In fact, Ronaldo has been nothing short of awful this season, failing again and again to score.
Strengths: Portugal has put together an incredible squad, loaded with talent. Young stars such as right back Joao Cancelo, winger Rafael Leao, defensive midfielder Ruben Neves, striker Joao Felix and attacking midfielder Bruno Fernandes will play pivotal roles, and hopefully make up for Ronaldo’s presence if he continues to play poorly. Bernardo Silva will likely be Portugal’s most important player; his ability to control the possession while playing final passes to the goalscorers will be key to Portugal’s goal-scoring.
Weaknesses: Portugal has one key weakness: keeping leads. At the heart of this problem is Ronaldo, whose poor defending and passing can cost the team matches. And it gets even worse when you consider that Ronaldo has just three total goals this season. If their star player continues to flail, Portugal could end up like Spain, with excellent build-up play but no goal scorer. Somebody has to step up.
It is ultimately clear that the Seleção das Quinas are finally a team that has evolved past reliance on Ronaldo. They have so much talent all over the field that will surely allow them to make a run in the tournament. Many fans are dreaming of a final matchup between Argentina and Portugal, a Messi versus Ronaldo matchup that would be riveting for the debate over who the GOAT of soccer is. With Portugal’s rising talent, that dream is not out of the question.