Portugal 2022 World Cup Preview: Can Ronaldo lead Portugal to the World Cup title?


Source: India TV News

FIFA ranking: 9

How they qualified: UEFA qualifying path C play-off winners

2018 World Cup performance: Round of 16

Previous World Cup appearances: 7

Best result: Third place (1966)



Source: AA

Portugal are back at their record sixth consecutive World Cup tournament and they will be hoping to beat their third-place finish from 1966. It wasn’t the easiest of qualifications campaigns, having finished second in their qualifying group behind Serbia despite only losing one game – controversially against the Serbs. This meant that A Seleção had to take part in the path C play-offs where they were pitted against Turkey, who they defeated 3-1 to set up an encounter with North Macedonia, who surprisingly dispatched Italy in their play-off match. Indeed, Portugal arguably might not even have qualified for the 2022 World Cup if Italy progressed instead of North Macedonia, a scenario that we will never know the result of. Portugal have not progressed beyond the round of 16 in their last three World Cup tournaments, but a strong squad and an experienced manager could be the right combination they need to finally reach the final of a World Cup.


The Coach – Fernando Santos

Source: Sportz Point

Fernando Santos will be one of the most experienced coaches at this winter’s World Cup, having a career in management spanning over 30 years. After a modest start to his managerial career at Estoril, Santos managed the ‘big three’ in Portugal (Porto, Benfica, and Sporting CP), as well as AEK Athens, Panathinaikos, and PAOK in Greece, before undertaking his first national team duties as the coach of Greece in 2010. Santos impressed as the boss of the Greek national team, leading them to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012, as well as the knockout stage of the 2014 World Cup – Greece’s first and only knockout stage at a World Cup.

Following that tournament, the Portuguese FA appointed Santos as their new coach after Paulo bento was fired due to poor results. Since that appointment, Santos led Portugal to a surprising Euro 2016 win, as well as the UEFA Nations League trophy in 2018-19. While Santos was able to deliver Portugal’s first and only major international trophy, cracks have begun to show, with many fans unconvinced that the 68-year-old is the man to lead Portugal to glory in Qatar.


Key Player – Cristiano Ronaldo

Source: Inside Sport

The greatest international goalscorer is back at his fifth World Cup and the 37-year-old will be Portugal’s greatest hope if they are to lift their first-ever World Cup trophy. While the Manchester United forward might not be as influential as in the past, he still finished as Portugal’s top scorer in qualifying with six goals, and he is still capable of creating moments of magic. Some fans feel like Ronaldo creates more problems than he solves, but 117 goals in 191 Portugal appearances say otherwise. This Portugal team is full of quality players, but Cristiano Ronaldo is still the first name on the team sheet, even at 37. The Portuguese talisman has won everything that there is to win, with 32 trophies including seven league titles in three different countries, five Champions League trophies, as well as the European Championship, but one trophy has eluded him thus far – the World Cup. At 37, this will be Ronaldo’s last World Cup and he will be determined to go out on a high.


Predicted Line-up


World Cup Chances

Source: Crowdfunder

Portugal only narrowly made it to the 2022 World Cup but looking at the names in their squad it is hard to argue against them being one of the favourites for the World Cup crown. Portugal have a favourable group including Uruguay, Ghana, and South Korea, but while each of these teams are weaker on paper, they can cause surprises. If Portugal manage to win their group, it is likely a repeat encounter with Serbia will follow in the round of 16, with Portugal failing to beat the Serbs in qualification.

The Portugal team is packed full of talented options in every department, perhaps only the centre-back position lacking, with Pepe the only quality partner for Manchester City’s Ruben Dias. While their defence can be shaky with no natural alternative for 39-year-old Pepe, many battles are won in midfield and Portugal possess one of the best midfields in the world, with players like Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, and Ruben Neves. Add that to a man named Cristiano Ronaldo upfront and teams at this winter’s World Cup should be scared of this Portugal team.


Comments are closed.