After shocking everyone to win the European Championship in 2016, the Portuguese will look to repeat that success in Russia.
Portugal World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide
Spearheaded by the irrepressible Cristiano Ronaldo – just the 15 goals for the captain in nine 2018 World Cup qualifiers – Portugal’s near faultless campaign of nine wins in 10 games only confirmed that the Selecao are experiencing a golden age.
Coach Fernando Santos has won all but one of the 17 qualifying matches that Portugal have played since he took the reins in September 2014, with the small matter of a European Championship triumph in the middle.
In what will be Ronaldo’s last shot at leading his country to the ultimate prize, Portugal travel to Russia in optimistic mood, although there are concerns about younger alternatives for central defenders Pepe, Jose Fonte and Bruno Alves – who have a combined age of over 100 years.
Related: World Cup Stadiums
Key Moments in Qualifying
Without the injured Ronaldo, the newly-crowned European Champions are brought back down to earth with a bump as Switzerland register a thoroughly deserved 2-0 victory in Basle.
Andre Silva becomes the youngest player ever to score a hat-trick for Portugal as they win 6-0 away to Faroe Islands.
A scrappy Andre Silva goal gives Portugal victory in a bad-tempered match in Budapest to effectively set up a decider against Switzerland.
A surprisingly straight-forward 2-0 triumph over the Swiss in Lisbon sees Portugal overtake their opponents at the top of the group and book their place in Russia.
Portugal World Cup Group
Portugal World Cup Friendlies
Portugal will kick off their 2018 international friendlies on the 23rd of March against Egypt and Mohamed Salah. They will then welcome the Netherlands to town three days later. A third friendly against England’s group opponents Tunisia will take place on the 28th of May. A big warm up match against Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Belgium is on the 2nd of June, and finally they will end their friendly campaign against Algeria a week before the tournament starts.
- 23rd March – Egypt
- 26th March – Netherlands
- 28th May – Tunisia
- 2nd June – Belgium
- 7th June – Algeria
Related: World Cup Friendlies
Portugal World Cup Fixtures
The first game in Group B for Portugal is against their rivals Spain on the 15th of June which will likely be one of the games of the tournament. The result will probably decide who tops the group, after which Portugal will then play Morocco and Iran on the 20th and 25th of June respectively.
- 15th June – Spain
- 20th June – Morocco
- 25th June – Iran
Related: World Cup Fixtures
Fernando Santos, age 63 (10.10.54)
Having replaced Paulo Bento, it is now three years at the helm for a man who can rightly be considered as the best coach in Portugal’s history. His current contract runs until 2020.
Andre Silva announced himself in style, scoring nine goals and forming a lethal partnership with Ronaldo.
Pepe remains the bedrock of Portugal’s defence, while Ricardo Quaresma and Joao Moutinho continue to make key contributions. For all three, Russia will be their final chance of World Cup glory.
Raphael Guerreiro, who missed much of the qualifying campaign, has proved himself to be a clone of his predecessor at left-back Fabio Coentrao: brilliant whenever he plays but extremely injury-prone.
Goncalo Guedes made two appearances in 2015 as an 18-year-old and returned to the side this year.
Portugal World Cup Squad
Portugal are yet to announce their 2018 World Cup squad.
Portugal World Cup Injuries
We will update you with injuries to Portuguese players regularly.
Related: World Cup TV Schedule
The Unanswered Questions
Have enough of the side had sufficient playing time this term?
While the current crop of young Portuguese talent has undoubtedly got potential, few can be considered regular starters for their club sides. What will time spent on the bench do for the match fitness and confidence levels of Andre Silva (Milan), Joao Mario (Internazionale) and Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)?
Will a lethal strike-force take its qualifying form to Russia?
For years Portugal struggled for a reliable goalscoring centre-forward, but that search looks to be over as Andre Silva has started his international career in spectacular fashion and has great chemistry with Ronaldo – they shared 24 goals in qualifying.
How will Santos use Bernardo Silva?
Silva is widely acknowledged as the biggest talent to come out of Portugal since Ronaldo, but Santos has struggled to get the best out of him. Wide right in a flat and narrow 4-4-2 is his usual position, but many are calling for the coach to implement a diamond formation with Silva at the attacking tip.
Don’t forget to follow World Soccer on Facebook, and Twitter.