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
Portugal vs Morocco (20th June) Match Report
Portugal Starting XI: 1 Rui Patricio, 3 Pepe, 5 Paphael Guerreiro, 6 Jose Fonte, 7 Cristiano Ronaldo, 8 Joao Moutinho (23 Adrien Silva 89), 10 Joao Mario (16 Bruno Fernandes 70), 11 Bernardo Silva (18 Gelson Martins 59),14 William Carvalho, 17 Goncalo Guedes, 21 Cedric Soares
Morocco Starting XI: 12 El Kajoui, 2 Achraf Hakimi, 4 Manuel Da Costa, 5 Mehdi Benatia, 7 Hakim Ziyach, 8 Karim El Ahmadi (11 Faycal Fajr 86), 10 Younes Belhanda (23 Mehdi Carcela 75), 13 Khalid Boutaib (9 Ayoub El Kaabi 69), 14 Mbark Boussoufa, 16 Nordin Amrabat,17 Nabil Dirar
Portugal 1 Morocco 0
Portugal: Ronaldo 4
Another game, another goal for Cristiano Ronaldo, whose record-breaking early header was enough for Portugal to see off an energetic Morocco side who could consider themselves desperately unlucky to be heading out at the group stage.
Rather from seeking to extend their advantage after taking the early lead, Portugal stepped back and allowed Morocco to dominate for much of the game. The Moroccans had a host of chances to turn their dominace into goals but were halted by a combination of brilliant saves by Rui Patricio and their own profligacy, particular from captain Mehdi Benatia.
Ronaldo had strong claims for a penalty late in the game when he was tripped by Nordin Amrabat, while Pepe again blotted his copyboook by collapsing to the ground after being tapped on the shoulder by Benatia.
Matter of fact
Ronaldo scored his 85th international goal, eclipsing the total of Ferenc Puskas to become Europe’s leading goalscorer.
Goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo was named as the official man of the match, but any number of Morocco’s players – particularly Younes Belhanda and Hakim Ziyach – would have been more deserving of the award.
Possession (%): 46/54
Goal attempts: 10/16
Attempts on target: 4/10
Pass accuracy (%): 71/75
Distance covered (km): 105/107
Portugal vs Spain (15th June) Match Report
Can Cristiano Ronaldo inspire Portugal to another international trophy? – Match preview here
Portugal Starting XI: 1 Rui Patricio, 3 Pepe, 4 Raphael Guerreiro, 6 Jose Fonte, 7 Cristiano Ronaldo, 8 Joao Moutinho, 11 Bernardo Silva (20 Ricardo Quaresma 69), 14 William Carvalho, 16 Bruno Fernandes (10 Joao Mario 68), 17 Goncalo Guedes (9 Andre Silva 80), 21 Cedric Soares
Spain Starting XI: 1 David De Gea, 3 Gerard Pique, 4 Nacho, 5 Sergio Busquets, 6 Andres Iniesta (10 Thiago Alcantara 70), 8 Koke, 15 Sergio Ramos, 18 Jordi Alba, 19 Diego Costa (17 Iago Aspas 77), 21 David Silva (11 Lucas Vasquez 86), 22 Isco
Final Score – Portugal 3 Spain 3
Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo 4pen, 44, 88
Spain: Diego Costa 24, 55, Nacho 58
One of the most exhilarating games ever seen at a group stage of the World Cup. Spain appeared to be heading for victory after twice recovering to cancel out goals from Cristiano Ronaldo. A third goal, from Nacho’s spectacular volley, was a just reward for Spain’s intricate and intense passing. But Ronaldo had the last word when he completed his hat-trick with a superb free-kick with two minutes of normal time remaining.
Man of the match
Cristiano Ronaldo joined the small list of players who have scored in four World Cups.
Matter of fact
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the 51st hat-rick of his career. It was also the 51st hat-trick scored as a World Cup.
This was the first game in charge for Spain’s interim coach Fernando Hierro following the sacking of Real Madrid-bound Julen Lopetegui. But their opening two goals – the first set up by a long ball, the second via a set-piece – were not typically Spanish.
Possession (%): 39/61
Goal attempts: 8/12
Attempts on target: 3/5
Pass accuracy (%): 87/93
Distance covered (km): 102/103
Portugal World Cup 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.
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 kicked off their 2018 international friendlies on the 23rd of March against Egypt and Mohamed Salah and a 2-1 win. They then lost to the Netherlands three days later. Two draws against Tunisia and Belgium followed, and finally, on the 7th of June, they beat Algeria 3-0.
- 23rd March – Egypt (won 2-1)
- 26th March – Netherlands (lost 3-0)
- 28th May – Tunisia (drew 2-2)
- 2nd June – Belgium (drew 0-0)
- 7th June – Algeria (won 3-0)
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.
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
Final 23-man squad-
GOALKEEPERS: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Goztepe), Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon)
DEFENDERS: Bruno Alves (Rangers), Cedric Soares (Southampton), Jose Fonte (Dalian Yifang), Mario Rui (Napoli), Pepe (Besiktas), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Ricardo Pereira (Porto), Ruben Dias (Benfica)
MIDFIELDERS: Adrien Silva (Leicester), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting Lisbon), Joao Mario (West Ham), Joao Moutinho (AS Monaco), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv Moscow), William Carvalho (Sporting)
Portugal World Cup Injuries
We will update you with injuries to Portuguese players regularly.
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 (West Ham) 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.
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