Portugal World Cup 2022 preview – prediction, fixtures, squad, star player – Sports Mole

Portugal are not considered among the favourites to win the World Cup in Qatar, but there is no question that they have the squad capable of making a serious impression in the competition.
A Selecao finished third at the 1966 World Cup and fourth at the 2006 competition, in addition to group-stage exits in 1986, 2002 and 2014.
Portugal have been present in the round of 16 in two of their last three participations, meanwhile, and they will be expected to advance through the group stage of the 2022 competition.
Portugal players pose for a team group photo before the match in September 2022Β© Reuters
Led by Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal have a squad packed full of talent from back to front, and they have enjoyed recent success at international level, winning Euro 2016 and the Nations League in 2018-19.

The Selection also have a vastly experienced head coach, in addition to plenty of players that have proved themselves at the top level, and they could be considered as potential dark horses for the trophy.
Here, Sports Mole previews Portugal’s chances at the 2022 World Cup.

Portugal will feature in Group H, with their opening game of the tournament set to take place against Ghana on November 24, and a victory would leave them in a strong position ahead of their next two games.
World Cup Group H
Arguably, the team’s toughest match in the section will come against Uruguay on November 28, but it does look to be an open group, with all four sides capable of picking up positive results.
Portugal’s last game in Group H will be against a dangerous South Korea outfit on December 2.
November 24: Portugal vs. Ghana (4pm, Stadium 974, Doha)
November 28: Portugal vs. Uruguay (7pm, Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail)
December 2: South Korea vs. Portugal (3pm, Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan)

Portugal qualified for the finals of the 2022 World Cup courtesy of a 2-0 victory over North Macedonia in the final of the playoffs, with Bruno Fernandes netting twice for Santos’s side.
The national team finished second in Group A behind Serbia, which meant that they missed out on the chance to automatically qualify for the competition.
Portugal's Bruno Fernandes celebrates scoring against North Macedonia on March 29, 2022Β© Reuters
Portugal won five, drew two and lost one of their eight games in the group, but it was not enough to finish above a strong Serbia, which led to them having to take part in the playoffs.
The Selection were given a scare against Turkey in the semi-finals, with Burak Yilmaz missing the chance to level the scores at 2-2 from the penalty spot in the 85th minute, before Matheus Nunes came off the bench to make it 3-1 to the home side in Porto.
As mentioned, Portugal then overcame North Macedonia, with Fernandes scoring in the 32nd minute before netting another 25 minutes from time, and it proved to be a relatively comfortable final for the hosts.

Portugal will play once more before beginning their World Cup campaign against Ghana on November 24, with Santos’s side set to take on Nigeria in a pre-tournament friendly on November 17.
Portugal's Bruno Fernandes celebrates scoring their second goal with Mario Rui and Cristiano Ronaldo on September 24, 2022Β© Reuters
Since beating North Macedonia to qualify for the World Cup, Portugal have played six times in the UEFA Nations League, boasting a record of three wins, one draw and two defeats.
Santos’s team beat Switzerland and Czech Republic at home back in June, in addition to drawing 1-1 with Spain and losing 1-0 to Switzerland in the reverse fixture.
The team’s two September fixtures saw them beat Czech Republic 4-0 and lose 1-0 at home to Spain, which left them second in their section, one point behind Spain, who have advanced to the next round.

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It’s π—’π—™π—™π—œπ—–π—œπ—”π—Ÿ: this is our squad for the @FIFAWorldCup ! πŸ† #WearTheFlag pic.twitter.com/2LwDfWrVVG
Goalkeepers: Diogo Costa (Porto), Jose Sa (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Rui Patricio (Roma)
Defenders: Diogo Dalot (Manchester United), Joao Cancelo (Manchester City), Danilo Pereira (Paris Saint-Germain), Pepe (Porto), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Antonio Silva (Benfica), Nuno Mendes (Paris Saint-Germain), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund)
Midfielders: Joao Palhinha (Fulham), Ruben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Joao Mario (Benfica), Matheus Nunes (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Vitinha (Paris Saint-Germain), William Carvalho (Real Betis), Otavio (Porto)
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid), Rafael Leao (AC Milan), Ricardo Horta (Braga), Goncalo Ramos (Benfica), Andre Silva (RB Leipzig)

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo during training on November 14, 2022Β© Reuters
Ronaldo has found it difficult to show his best form for Manchester United during the 2022-23 campaign, only scoring three times in 16 appearances for the club, in addition to contributing two assists.
He did not feature in his side’s final two games ahead of the competition, meanwhile, missing the EFL Cup contest with Aston Villa and Premier League clash with Fulham due to illness, and his explosive interview with Piers Morgan has dominated the headlines this week.
The forward remains Portugal’s most important player, though, boasting the most caps (191) and most goals (117) for the European nation, and he will have to be at his best if A Selecao are going to make a big impression.
Ronaldo has scored seven goals and registered two assists in 17 appearances at the finals of the World Cup, and he will be playing at his fifth World Cup, which is some achievement.
In 2018, he scored a hat-trick against Spain before registering against Morocco but then was unable to find the back of the net against either Iran or Uruguay.
Portugal have a number of talented midfielders and forwards who will be expected to contribute goals at the tournament in Qatar, but Ronaldo remains the standout figure for the Selection.

Portugal manager Fernando Santos on September 24, 2022Β© Reuters
Santos has been Portugal’s head coach since September 2014, taking charge of 103 matches, boasting a record of 63 wins, 23 draws and 17 defeats.
As mentioned, the 68-year-old has enjoyed success while at the helm, winning Euro 2016 and the UEFA Nations League in 2018-19, in addition to finishing third at the FIFA Confederations Cup back in 2017.
Portugal only just squeezed into the finals, having to advance through the playoffs, but he has plenty of big-game experience and will rely on his senior players at the competition in Qatar.
Santos, who has managed Porto, Sporting Lisbon and Benfica, was in charge of Greece for four years before he took on the job for the Portuguese national side.

Best finish: Third (1966)
Eusebio pictured for Benfica during his playing careerΒ© Reuters
Portugal’s best performance at a World Cup remains their third-place finish back in 1966.
The Selection finished top of Group 3 by winning all three of their games against Hungary, Bulgaria and Brazil, before recording a 5-3 victory over North Korea in the quarter-finals of the competition.
Portugal were then beaten 2-1 by England in the semi-finals, but they won the third-place playoff against Soviet Union, recording a 2-1 victory, and Eusebio finished as the leading goalscorer in the tournament with nine.
The European nation were eliminated in the group stage in 1986, 2002 and 2014, but they reached the round of 16 in both 2010 and 2018.
Portugal’s second-best performance at the finals of the competition came back in 2006, meanwhile, when they claimed fourth position.
Indeed, having topped Group D, the national side beat the Netherlands and England in the last-16 stage and quarter-finals respectively, before losing 1-0 to France in the semi-finals; A Selecao then lost 3-1 to Germany in the third-place playoff.

We are fully expecting Portugal to top Group H despite it being a difficult section, which could see the national side take on Serbia in the last-16 stage of the competition.
Santos’s side should have too much for Serbia, but they might then run into Spain in the quarter-finals, and we would have to side with La Roja in a battle between the two rivals.
As a result, it could be a quarter-final exit for Portugal, which would be their best run in the competition since finishing fourth at the 2006 tournament in Germany.
VERDICT: Quarter-finals


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