Promising so much but often delivering well below expectations, Portugal have been something of a mystery in recent years.
On their day Portugal are capable of beating anyone, as last year’s 4-0 demolition of Spain proved. But how many days can they put together?
FIFA Ranking: 5
Elo Ranking: 8
Best Performance at European Championships: Runners up (2004)
Portugal have twice made the semi-final stages of the European Championships, in 1984 and in 2000 when they were beaten by France on both occasions. Their best performance came in 2004, when they hosted the tournament. However, they were beaten 2-1 in the final by surprise winners, Greece.
How they qualified: Runners up in Group H (beat Bosnia 6-2 on aggregate in playoff)
Portugal made life difficult for themselves in qualifying, having endured some almost catastrophic results. A 4-4 draw with Cyprus and a 1-0 loss to Norway at the start of their campaign meant that they were always attempting to catch up with group winners, Denmark. Portugal only managed second by virtue of a better goal difference than Norway.
The first leg of the playoff with Bosnia suggested they would continue to struggle, as the Bosnians held them to a 0-0 draw. However, Portugal turned on the style in the second leg and Ronaldo and Postiga scored two each in a 6-2 rout.
The Boss: Paulo Bento
Bento had a highly successful playing career, holding down midfield berths at Benfica, Oviedo, Sporting and Portugal national side. He gained 35 caps for his country before retiring to become youth team coach at Sporting. Despite his relative youth and inexperience he was handed the full manager’s job in October 2005.
He led the side to two Portuguese cups and consecutive runners up spots in 2008 and 2009. Bento resigned in November 2009 and was given the task of saving face following Portugal’s humiliating start to the qualification campaign.
One to watch: Hugo Almeida (Besiktas)
While there are certainly more renowned Portuguese forwards, the fate of their campaign will rest on how well their lead striker can do. With Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo either side of him, Hugo Almeida should have plenty of opportunities. However, converting chances has long been a problem for Portugal. If the striker finds his form then there are few more fearsome attacking lineups.
Portugal usually opt for a very open 4-3-3 formation. Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani play either side of Hugo Almeida, with Raul Meireles, Joao Moutinho and Miguel Veloso preferred in recent matches. Bruno Alves and Pepe are the usual pairing at centre-back, with Joao Pereira (right) and Fabio Coentrao (left) in the full-back positions.
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