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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Group G - Portugal

Nickname – Selecção das Quinas

WORLD CUP QUALIFYING

A blessing was the least to say about the qualifying round when you mention Portugal’s name. They had to wait until the final game before they manage to book a deserved place in the playoff. They did not perform throughout the whole qualifying round as expected, but still dealt well with the pressure prior to the playoff against Bosnia which they won with an aggregate 2-0. 5 wins, 4 draws, 1 loss in a group with Albania, Hungary, Sweden, Denmark & Malta.

H2H

Jun 15 Pt Elizabeth Ivory Coast v Portugal - No matches played. Last 2 games played against European nations saw them getting away draws against Germany and Turkey. Their last defeat against European side was in 2007. Not even after the first airplane got into the air in 1907 an African nation defeated Portugal. That is why history is about to be made in this crucial match from the Group G.

Jun 21 Cape Town Portugal v North Korea - Only one match between these teams. The nostalgia takes us to the 23 of July, 1966. North Korea was winning 3-0 while clock was saying 24 minutes but then Portugal had to make it and inflict an unforgivable defeat by 5-3 with a poker from Mozambican Portuguese forward Eusebio. Can they be a nuclear threat to Portugal this time? If Tsubasa can make it in the cartoons why can’t North Korea in reality? LOL

Jun 25 Durban Portugal v Brazil - Portugal lost 11 times against Brazil, won 4 times and they drew twice. Even though Brazil stunned Portugal with a 6-2 recent win, in their last 4 encounters Portugal won 2 and drew 1. The difference between the 2 nations rely that Brazil often wins by bigger margins 6-2, 4-0, 0-4, 3-1, 4-1 and Portugal wins 2-0, 2-1, 3-1, 1-0. The biggest win Portugal had against Brazil was the only time they played each other for a major competition, the 1966 World Cup, 3-1. So what will stand out? The winner of the friendly matches or the winner of the real competitions?

Goalkeepers: Beto (Porto), Daniel Fernandes (Iraklis), Eduardo (Braga)

Defenders: Fabio Coentrao (Benfica), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Bruno Alves (Porto), Rolando (Porto), Ricardo Costa (Lille), Duda (Malaga), Pepe (Real Madrid), Miguel (Valencia)

Midfielders: Tiago (Atletico Madrid), Deco (Chelsea), Raul Meireles (Porto), Nani (Manchester United), Miguel Veloso (Sporting Lisbon), Pedro Mendes (Sporting Lisbon)

Strikers: Simao Sabrosa (Atletico Madrid), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen), Liedson (Sporting Lisbon), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Danny (Zenit St Petersburg)

FORMATION

Queiróz uses a conservative 4-5-1 relying on the creativity and spontaneous edge from Portuguese midfielders. Eduardo; Coentrão, Duda/Miguel, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho; Raul Meireles, Tiago/Pedro Mendes, Deco, Cristiano Ronaldo, Simão/Nani, Liedson.

BEST PLAYERS

Raul Meireles had a 32 matches played this season with 2 goals and 7 assists to his name. The Porto’s defensive midfielder is a gladiator in the field. He is the player that destroys the opponent’s game-play and has the ability to launch a threat counter. He has a strong tackling precision that allows him to win most of the challenges but is also the player that stimulates the will of the team with his never-say-no to a challenge approach.

Cristiano Ronaldo already the won the World’s best player award and committed himself to do it again. The first season at Real Madrid proved to be a success with 33 goals and 7 assists out of 37 matches. He also had an average 6.5 shots per match transforming him in one of the deadliest threats alive and for the years the come in football. He has a swerving “tomahawk” shot whether it is on acceleration movement or from set-pieces and he is supreme in terms of his greatest abilities when comes down to tricky dribbles, football entertainment and blazing pace. The perfect winger that can change a 4-4-2 formation into a prolific 4-3-3 strategy in a matter of seconds and applying his pedigree for goal scoring opportunities whether created by him or the group itself.

Liedson is a Brazilian born player that got the Portuguese citizenship and plays for Sporting Lisbon having scored 13 goals and provided 2 assists in a total of 27 matches played. Even though he is 32 years old his pace can still upset the fastest defender and if you take into account that is positioning allows him to score often from almost every chance he gets, you will have there a offensive threat that can make his name globally known after this World Cup. After Pauleta left the Portuguese team, they got under a striker’s orphan status just to adopt this Brazilian forward to try to replace the lack of ability in that specific position.

SURPRISE

The surprise omissions were Quim from Benfica, Quaresma from Internazionale and Bosingwa from Chelsea (injured).

STATEMENTS

"Portugal are candidates for the trophy. We have great players and we made a statement with great pedigree and determination. This is a unique moment," Liedson after eliminating Bosnia-Herzegovina to qualify for South Africa 2010.

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- Carlos Queiroz –

1 Supercopa – Real Madrid - 2003;

1 Portuguese Cup – Sporting Lisbon - 1995;

1 Portuguese SuperCup – Sporting Lisbon - 1996.

Career made of 271 matches with 54% Win, 23% Draw, 24% Loss, GS 1,68 GA 1,01

SWOT ANALYSIS

Strength – Having the most prolific attacking midfielders and central defenders in today’s game will make Portugal a strong team and very hard to beat. Adding Cristiano Ronaldo, Danny, Nani and Deco will improve the chances of success of the team in this World Cup in case they can orchestrate the right movements on Queiroz’s defined strategy.

Weaknesses – The proven lack ability of Queiroz to be a first coach to teams/nations other than just Youth level where he has accomplished most of his triumphs. After winning a very prestigious youth title in Riad, 1990, he took charge of the National team to crash-out against Italy when he tried to perform what he is trying to do with today’s team which is playing under one player. This has not worked in the past and will only put Ronaldo under pressure to deliver so much that opponent’s might take advantage of it.

Opportunities – Winning the first match against Ivory Coast will book them the second round and they might even try to get into the first position if the last game against Brazil sees them leveled with 6 points.

Threats – Losing in the opening match will see them fighting for life against Brazil for qualification which can be good case Brazil places a “B” team. Ivory Coast will determine the faith of Portugal in the group stage.

FIFA WORLD RANKINGS

Closes the top 3 behind Spain and Brazil and ahead of Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Argentina.

CASTROL INDEX

LATEST 10 MATCHES

Albania 1 2 Portugal

Estonia 0 0 Portugal

Liechtenstein 0 3 Portugal

Denmark 1 1 Portugal

Hungary 0 1 Portugal

Portugal 3 0 Hungary

Portugal 4 0 Malta

Portugal 1 0 Bosnia

Bosnia 0 1 Portugal

Portugal 2 0 China

Portugal 0 0 Cape Verde

Portugal 3 1 Cameroon


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