Portugal

A tactical preview for Portugal National Football Team playing in EURO 2024

Portugal have one of the most experienced, well-balanced, and competitive squads heading into the upcoming Euro 2024. Under manager Roberto Martinez, they have been in scintillating attacking form and have also looked solid at the back.

Prior to the tournament, they are among most people’s favourites to win it all, having previously done so in 2016. However, their path to glory will not be straightforward by any means. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the starting group.

Predicted lineup of Portugal National Football Team playing in EUROs

Blessed with world class talent across the board, Portugal has one of the most versatile groups with the possibility of switching multiple players’ positions seamlessly.

In goal, Diogo Costa has been a mainstay and the undisputed number one for the last few years. However, they also have Jose Sa and Rui Patricio as backups. The defence consists of Joao Mario, Joao Cancelo, Raphael Guerreiro as full backs, while Ruben Dias, Goncalo Inacio, Antonio Silva and Toti Gomes make up the central defensive positions.

In defensive midfield, they have Joao Palhinha, with Bruno Fernandes, Otavio, Bernardo Silva and Rafael Leao in front of him in midfield. They also have the likes of Vitinha and Ruben Neves coming off the bench.

In attack, the evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo will be an integral part of the setup. He will have Goncalo Ramos, Diogo Jota and Joao Felix alongside him as they will look to maximise their goals output.

Starting XI: Diogo Costa (GK); Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Goncalo Inacio, Nuno Mendes; Joao Palhinha; Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva; Rafael Leao, Cristiano Ronaldo (C), Goncalo Ramos.

Portugal’s likely starting XI for Euro 2024. (Getty Images)

ALSO READ: Portugal vs Finland Preview, Prediction and Team News| International Friendlies

Team Strengths

As is the case with championship-calibre teams, they have a lot of strong points that make them hard to beat. Here are some of Portugal’s biggest factors in their favour:

  • Versatility – Portugal has forwards who can almost all play across the front three in a 4-3-3. Ronaldo can start in any, Bernardo Silva can be deployed as a winger, Diogo Jota can play a part on either wing. In case Leao is fixed on the left wing, Ronaldo could start alongside Felix or Goncalo Ramos.
  • Squad Depth – The Seleccao have so much quality in depth that they can name two starting XIs of near-identical strength.
  • Squad Harmony – Most of the players from the existing group have been playing for their country alongside each other for several years. This makes it easier to achieve goals or have one another’s back in pressure situations.
  • Battle Hardened – Be it at the national team level or the club level, these players have played in some of the biggest matches and have a strong winning mentality, making it hard to get past them.

Team Weaknesses

While winningest teams have several strengths, they usually also have one or two weak spots that others can exploit. Here are some of Portugal’s weaknesses:

  • No Fixed Formation – They say too much of anything could become bad eventually, and such is the case with Portugal’s core group having so many versatile players. This can cause difficulties in setting up the team defensively as most players will be accustomed to dynamic roles.
  • Reactive Manager – Roberto Martinez is an astute tactician but often struggles when his initial plan has been quashed by the opponent. As a result, he is sometimes quite slow to make on-field changes, or does not make them at all.
  • Expectations on Cristiano Ronaldo – Most will see this as Ronaldo’s final major tournament with Portugal, raising the expectations from him to sky-high levels. This could put pressure on the team to bring Ronaldo among the goals as he nears retirement age.

Portugal EURO 2024 Key Players to Watch Out For

  • Cristiano Ronaldo – The Portuguese sensation is likely entering his final major tournament for his nation and will look to perform at his best. Ronaldo is coming off a spectacular season in the Saudi Pro League with Al Nassr, for whom he broke the league’s single-season scoring record with 35 goals in 34 games. He also has 128 goals for Portugal in 206 appearances and will look to add to that tally.

ALSO READ: Revisiting Belgium’s tribute to iconic comic Tintin as they release new away colours for UEFA EURO 2024

Al Nassr's Cristiano Ronaldo.
Al Nassr’s Cristiano Ronaldo. (Getty Images)
  • Bruno Fernandes – While his club, Manchester United had a poor season but ended it on a high with an FA Cup trophy, Fernandes will look to do the same as he is just beginning to regain his form. He made 48 appearances for the Red Devils this season, scoring 15 goals and providing 13 assists.
Bruno Fernandes
Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes. (Getty Images)
  • Antonio Silva – The young SL Benfica centre-back will be on several big clubs’ radar as they look to poach him away from Portugal. Aged just 20, he has already made 94 appearances for the club, with 50 of those coming this season.
 Antonio Silva
Benfica’s Antonio Silva in action for his club. (Getty Images)

Conclusion

Portugal stand a good chance of winning Euro 2024 in Germany, as they have one of the most well-balanced and determined squads. They also have recent experience, having lifted the trophy just eight years ago.

ALSO READ: Alcohol ban introduced at stadiums during Euro 2024

Next matches