PortugalPosted on: 05 June 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves
Europe's answer to Brazil have joined the que of potential champions.
Coach: Luiz-Felipe Scolari (59) (Bra) a highly-rated coach, “Big Phil” rejected the overtures of England less than two years ago.
Away From The Game
Famous Export: Prince Henry the Navigator, Vasco da Gama, Eusebio, Jose Mourinho.
National Food: Bacalhau (dried and salted cod).
National Drink: Port and Madeira.
National Animal: Rooster
Star: Cristiano Ronaldo (23), Manchester United (Eng) World Player of the Year and wing-wizard possessing phenomenal skill, speed and power in the air.
Hidden Gem: Miguel Veloso (22), Sporting Lisbon midfield-anchorman with poise on the ball and attracted interest from European heavyweights such as Manchester United.
How They Qualified: Group A runners up behind Poland, ahead of Finland, Serbia, Belgium, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Previous Best: Runners-up 2004
FIFA Ranking: 9
Key Fact: In a qualification match last September, Scolari’s fierce temper showed its bad side when he thumped Serbian player Ivica Dragutinovic after the full time whistle of a fiery 1-1 draw. Scolari was promptly banned for four matches.
Overview: Cristiano Ronaldo has been on another planet for Manchester United this season and will spearhead the Iberian nation’s hopes this time around. Surrounded by attacking flair, Portugal lack of a deadly goalscorer and their defence can be questionable. With “Big Phil” Scolari in charge you can expect a fired up side with talent to flourish and reach the final four.
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