Nations League Finals approaching: A look at Portugal26 May 2019
Credit Photo – @selecaoportugal
Portugal secured qualification for the first edition of the UEFA Nations League Finals, a tournament they play host to, by comfortably topping their Group A qualifying table containing a rebuilding Italy and a slightly stagnant Poland.
Two wins and two draws for the reigning European champions will now see them face off against Switzerland in their semi – final in Porto on June 5th.
So how will they shape up? The Portuguese are always a force to be reckoned with, possessing great tournament experience and nous.
Though always technically very good, the current squad is, perhaps, a step up in guile, quality and depth by comparison to recent Portugal setups.
The extraordinary talents of Cristiano Ronaldo are added to by wonderfully gifted craftsman Bernardo Silva (Man City), Sporting midfielder Bruno Fernandes, young sensation João Félix (Benfica) and unpredictable Valencia man Gonçalo Guedes to form a potent mix of creativity and goals.
This is ably backed up by the experience, physicality and passing ability of midfielders William Carvalho (Betis) and Wolves duo Rùben Neves and João Moutinho.
Experienced coach Fernando Santos usually opts for a 4-3-3 formation, allowing full backs João Cancelo of Juventus and Raphael Guerreiro (Dortmund) to get forward and provide width.
One area of concern for Santos will be the lack of depth in central defence, with only Benfica’s Rúben Dias providing competition for long serving veterans Pepe (Porto) and Jose Fonte of French club Lille.
Home advantage sees Portugal head into the finals as 2/1 favourites, just ahead of England and The Netherlands.
I can certainly see them reaching the final, where, with their tournament know-how there’s every chance they’ll come out on top.
By Chris Kelly