The Portuguese will be looking to take their former colony by storm and advance out of the Group of Death. Pitted against Ghana, The United States, and Germany, their road will not be easy but with Cristiano Ronaldo, the road does look much brighter for Paulo Bento’s men. The Portuguese will be looking to strike with their lightning-quick attack and hope that their back line can hold up against some of the more physical opponents they will face in group play. Getting through this group will be no easy task, even with Ghana and the USA’s defensive concerns.
The goalkeeping position will be contested between the 2010 World Cup star Eduardo and Euro 2012 star Rui Patricio. Both keepers are more than capable of anchoring the back line, but it looks likely that Rui Patricio gets the nod as he has featured more often with the national team as of late. However, if Patricio slips up in camp, expect Eduardo to take full advantage.
The Portuguese defense will be anchored by two men who ply their trade in the Spanish capital. Real Madrid’s Pepe centrally and Fabio Coentrao on the left, will be key, despite Coentrao featuring on an irregular basis for the Champions League finalists. The other two spots will be filled by veterans Bruno Alves and Joao Periera, both are fierce competitors who have a great experience at the international level. This is a solid defense, however, Pepe will have to be careful, if his dramatic antics are not appreciated by the referee he could see himself sent to the dressing room early.
In the midfield, the Portuguese be reliant on veterans Joao Moutinho and Raul Meireles. The fantastically-bearded Meireles is capable of playing any of the midfield positions and will be called upon to unleash some of his signature long range shots against some of the tougher defenses in the group. Moutinho will be looking to collaborate with Cristiano Ronaldo to produce some wonderful goals. Moutinho is capable of being one of the most stylish midfielders in the world, he simply has to make sure he doesn’t get caught up in his style and forget the best player in the world (arguably) is on the pitch with him. Defensive midfielder and Liverpool target William Carvalho could find himself on the first team sheet to provide some cover for the back line, and veteran Miguel Veloso could see his name on the first team sheet as well.
In truth, one could simply write “Cristiano Ronaldo” and leave the rest of this segment blank. However, it would be insensitive to overlook the contributions that Helder Postiga and Nani will bring to this squad. Their play will be key to opening up the attacking third so defenses cannot simply focus on Cristiano. Ronaldo will be called upon to carry the load for the Selecao and he is more than capable of doing so. He looks to be fully recovered from his strained hamstring and ready to bring his wonderful style of football to the greatest stage of them all.