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World Cup 2010 team guide: Portugal

OVERVIEW
World Cup profile: Portugal

World Cup guide - Portugal

Merely having Cristiano Ronaldo in your ranks should be enough to lift you into the favourite's bracket for a World Cup, but question marks hang over his form for Portugal, and the form of the national team as a whole. The biggest question mark of all seems to hang over the coach, Carlos Queiroz. Many Portuguese fans believe the former Manchester United assistant manager is just that, a number two, unable to lead a team or make the big decisions.

An impressive record on paper and one which seemingly justifies a Fifa ranking of third, but on closer inspection they have not faced a team inside the world's top 15 during that unbeaten run. Group G pits them against Brazil, the number one ranked team, and that is sure to give a true reflection of Portugal's standing in the world game.

Aim: Portugal's recent record at major tournaments is impressive, but they will have to be at their very best to get out of Group G. If they finish in second place they will go through to a likely last 16 clash with neighbours Spain.

THREE KEY PLAYERS
Nani

Nani With 34 caps for Portugal, Nani has became one of those rarities at Old Trafford - a Manchester United player who has got back in the good books of Sir Alex Ferguson. After a slow start, the 23-year-old won over the United faithful with his abundant pace and prowess with both feet, with the ability to score vital goals at key moments.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo Remarkably, for the world's most expensive footballer, he failed to score a goal during Portugal's qualification for South Africa. The Real Madrid star needs little introduction, nor does his pulsating pace, sensational ability to strike a dead ball or his incredible aerial ability. Arguably the most complete footballer around.

Liedson

Liedson The naturalised Brazilian and former supermarket shelf stacker was an integral part of Portugal's qualifying campaign, scoring three goals in seven games. The Sporting Lisbon striker is likely to start up front in South Africa, although facing the country of his birth will be a tough challenge for the 32-year-old. "I was born in Brazil and I really love my country, but I'm going to give everything I've got to help Portugal win," he said.

THE MANAGER
Carlos Queiroz

Carlos Queiroz Despite the difficulties Portugal have had during his second stint as national coach, Queiroz has only lost twice in his time in charge. A series of unconvincing performances left the Portuguese on the brink of missing their first major tournament since 1998, but they just squeezed past Bosnia in the play-offs.

ADOPT THEM BECAUSE...

You can always rely on their nerve. Portugal are the only country at the World Cup to have never lost a competitive penalty shoot-out.

HOW THEY QUALIFIED
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Portugal's World Cup qualifying highlights

W 4-0 Malta (A)
L 3-2 Denmark (H)
D 0-0 Sweden (A)
D 0-0 Albania (H)
D 0-0 Sweden (A)
W 2-1 Albania (A)
D 1-1 Denmark (A)
W 1-0 Hungary (A)
W 3-0 Hungary (H)
W 4-0 Malta (H)
Finished second in group

Play-off
W 1-0 Bosnia-Herzegovina (H)
W 1-0 Bosnia-Herzegovina (A)

WORLD CUP BEST

1966: A Eusebio-inspired team reached the semi-finals on the their debut, beating Brazil, Hungary, Bulgaria and North Korea (from 3-0 down) before falling to hosts England at Wembley.

Written by Noel Sliney



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Group tables

Group A

Group A teams W D L GD PTS
Uruguay 2 1 0 4 7
Mexico 1 1 1 1 4
South Africa 1 1 1 -2 4
France 0 1 2 -3 1

Group B

Group B teams W D L GD PTS
Argentina 3 0 0 6 9
South Korea 1 1 1 -1 4
Greece 1 0 2 -3 3
Nigeria 0 1 2 -2 1

Group C

Group C teams W D L GD PTS
USA 1 2 0 1 5
England 1 2 0 1 5
Slovenia 1 1 1 0 4
Algeria 0 1 2 -2 1

Group D

Group D teams W D L GD PTS
Germany 2 0 1 4 6
Ghana 1 1 1 0 4
Australia 1 1 1 -3 4
Serbia 1 0 2 -1 3

Group E

Group E teams W D L GD PTS
Netherlands 3 0 0 4 9
Japan 2 0 1 2 6
Denmark 1 0 2 -3 3
Cameroon 0 0 3 -3 0

Group F

Group F teams W D L GD PTS
Paraguay 1 2 0 2 5
Slovakia 1 1 1 -1 4
New Zealand 0 3 0 0 3
Italy 0 2 1 -1 2

Group G

Group G teams W D L GD PTS
Brazil 2 1 0 3 7
Portugal 1 2 0 7 5
Ivory Coast 1 1 1 1 4
North Korea 0 0 3 -11 0

Group H

Group H teams W D L GD PTS
Spain 2 0 1 2 6
Chile 2 0 1 1 6
Switzerland 1 1 1 0 4
Honduras 0 1 2 -3 1

see also
Country profile: Portugal
22 Mar 12 |  Country profiles


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