The name Cristiano Ronaldo is practically associated with the Portugal national football team.
It should come as no surprise, then, that the narrative surrounding the country’s next campaign for the World Cup will be framed by the reality that it will be his final appearance on this stage and his last opportunity to win the World Cup for Portugal.
There aren’t many sides in the world of football that can match Portugal’s level of unpredictability.
In the previous decade, they have accomplished the following: reached the semifinals of the European Championship in 2012; won their first major trophy at the European Championship in 2016; and won the first Nations League title in 2019. Although it is widely considered to be the golden age of Portuguese football, the country’s performance at the subsequent World Cup tournaments has been pitiful.
Since the year 2006, Portugal has failed to go past the round of 16.
They were eliminated from competition at the group stage in 2014. After another four years, in the year 2010, they were knocked out in the round of 16.
Only three of their games have ended in a victory during the course of the last three World Cups. The knockout stages of a World Cup are where Ronaldo has not yet scored a goal.
Who are the other members of their group?
The Selecao das Quinas are the highest-ranked squad in their group, which also includes South Korea and Uruguay, and are anticipated to win the group.
The most important encounter for them will be the one against Uruguay, the side who eliminated them from the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Ghana, who were a part of Portugal’s group at the 2014 World Cup, provided the country with one of its three victories over the course of the previous three World Cups.
The prerequisites and the format
Portugal were forced into the playoffs after suffering a defeat in their final World Cup qualifying match against Serbia. However, they were able to overcome both Turkey and North Macedonia to clinch their spot in the tournament.
They have become experts in these high-stakes matches, as this is the third World Cup in a row that they have qualified for through the playoffs. They are currently in the quarterfinals.
I wish I could be more explicit, but I can only say that the best is yet to come. After their victory over the Czech Republic in September, manager Federico Santos claimed that the team had not yet seen their finest performance, but that it would come this year.
The influence of Ronaldo
Ronaldo, who is now 37 years old, was once an unstoppable force in the sport.
Despite the fact that he scored 24 goals for Manchester United during the previous season, Portugal’s all-time leading scorer has been relegated to the bench for the upcoming campaign.
Even if Santos continues to be unconcerned by Ronaldo’s recent struggles and has assured him of a position in his starting lineup, the presence of Ronaldo in the team is a major source of discontent among Portuguese supporters.
In his most recent 10 international games for Portugal, Ronaldo has scored five goals. Two contests accounted for the scoring of all five goals.
As is the case with United, the contention regarding Ronaldo is that allowing him to play for the club results in a loss of the squad’s equilibrium. In addition, Portugal has a plethora of attacking possibilities thanks to players such as Bernado Silva, Joo Félix, Rafael Leo, and Bruno Fernandes.
Not for the first time, the success or failure of Portugal in the World Cup is heavily dependent on Cristiano Ronaldo. However, this time it is not in the way that we would expect it to be.
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