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World Cup: Portugal team profile

Portugal pulled off a shock triumph at Euro 2016 and will be hoping to replicate that effort in Qatar, with Cristiano Ronaldo set to play in his last World Cup finals.

Qatar may be Ronaldo's last hurrah in a major international tournament and the veteran forward will be aiming to end it on a high with a first-ever World Cup success for his nation.


World Cup 2022




20th November - 18th December 2022

How to watch

All matches will be shown on either the BBC or ITV


Brazil 9/2, England 11/2, France 6/1, Spain 8/1, Argentina 7/1

What is Portugal's World Cup record?

Portugal have only qualified for eight of the 22 World Cups, with the majority of those coming in recent years.

The nation's best-ever performance in a finals came in the first one they ever qualified for in 1966, where they finished in third place.

The Navigators wouldn't qualify for another finals until 1986, where their group-stage exit was followed by another long gap to their next World Cup, which came in 2002.

Portugal have qualified for every finals since Japan and South Korea with a fourth-place finish in 2006 their best effort in the last five tournaments.

However, Portugal's recent record leaves plenty to be desired, with just three wins across the last three World Cups.

Third place1966
Fourth place2006

2010, 2018

Group stage

1986, 2002, 2014

How did Portugal qualify?

Portugal looked set to qualify fairly comfortably from their World Cup group, before a 0-0 draw with the Republic of Ireland in the second last game left them needing a result away to fellow challengers Serbia to progress.

Despite taking the lead after just two minutes, Fernando Santos' side were beaten 2-1 by the Serbs, thanks to a late Aleksandar Mitrovic winner.

The play-offs therefore beckoned for Portugal, who reached the finals after fairly comfortable victories over Turkey and North Macedonia.

Who is in Portugal's group?

Portugal are in the same group as the side that knocked them out of the last World Cup, as they take on Uruguay, who beat the Iberians 2-1 in the round of 16 in Russia.

There will be a further reminder of the past in the South Korean dugout, with former Portugal manager Paulo Bento the manager of the Taeguk Warriors.

Ghana complete the section, with Portugal 4/6 to win Group H, despite the Navigators not managing the feat in any of their finals campaigns since 2006.

Who is Portugal's manager?

Fernando Santos is now into his eighth year as Portugal manager, having taken over in 2014, with the 67-year-old having masterminded his nation's Euro 2016 victory, building up plenty of goodwill as a result.

That has been chipped away at somewhat in recent years, however, with disappointing performances in the last two major tournaments leading to Santos being criticised for what were perceived as overly negative tactics at times.

Portugal did however win the inaugural Nations League in 2019 under the former Greece manager's stewardship.

Related World Cup Group H News

World Cup - Football: Group H preview

World Cup - Football: Ghana team profile

World Cup - Football: South Korea team profile

World Cup - Football: Uruguay team profile

Who is Portugal's star player?

It's hard to associate any player with Portugal apart from Ronaldo given the 37-year-old's impact on football over the last 20 years.

He is the leading appearance maker and goalscorer for his country and also holds the record for most goals scored by a male international player.

The forward also overtook Sergio Ramos last year to become the most capped ever European player and, with a hat-trick against Luxembourg, he became the first player to score 10 hat-tricks in men's international football.

However, uncertainty about Ronaldo's club future persisted over the summer, with reports that the Manchester United man wanted to leave the Red Devils after they missed out on Champions League football for the new campaign.

The talismanic figure was used sparingly during pre-season and in the opening weeks of the 2022/23 campaign but he remains at Old Trafford for the time being

Nevertheless, Ronaldo is still the key figure in this Portugal team and the captain will set the tone for his side in Qatar.

Who could be Portugal's breakout star?

Portugal do not have a plethora of young players seemingly on the verge of breaking out as some of their European neighbours do, but Rafael Leao looks their prime candidate to thrust his name into the spotlight.

The forward was an integral part of AC Milan's title-winning Serie A side last season, registering 11 goals and 10 assists across 34 games for the Rossoneri.

The 23-year-old has still made just nine appearances for his country but, given his club form, that is only likely to increase and he could have a big say in Qatar.

What is Portugal's predicted line-up and tactics?

Portugal predicted line-up (4-3-3): Rui Patricio; Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Danilo Pereira, Nuno Mendes; Bernardo Silva, Joao Moutinho, Bruno Fernandes; Diogo Jota, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Leao.

Portugal are likely to line up in a 4-3-3 formation at the World Cup, with an emphasis on the balance in their team between defence and attack.

Perhaps the biggest point of contention is who will play in central midfield alongside Bernado Silva and Bruno Fernandes, with Joao Moutinho, Ruben Neves and Renato Sanches all vying for the spot.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding him, it's impossible to see anyone but Ronaldo leading the line.

How far can Portugal go in Qatar?

Portugal have been handed a fairly easy group and should be able to navigate a way out of it.

However, their recent record at World Cups doesn't inspire confidence in their ability to win the section, particularly given the challenge that Uruguay will pose.

If Santos' side do finish second in Group H, it would set up a potential knockout game against much-fancied Brazil and, as a result, odds of 13/8 on Portugal departing at the last-16 stage may be of interest.

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