This is an article about soccer and the biggest sports tournament of the world: the world cup! Being my self Portuguese I just couldn't miss the Portuguese team, I'll make more articles I promise...
The Portuguese team is an outsider to win the World Cup
and having Cristiano Ronaldo on the roster surely will give them some
spotlight during the tournament.
In theory their offense is the
strongest link of the team as players like Ronaldo, Nani, Simão Sabrosa
or Deco have some international reputation however they have been
struggle to score in the last 2 years! Strangely or not it is their
defense that has performed in a high note and in my opinion the
fault/merit of such strange correlation can be attributed to the
national head coach Carlos Queiroz.
Nine clean sheets in the twelve qualifying matches say it all about
their good defensive side. Queiroz took a gamble by using Real Madrid
center-back Pepe in a holding role in front of the two center-backs
(Carvalho and Alves in good physical shape are a terrific duo that
combine aggressiveness and speed) and that simply worked out because
Pepe has great speed and a good positioning and he does know how to
advance in the field. Bottom line it will be tough to score against
Portugal from the center of the field and/or by set pieces due to the
presence of Pepe. The problem is that Pepe has not played a game since
December and no one knows about his actual physical condition. His
back-up Pedro Mendes is a good player but I really don’t think that
Portugal can succeed with him. I also anticipate some problems in their
left side of the defense as both Coentrao and Duda are converted wingers
and obviously aren’t good at defending. However with Coentrao the
Portuguese side gains a new dimension going forward in a similar way
that Dani Alves/Maicon does for Brazil.
On the offensive end this team will go as long Deco can carry them
because besides him there’s no one left in the roster with the
same/similar creativity at the playmaker position. All that Queiroz can
do is to adapt another player (Tiago, Danny or Simão) but the
productivity won’t be the same and Portugal will be a predictable team
on the offense side.
However the biggest problem resides on their front 3 as Portugal
plays with one striker and 2 wings-forwards. Any team in the world would
fear Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani (Nani had a tremendous second half of
the season with Man Utd) on the wings but in reality the Portuguese
offense has struggle in the past couple of years. In my opinion their
front 3 are way too far from each other in the field which makes the
task of defending them easier. You can think them as being the Atlanta
Hawks of the NBA because they run an immeasurable plays of isolations
when they are attacking.
I think that Portugal have the weapons to make some damage in the
World Cup however everything must go right for them. It is imperative
that Cristiano Ronaldo scores in the first game or else he can turn into
a frustrated and selfish player who wants badly to score.