Portugal did a monstrous job qualifying for UEFA Euro 2024 as they were the only team with maximum performance. This national team achieved all 10 victories in the qualifiers with an unreal performance of as many as 36 goals scored and only two goals conceded.
For now, Portugal knows only two rivals in Group F at UEFA Euro 2024, namely the Czech Republic and Turkey, while the last rival will be known only after the UEFA Nations League playoffs. The results achieved by Portugal in the qualifiers speak best of what kind of team they are. Once again, the team leader will be Cristiano Ronaldo, who will participate in the Euro for a record sixth time.
Ronaldo writes history with Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo will turn 39 in a few weeks, but one of the best players of all time will be an indispensable part of the Portuguese national team at the upcoming Euro. He will play for Portugal at the Euros for the sixth time, which no player has managed to do so far. Ronaldo made his first appearance for Portugal two decades ago when Portugal hosted UEFA Euro 2004. It was the first major competition for the guy who, along with Leo Messi, will mark the next two decades of world football.
Since Portugal was then the host, a good result was expected and Portugal managed to reach the finals, but not to crown that Euro with the title. One of the biggest surprises in Euro history happened as Greece made a big sensation with a narrow victory. A solid number of Greek fans who traveled to Lisbon rejoiced, while all the Portuguese were shocked by this defeat, aware that a great opportunity for the first European title was missed.
Portugal had a new chance for the title in 2016 and this time this team shocked the opposing fans. The host of that Euro was France, which eventually reached the final, but Eder shocked the home players with a great goal in extra time.
The match was also marked by a serious injury to Cristiano Ronaldo who, after a duel with Dimitri Payet, left the field in tears a few minutes later. Despite the injury, Ronaldo was with the team throughout the match and constantly gave advice to his teammates. In that match, we can safely say, Fernando Santos played the role of assistant coach, who managed to bring the first title of European champion to Portugal.
Ronaldo is still there but Santos is no longer on the bench. Santos led Portugal from the bench at another Euro, but the Portuguese did not make a name for themselves at that tournament. It seems that Portugal had to achieve a better result at the World Cup, especially if you take into account that their rival in the quarter-finals was Morocco, but elimination followed and Fernando Santos’ mission after that competition was over.
In the meantime, this expert took over Poland but was fired already during the qualifiers for the upcoming Euro due to poor results. Santos suffered a setback, but without him there was a new rise of Portugal, although we can say that the Portuguese did not really have an excessively difficult group in which their biggest competitors were Slovakia and Luxembourg. In fact, this national team had no competition, which is best illustrated by a performance of 10 wins and a goal difference of 36-2.
Instead of Santos, Roberto Martínez came to the bench, who failed to achieve the desired result with Belgium. It was expected that Belgium could also win the title at a major competition, but after a disappointing performance in Qatar, the collaboration between Belgium and Martinez was over. Martinez did not have to wait long for a new job and very quickly became the new coach of Portugal. He had a successful debut with great qualifications, but much more serious work awaits him and his bulls at the Euro.
In the group stage, there shouldn’t be many problems with rivals like Turkey and the Czech Republic and teams that will be known after the playoffs, but the goals are big. When you look at the list of players that Martinez can put together, all rivals have to fear. Portugal is currently the fifth favorite according to the bookmaker’s estimates to win the second title of European champion.
In addition to Ronaldo, who as captain will lead the team in another big competition, there are a handful of great players such as Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernades… This team will play its first game against the Czech Republic in Leipzig on June 18. Martinez is satisfied with the good games in the qualifiers, but he is aware that it doesn’t have to mean anything and that his team will have to prepare well for the Euro.
“We want to have a perfect preparation. We qualified very well, but that doesn’t give us an advantage in the tournament, We need to be prepared.“
“For us, it is good news to be in Group F,” he said. “We are based in the centre of Germany and we will have extra time to prepare for the first game. This is important for us.”