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Can Ronaldo’s Squad Defend Their 2016 Euro Title?

Euro 2020 is just around the corner. Portugal are Euro 2016 champions led by Cristiano Ronaldo, and they are gearing up to defend their title. 

Manager Fernando Santos has made sure that he gets the best players from the top football clubs across Europe for his team to bag the championship in Euro 2020. The team has some of the most dangerous midfielders and forwards on the planet.

With COVID-19 implications and injuries, the team could see call-ups and drop-outs before the games.

Here is a look at the top players, form, and likely tactics Portugal will employ in the upcoming Euro 2020 tournament.

FERNANDO SANTOS

Fernando Santos took charge of Portugal in 2014. He steered Portugal to their first major trophy when they beat France 1-0 in extra time in Euro 2016. 

He showcased his magic again in UEFA Nations League in 2019, making him Portugal’s most successful manager. 

Before taking the reins of Portugal, Santos has spent more than a decade managing the international teams.

He played as a defender in 161 games and has managed to score two goals in the eight seasons for Estoril. After retiring from football, he handled Portugal’s big three, winning five titles for Porto. 

In the 2000s, he started working with Greece professional football club’s AFK Athens and PAOK. In 2010, he was appointed as the manager for the Greece National team leading them into a World Cup and UEFA European Championship. 

BEST PLAYERS

RUI PATRICIO

Rui Patricio is ranked among the top international goalkeepers when it comes to saves and clean sheets. He confirmed his place in the team with his performance in previous games. 

Patricio is one of the few surviving members of Euro 2016 success. He added a Nations League to his trophy case and also won Taça da Liga with Sporting CP.

After starting his international career with Portugal, he missed only one Premier league to date. He is a great last line of defence for Portugal that conceded only six goals in the past eight qualifying games.

BRUNO FERNANDES

Bruno Fernandes is not just an attacking midfielder but also an energetic box-to-box player. He takes on defenders setting the rhythm of the play. He is famous for his risk-taking attitude with the type and level of passes he attempts to complete because he often delivers killer ones. 

He holds a prolific goalscoring record as a midfielder and frequently shoots from outside the penalty area. He is also an accurate free-kick taker. He is also good at central midfield and second striker role.

He has only managed two goals and four assists in 27 caps at international football. But after joining Manchester United in January 2020, he has been right in the thick of the attacking action just as he was in Portugal for Sporting CP. 

Despite being a good goal scorer, it is his responsibility to pass the ball to forwards. 

CRISTIANO RONALDO

Cristiano Ronaldo is considered the football god and he is one of the greatest players of our time. 

Ronaldo has scored a whopping number of 103 goals in 173 matches he played for Portugal. He is the driving force behind Portugal’s motivation and is not slowing down anytime soon. 

Even after being injured in the first half of the Euro 2016 finals, he wonderfully orchestrated Portugal for their win against France in Euro 2016. 

RUBEN DIAS

Ruben Dias signed with Manchester City in 2020 and he has been named the Manchester City player of the month for November 2020. He is praised by the football experts for his composure, leadership, and stability back to defense.

Dias will be partnering with Jose Fonte. He will be seen coming out and defend on the front foot while his partner Fonte will take care at the back. The duo’s ability to defend will make Portugal very strong for the opposite team.

FORM

Portugal against Azerbaijan in its first World Cup qualifier displayed a rusty game, winning with 1-0. Portugal dominated the game from the start and have attempted to goal 29 times, but Azerbaijan goalkeeper Mahammadaliyev stood firm against Portugal’s attack. 

Portugal and Serbia drew 2-2 where Ronaldo was upset for denying a stoppage-time winner against Serbia. The ball has crossed the line, but with no VAR to confirm the goal,  the goal was not given. 

While playing against Luxembourg, Portugal was surprised in the first half when Luxembourg took the lead, but Portugal made sure to bag three goals winning the match 1-3.

TACTICS

Santos has been seen using 4-1-4-1 formation in few matches but decided to revert to 4-4-2 formation that had bagged them many wins as captain of the team Cristiano Ronaldo is back in the picture.

Rui Patricio will be starting with Pepe and Ruben Dias will be occupying the central defencive positions. Joao Cancelo will be in the right side of the defence, while either Mario Rui or Nelson Semedo is going to be on the left side. 

On the other hand, Joao Moutinho will be sharing the midfield with Ruben Neves.

If Santos decides to go with a 4-3-3 formation, then William Carvalho will be the third midfielder and he will be taking up the defencive cover position. Bernardo Silva will be handling the right-wing for the team while Raphael Guerreiro might start upfront with Ronaldo and Silva.

WILL PORTUGAL DEFEND THEIR TITLE?

Portugal has been performing well since the Euro 2016 win, having managed to win the inaugural UEFA Nations league defeating the Netherlands. Portugal finished second in their group B behind Ukraine. 

The team has some of the most dangerous midfielders and forwards on the planet. With Santos’s knowledge and game plan, it will be a possibility for Portugal to defend their title.

 

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