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Monday, May 26, 2008

EURO 2008: Portugal Squad

If you want to get online live score and updates of Switzerland vs Portugal match visit the following link:

Euro 2008: Switzerland vs Portugal Live Score

Portugal is one of the big names in world football and undoubtedly one of the football powers in Europe. With the kick off day of EURO 2008 approaching, Portugal is now gearing up for winning their first ever title in a major football tournament. Actually, Portugal’s success in international stage was never consistent. In the 60’s, Portugal emerged as a big power thanks to the stars like Eusébio, then in the 80’s they appeared to bounce back in the list of elite names of world football. Finally, Portugal restored their past glory in the last one decade thanks to their widely known ‘Golden Generation’ consisted of the stars like Luis Figo, Rui Costa, Sérgio Conceição, Vítor Baía etc. However, still Portugal has not won any major titles in football. Portugal finished fourth in 2006 FIFA World Cup, which is their second best success after Eusébio’s Portugal became third in 1966 FIFA World Cup. In Euro 2004, Portugal played their first ever final in any major international football tournament, but they failed to win the final being defeated to Greece 1-0. So, Portugal is going to play EURO 2008 as the runner up of its previous competition.

Portugal is drawn in Group A, where they have to face host Switzerland, Czech Republic and Turkey. So, it is sure that Portugal will find it very challenging to make it to the quarter final from this group, though it is true that Portugal starts the tournament as the most favorite in Group A. Portugal got the ticket of EURO 2008 finishing second in Group A of Euro 2008 qualifying round, behind Poland. Czech Republic is considered as a strong side of Europe now, while the third place winner of 2002 World Cup, Turkey, is also a strong competitor for a quarter final place from Group A. Switzerland is the host country who will be inspired by the home fans to play their best. So, Portugal has to face a number of strong challenges to reach the next round of EURO 2008 tournament. Here, I am giving the group stage schedule of Portugal in EURO 2008:

Date

Competing Teams

Venue

7 June 2008

Saturday

Portugal vs Turkey

Stade de Genève, Geneva

11 June 2008

Sunday

Portugal vs Czech Republic

Stade de Genève, Geneva

15 June 2008

Monday

Portugal vs Switzerland

St. Jakob-Park, Basel

Now, let us have a look at the squad by decaled by Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari for the upcoming Euro 2008 competition. You know that Portugal’s Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is always driven for win and holds a positive outlook always in his style of playing. I think, the 23-men squad he announced recently is perfect for his style of football. There is at least a notable omission. Midfielder Maniche has been opted out of the squad. The former Porto and Benfica midfielder is currently playing on loan at Inter Milan from Athletico Madrid. Though his performance at Inter is not that bad, Scolari was not impressed with his form. The Brazilian coach, I think, has formed a relatively young side ahead of the European championship. The coach denied giving any reason behind the omission of Maniche, who scored a number of important goals for Portugal including the winner in Portugal’s 2-1 victory over Holland in the semi final of Euro 2004, and another winning goal for Portugal against Holland in the quarter final of 2006 world cup. In fact, Scolari dropped about half of the squad played during Euro 2004 tournament.

Well, almost all the members of Portugal’s golden generation have gone into retirement including Luis Figo. So, Euro 2008 is going to be the first major tournament for Portugal with the players of new generation. So, it would be interesting to see if Portugal can continue their momentum that their golden generation brought over the last one decade.

The Portugal squad for Euro 2008 includes a number of young players from U-21 squad. However, the good thing is that most of the young players are not inexperienced vastly because of their vivid presence for the last few seasons in different European domestic leagues. Cristiano Ronaldo is perhaps the main strength of Portugal squad. The winger is now at his prime form becoming the highest goal scorer of English Premier League this season and scored 42 goals overall for Manchester United. Nani is another attacking winger who also had a good season at Manchester United.

Portugal’s main strength lies in their attack. With the likes of Ronaldo and Nani along with experienced players like Nuno Gomes, Simão Sabrosa, Portugal has an excellent front line. Porto striker Ricardo Quaresma, Werder Bremen ‘s Hugo Almeida and Hélder Postiga are young and experienced. Ricardo Quaresma is expected to be a key player for Portugal in the tournament.

In the absence of Figo, it would be very tough to get someone to fill up the gap in the Portugal midfield. However, there are a number of talented players like Deco, Petit, who will retire from international football after the tournament. Ronaldo and Nani will be in the two wings, while Nuno Gomes might play up front or could play as a deep lying midfielder or deep lying centre forward.

Portugal defense consists of some experienced players. Ricardo Carvalho, Fernando Meira could be the main strength in the central defense with the options like Pepe in hand. However, many think that their defense often becomes exposed to the opposition. Miguel, Bruno Alves, Paulo Ferreira and José Bosingwa are the options for right back, while I can see a void in the left back position. I think, this is the main weakness of Portugal squad.

For goalkeeper, I think, Portugal has one of the most formidable keepers in Europe. Ricardo Pereira is specialists for penalty shootouts and he has saved Portugal a number of times in the past at bigger stages. So, I think, with a seemingly problematic defense, Ricardo has to be at his prime during the tournament in order to bring notable success for Portugal in Euro 2008 competition. Here, I am giving the full list of Portugal squad for Euro 2008 from uk.eurosport:

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Ricardo Pereira (Real Betis), Quim Silva (Benfica), Rui Patricio (Sporting)

Defenders: Miguel Monteiro (Valencia), Jose Bosingwa (Porto), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Fernando Meira (VfB Stuttgart), Bruno Alves (Porto), Pepe (Real Madrid), Jorge Ribeiro (Boavista)

Midfielders: Raul Meireles (Porto), Joao Moutinho (Sporting), Deco (Barcelona), Armando Petit (Benfica), Miguel Veloso (Sporting), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Nani (Manchester United)

Forwards: Simao Sabrosa (Atletico Madrid), Ricardo Quaresma (Porto), Nuno Gomes (Benfica), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen), Helder Postiga (Panathinaikos)

Related articles:

Euro 2008

nanifootbal

sportable.com

euro2008.worldcupblog

uk.eurosport

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