Portugal World Cup Preview 2018
We sat down with Jamie Farr(@FRfutebolJamie) to preview the World Cup for Portugal....
So firstly, what did you make of the squad? Any surprise inclusions/omissions?
Jamie: I think the squad largely picked itself really. Perhaps a slight surprise Nelson Semedo missed out but I think his form and fitness was inconsistent despite impressing at times for Barcelona. Overall i think Ricardo Pereira deserved the spot ahead of him. I was glad to see Bruno Fernandes make the list in particular after a brilliant campaign.
Where do you see Portugal in the current pecking order? Will they be considered amongst the favourites?
Jamie: I don't see them amongst the favourites with the likes of Brazil and Germany. However they must be taken seriously not only after the Euro triumph 2 years ago, but the manner in which they did it. Fernando Santos achieved a very effective, hard-to-beat tournament style that many sides will lack this summer.
What do you believe is the key to success for Portugal this summer?
Jamie: I think maintaining the pragmatic approach that saw them do so well in France. Portugal have arguably got stronger flair players this time around with the emergence of the likes of Bernardo Silva and Goncalo Guedes but a stubborn attitude tactically could be the way to flourish again, particularly in the knockout stages
Inevitably there will be a great deal of focus placed on Ronaldo, how do you see his role in this current Portuguese side? Is he the key to Portugal getting to the latter stages?
Jamie: I almost see Ronaldo's role as a leader and an example as more important than his obvious abilities. The rest of the squad has got stronger and really achieved something special to essentially beat France in the final 2 years ago without him. That said, it goes without saying he will be near essential to the team, particularly his big game mentality and experience where perhaps a few of his team-mates are still lacking a little bit.
On the other side then, are there any potential young stars we should be keeping an eye out for?
Jamie: Andre Silva has had a difficult season in Italy with AC Milan but he has an excellent record in fledgling Portugal career thus far. He linked up with Ronaldo very well in qualifying so if he gets a good amount of minutes then he should be a threat. Bruno Fernandes and Gelson Martins are also players who should excite fans if given the chance.
And finally, what is your honest prediction for Portugal? Can they win it?
Jamie: I think winning the tournament is beyond them unfortunately, I feel there are just too many potentially strong obstacles to avoid this time around. That said I don't see why they cannot make the semi finals, and at that stage anything is possible. The drama unfolding with Spain could potentially be extremely pivotal and re-shape Portugal's path through the tournament. Their first group match could go a very long way to deciding their long term fate.