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Looking at Portugal's chances in the 2022 World Cup

Portugal have not been favourites to win the World Cup whenever it has occurred. That could change, however, when the 2022 Football World Cup rolls around.

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Last updated: 27.07.2019
Looking at Portugals chances in the 2022 World Cup | Sports Social blog

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It’s no surprise that the attention towards Portuguese football has increased because of Cristiano Ronaldo. In spite of this, it’s safe to say that Portugal has yet to stand amongst the most elite of clubs. This is because while Ronaldo is one of the greatest players of all time, the other talent on the Portugues team has been nowhere near as close to that one player. If one takes a look at any other team that is synonymous with Championships like Germany or France or Brazil, it is crystal clear that all the chips do not rest with one player. A similar situation (to that of Portugal) can be observed with Messi and Argentina. Germany has had multiple great players like Kroos, Ozil, Muller, etc. all play at the same time. France and Brazil were in similar positions and were thus able to win the World Cup 2018 and the Copa America 2019 respectively. 

 

The strongest Portugal has ever looked was arguably during the 2006 World Cup with Luis Figo leading the charge and Ronaldo being one of the best (young) players at the time. Players like Deco and Ricardo Carvalho were at the height of their powers. As a result, they made it all the way to the semi-finals even beating out a heavyweight like England in penalties. They eventually lost to Germany. A case could also be made for their squad in 2016 when they won the Euro Cup thanks to Ronaldo and new up and coming players at the time, most notably Renato Sanchez. But the Portugal squad faltered in the knockout rounds losing to Uruguay in the 2018 World Cup 2 years later.

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The 2019 campaign, however, is a different thing. They won the UEFA Champions League and even though it’s not as pristine as the World or Euro Cup, it showed that there’s a lot of potential at the national team of Portugal,  and with the right direction, favourable results can be expected from their 2022 Football World Cup campaign. 

 

The Talent on the Rise: 


 

There are several talented players who if guided properly could turn Portugal into a 2022 favourite. Leading the charge, in this case, is the teenager, Joao Felix who so far has been the most expensive transfer of the current window. His move to Atletico Madrid was heavily publicised and in his own League, the Portuguese player had terrific nos with 15 goals and 7 assists showing fantastic attacking and dribbling prowess, inviting comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo.  Fellow Portuguese league player, Bruno Fernandes has also had a terrific recent season and has been connected to expensive moves to high profile clubs like Man U. He had 20 goals and 13 assists, 2nd in both columns, proving to be a very adept midfielder. Add to that the young talent of Goncalo Guedes, who scored the lone goal in the Nations League final and Gelson Martins and you can see that with a little nudge in the right path could pay dividends.


 

Bernardo Silva deserves his own spotlight for an incredible season at Manchester City. He was crucial in Manchester City lifting the domestic treble, particularly the PL trophy. All his attacking skills were beyond spectacular, whether it be passing, dribbling or shooting (Arguably three of the most crucial things in offense). The Portuguese player scored seven goals and seven assists and his vision and footballing knowledge was indispensable to Manchester City’s incredible display of football, especially in the 2018-19 season. The 24-year old will surely be one of the leaders a lot of Portuguese hopes will rest on, come 2022.

 

The Ronaldo Factor:


 

There’s no denying that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest players of all time and even at age 34, he’s still right at the top with Lionel Messi. But there’s also no denying that he’s 34 years old and normally that’s retirement age. While no player at 34 has arguably played as well as he has, there’s no guarantee that he can keep it up in the next 4 years and maybe improve, because the situation might call for it. After all, he will be 37 years old. Not many players even play club football at that age. It’s a known fact that Ronaldo’s playstyle has significantly changed to a more seasoned and a typical goalscorer as opposed to the player who used to dribble past multiple players and execute the long runs, showing that he has adapted to his old age but does still have limits.

 

That being said, he has been scoring constantly and dependably for his teams for a long time now and in the recent years, he has delivered quite often, winning consecutive UCL’s, top scorer awards(UCL) and most recently, the Serie A Best Player award. Being one of the fittest players on the planet, CR7 has become the walking, breathing and scoring antithesis to the statement that goes along the lines of ‘ a player cannot maintain the same level of performances once he reaches 30’. He recently scored a hattrick in the UEFA nations league and a goal in each of his first two preseason games. There’s a lot there to indicate that he will represent Portugal in 2022. 

 

If Ronaldo does represent Portugal in 2022 with big name players Bernardo Silva and Joao Felix developing even further, Portugal might just be the World Cup favourites in 2022. While there are a lot of if’s and but’s, the chances feel far more potent this time and hopefully, with the help of nice direction and clever management, Portugal will have a great shot at lifting the gold in the 2022 World Cup.

 

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