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Euro 2020, Group F, Portugal Preview: Full Squad, Key Players, Fixtures And Chances

Portugal are in Group F along with France, Germany and Hungary in the Euro 2020. Here's team preview

Euro 2020, Group F, Portugal Preview: Full Squad, Key Players, Fixtures And Chances
Cristiano Ronaldo, left, will be backed by the likes of Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva (right), Bruno Fernandes, Ruben Dias and Diogo Jota. | File Photo
Euro 2020, Group F, Portugal Preview: Full Squad, Key Players, Fixtures And Chances
outlookindia.com
2021-06-03T17:42:43+05:30

They are no more the dark horses. They are the defending champions and one of the hot favourites. Powered by none other than Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal can become only the second side to defend the European Championship after their Iberian neighbours Spain, who did it in 2012. Portugal have one of the strongest squads in Euro 2020 and nothing less than a final win at Wembley will do for Fernando Santos' men. (More Football News)

GROUP AND FIXTURES

Portugal are in the group of death, featuring world champions France, Germany and Hungary. Their Group F campaign starts with a clash against Hungary in Budapest on June 15, followed by fixtures against Germany on June 19 in Munich and against France, again in Budapest.

If Portugal win the group, they play the third-placed team from Group A or B or C in Bucharest in the round of 16. Finish second, and they travel to London for a fixture against Group D (Croatia, Czech Republic, England and Scotland) winners.

WHO TO WATCH

Ronaldo, who is bidding to become the all-time leading scorer with a national team, won't be the only attraction. The defending champions are bringing one of their most talented teams in years to Euro 2020, loaded with players who can support Ronaldo and make Portugal a contender again. The talent pool is arguably greater than it was five years ago in France, when Portugal won the title with a squad that succeeded with efficiency rather than extraordinary play. The Portuguese earned the trophy with only one victory in 90 minutes during the entire tournament.

The 36-year-old will be backed this time by the likes of Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Ruben Dias and Diogo Jota. Many of those players will be in position to thrive in large part because of the tournament's postponement caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Jota was a Wolverhampton player who hadn't played much for his country last year but is now a regular for Liverpool and his national team, scoring six goals in 12 international games. Dias has improved after his first season at Manchester City, while Fernandes has established himself as one of Manchester United's top playmakers. Felix earned an extra year of experience with an Atletico Madrid team that won La Liga. Dias and Silva, another key player for English champion Man City, are some of the players who will be returning from the 2018 World Cup squad that was eliminated by Uruguay in the round of 16.

Also included in the Euro 2020 squad was 22-year-old forward Pedro Gonçalves, who has never played for the senior national team. Gonçalves was key in helping Sporting Lisbon win its first Portuguese league title since 2002.

There could have been even more talent in Portugal's squad had youngster Pedro Neto not been ruled out because of a knee injury. He was one of the best players for Wolverhampton in his first year as a regular starter and also had established himself in Portugal's squad.

The defense again will be led by 38-year-old Pepe, the most valuable player in the Euro 2016 final, when Portugal defeated host France.

ALL EYES ON CR7

Ronaldo will be playing in his fifth straight European Championship and will be looking to add yet another record to his name. He is six goals from tying the all-time scoring record for a men's national team. The record of 109 goals is held by former Iran striker Ali Daei, the only other male soccer player to surpass the 100-goal milestone.

Ronaldo scored four goals in the 2018 World Cup and three at Euro 2016. He played less than half an hour in the final against France five years ago because he got injured.

The Juventus forward has scored for Portugal in every calendar year since his first international goal in 2004.

FULL SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Rui Patricio, Anthony Lopes, Rui Silva

Defenders: Nelson Semedo, Pepe, Ruben Dias, Raphael Guerreiro, Jose Fonte, Joao Cancelo, Nuno Mendes

Midfielders: Joao Moutinho, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Danilo, William Carvalho, Renato Sanches, Goncalo Guedes, Ruben Neves, Pote, Sergio Oliveira, Joao Palhinha

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Andre Silva, Rafa Silva, Diogo Jota, Joao Felix.

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