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Portugal

Portugal - Brazil World Cup 2014

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FIFA World Cup finals history

It was not until England 1966 that the Portuguese made their world finals debut, yet as entrances go it could hardly have been more impressive. Spearheaded by the irrepressible Eusebio, Portugal’s golden generation knocked out Brazil en route to the semi-finals, where they came up just short against the host nation. Consolation came in the shape of victory over the Soviet Union in the match for third place. The Portuguese do not have happy memories of their next appearance on the big stage, however, which came at Mexico 1986. Despite opening up with a win over England, they went out in the group phase after defeats to Poland and Morocco.

The key players
As he showed in the play-off against Sweden, Cristiano Ronaldo is still very much Portugal’s go-to man, though the peerless Real Madrid star is supported is by a very able cast. The central-defensive pairing of Pepe and Bruno Alves is the cornerstone of a very solid rearguard that also features flying full-backs Joao Pereira and Fabio Coentrao. Joao Moutinho is the heartbeat of a creative midfield unit, while Nani can also be relied upon to shine alongside Ronaldo.

Current coach: Paulo Bento
Best performances in a FIFA competition: 1966 FIFA World Cup England (third place), FIFA U-20 World Cup Saudi Arabia 1989 and Portugal 1991 (winners), FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011 (runners-up), FIFA U-17 World Cup Scotland 1989 (third place).
Former stars: Eusebio, Coluna, Simoes, Jose Augusto, Torres, Jaime Graca, Rui Costa and Luis Figo.