Wednesday, Jun. 02, 2010


Manager: Carlos Queiroz

Best: Fourth place (2006)

Portugal are rather fortunate to be in the finals, thanks to a play-off win over Bosnia and Herzegovina after a stuttering qualifying campaign. But any team featuring the explosive talents of talismanic playmaker Christiano Ronaldo ought not to be underestimated. And any defenders paying too much attention to Ronaldo could leave gaps for the likes of Manchester United's Nani and Chelsea's Deco though Joao Moutinho, the Sporting midfielder whose services are coveted by some of Europe's top clubs, was surprisingly omitted from the squad. At the back, the likes of Chelsea's Ricardo Carvalho and Real Madrid's Pepe provide a solid defensive foundation. If he plays to his potential, Ronaldo is a match-winner, and Queiroz will be working to get the best out of a player he nurtured in his Manchester United days, while organizing a team around him that can beat any of its rivals on the day.

Player to watch: Rated alongside Messi and Kaká as the best in the word, Cristiano Ronaldo has the skill and verve to dominate any game. But he hasn't always displayed the same form in national colors as he has done at Manchester United and Real Madrid.