There is still a long way to go until the next World Cup tournament; however, preparations have started in earnest for many teams. On some continents, World Cup qualification games are already underway.
Whisper it quietly, but in the westernmost corner of mainland Europe, excitement is beginning to build as Portugal continue to show signs something very special may be in the works.
Having a good sense for the winning chances of the participating teams comes in handy for placing sports bets on upcoming matches or even in the big tournaments. But of course, a proper bookmaker for these bets is also needed for successful betting. The best football betting sites available online can be found here. Despite perennially underated in the gambling markets, Portugal has probably its greatest ever chance of emerging victoriously from a World Cup.
Portugal have participated in several editions of the finals tournament of the FIFA World Cup, debuting in 1966, as Eusébio inspired the team to a third-place finish in England. The Seleção also reached the latter stages in 2006, when they came in fourth place in Germany. In total, Portugal have participated seven times since 1966, qualifying for the last five tournaments consecutively.
Although he will be 37 when the World Cup comes around, captain Cristiano Ronaldo will undoubtedly still be one of the best footballers on the planet, such is his dedication to his physical conditioning. The team comprises other richly talented young players who are starting to make a big impact at the highest level, such as Diogo Jota and João Félix.
That winning feeling
Let us not forget that Portugal broke their duck in terms of international trophy wins by lifting the European Championship in 2016, when they beat the current World Champions France 1-0 in the final. That was followed up with victory in the inaugural Nations League tournament, lending more credentials to Portugal’s chances of retaining its European Championship crown, or winning a first World Cup.
At Russia 2018 Portugal started the campaign by drawing with one of the pre-tournament favourites, Spain, when CR7 completed an amazing hat trick in the last minute of the memorable 3-3 game. The next World Cup is likely to be the last big tournament for Ronaldo, so expect his preparations to be beyond reproach since this is the only trophy he is yet to add to his pantheon of silverware.
With over 100 goals in international matches, there is little sign of the Portugal captain slowing down when it comes to his remarkable achievements. He became the all-time top international goal-scorer in Europe when he overtook Ferenc Puskas’ record of 84 international goals during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He brought up his 100th goal with a wonderful free-kick against Sweden in Solna in September this year, and it is only a matter of time before he overhauls Iranian Ali Daei to became the outright Number One international goal-scorer of all time.
New Golden Generation
Yet what makes Portuguese fans so confident about their prospects is the new young golden generation of players who possess massive potential, and the way coach Fernando Santos is expertly moulding them into a formidable machine.
João Félix, Rúben Dias, Diogo Jota, Pedro Neto, João Cancelo, Rúben Neves, Francisco Trincão and Rafael Leão combine the big-game experience of playing for elite clubs with the energy and zest of youthfulness, especially alongside compatriots such as Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes, fully matured players and key compenents of the two Manchester giants and who will be at the peak of their footballing powers over the next 4 years.
With veterans such as Rui Patrício, Ronaldo, Moutinho and Pepe still around to guide their younger teammates, and performing at an excellent level in their own right, Portugal seems to have a perfect blend of youth and experience.
Simply listing the midfield and forward options Portugal currently boast and the teams these magnificently gifted footballers play for is enough to strike fear into opponents: Ronaldo (Juventus), Félix (Atletico Madrid), Jota (Liverpool), Bernardo (Manchester City) and Fernandes (Manchester United) are a formidable quintet, with Leão (AC Milan) and Trincão (Barcelona) waiting in the wings.
This big-club experience, whereby the players in question are receiving the best coaching, playing in a range of tactical formations, and testing themselves against the very best on a daily basis will give the national team an even greater competitive edge in their efforts to win the country’s inaugural World Cup. It is no surprise the Seleção is ranked fifth place in the world rankings by FIFA.
It must also be noted that the odds of Portugal winning Euro 2020 vary across multiple bookies, remaining the 7th favorite for the 2020 European Championship title across most markets. Its odds are longer those that of France, England, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands.
Long odds did not stop Portugal becoming champions of Euro 2016, or stop the team from conquering the continent again three years later by lifting the Nations League trophy. For all the reasons listed above, Portugal has as good a chance as any of the frontrunners of claiming the title in the next European Championship, and even the next World Cup.