Room of optimism as Portugal ready themselves for changes

Another World Cup quest has come to a close for Portugal, with the inevitable fallout from a quarter-final defeat to Morocco at Qatar 2022 leading to changes being made on and off the field.

In order to take positive steps forward in the future, big calls need to be made in the present, with the removal of head coach Fernando Santos the first major measure taken by the FPF. 

Some players will likely see the curtain come down on illustrious international careers. While great pride can be taken from performances of years gone by, with said exploits forever etched into the history books, progress can only be achieved if everybody is pulling in the same direction. 


Clinging to the past is rarely a productive approach, even when dealing with the most iconic of figures. World Cup odds had been weighted in Portugal’s favour before a ball was kicked in the Middle East, but they ultimately came up short. World Cup 2022 betting tips are now siding with others, with the most prestigious of prizes having once again eluded a star-studded squad pieced together by Fernando Santos.

It remains to be seen what that party will look like when another major tournament rolls around in 2024, as the European Championships head to Germany. Plenty of familiar faces will remain, but others will have been phased out.

Serious questions are being asked about whether Cristiano Ronaldo will grace another international event, while the same is probably true for veteran centre-back Pepe. Portugal do, however, appear to be in good hands when it comes to at least one of those departments.

Filling the boots of CR7 will be a rather thankless task, with it unlikely that a player of his ilk will ever be seen again. However, the brilliant Gonçalo Ramos hat-trick against Switzerland gives Portugal another option up front, alongside the likes of Rafael Leão, Diogo Jota and João Félix. That is certainly not a bad array of attacking options, with all these players young enough to build on impressive careers to date.

At the heart of defence, the baton is ready to be passed from one generation to the next as Pepe prepares to step aside. Ruben Dias did not have the best of tournaments but the Manchester City man is surely ready to become the next immovable object to block opponents’ paths.

He is already considered to sit among the global elite, with Jose Mourinho having said ahead of Euro 2020: “Ruben Dias is the best centre-back in the world now. With his move to the Premier League with Manchester City, he is getting a different level of knowledge. He is a fantastic central defender.”

Dias has become a two-time Premier League title winner in England, while also being named FWA Footballer of the Year in 2020/21 and being named UEFA Defender of the Season in the same campaign. One less-than-stellar campaign should not lead to question marks about his standing as one of the world’s best defenders.

Centre-back options emerging 

Dias himself is known for his leadership qualities and his ambition to always improve himself in a bid to become the standout performer in his chosen position: “I have the motivation of being the best at what I do, the best in my position, to play for the best and to win with the best. I was taught to work with that passion.”

Dias has already taken sizable steps down that path and while the presence of Pepe and Co will be missed, Portugal have talent at their disposal in the position to suggest that they will remain competitive when more gold medals come up for grabs.

As well as Dias, the emergence of António Silva provides another outstanding centre-back in the making, together with long-time pretenders to break into the national team Gonçalo Inácio, Diogo Leite and Tiago Djaló.