Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Euro 2008 Preview: Portugal

Today, UF’s continuing Euro 2008 preview takes a gander at that smaller Iberian country, Portugal. In qualifying for the Euro Finals, Portugal was second to Poland in its group, winning 7, drawing 6 and losing only 1. The squad did have the best goal differential in the group. Joining Portugal in Group A are Turkey, Czech Republic and Switzerland.

In my Sweden preview I noted I had no real reason for selecting that nation to preview. There was a reason for choosing Portugal, however. Part of it was looking for hot women (NSFW) to post pictures of, but that's not the main reason. It’s a reason I hate, but I feel like I must come clean about it. After the jump discover the reason.

Cristiano Ronaldo. I am insanely jealous of this young man and I begrudgingly admire him. His talent is still expanding and he still dominates his competition. Yes, he is arrogant, but I am pretty sure I would have some arrogance if my skill was so apparent. Expressing this finally reminds me of Wes Mantooth’s opinion of Ron Burgundy:

From deep down in my stomach, with every inch of me, I pure, straight hate you. But goddammit, do I respect you!
Yes, he flops a bit, is petulant, whines and plays for Manchester United. But, I think even our favorite players do the same to some extent or another, except play for United, but their exploits help not hurt us. Watching him play is an exercise in fantasy—what will he do next?—will he do a cheeky backheel for a goal, a Ronaldo rocket, or is it something new we have never heard or seen? Who knows. It does make watching him a must each week. He is an amazing talent and for that I respect him.

For all of Ronaldo’s singular talent, it will not be enough for Portugal to win Euro 2008. Luckily for them, they oodles of talent elsewhere. Not just talent but “name” talent. Deco. Carvalho. Ferreira. Maniche. Nani. Quaresma. Name and expensive talent. I’d love to have Quaresma on Liverpool’s side.

All of this talent gives them a better than decent shot at winning the title (current odds at 8-1). But, it will be crucial that the talent plays well together as a team and not a side of 11 individuals displaying their respective skills. This will be the key to winning for the team, along with a strong defensive performance. Other distractions could be Manchester City’s pursuit of manager Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Obviously, I like their chances. Plus, Portugal made it to the quarters in Euro ’96, semis in ’00 and was upset by Greece in the ’04 finals. Logic would say that this progression should result in a championship. Logic can be wrong, but that’s beside the point.

Scolari hasn’t named his squad yet, but this is what I could glean from the internet:

GK – Ricardo, Quim (ha, what a great name), Rui Patricio
DF – Jose Bosingwa, Bruno Alves, Marco Caneira, Fernando Meira, Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho, Jorge Ribeiro
MF – Raul Meireles, Petit, Maniche, Deco
FW – Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Hugo Almeida, Nuno Gomes, Ricardo Quaresma, Ariza Makukula.

(1) Could England beat this team? They lost to them in the World Cup and failed to qualify for Euro ’08. So, no.
(2) Can Portugal win Euro 2008? Yes. They are my pick.
(3) What is their pre-made excuse for not winning Euro 2008? Cristiano Ronaldo. He’s petulant and has a problem it seems stepping up in the big games. If this squad wins he gets the accolades and because he is such a transcendent player right now, he will get the blame.
(4) What is the biggest question mark surrounding their team? Can they play as a team?
(5) Who is their worst player? Cristiano Ronaldo. He is both the best player and can be their worst player. If he sulks and whines he can and will bring down his whole team.

Update - 05/13/08: Portugal has named its Euro 2008 squad. Surprisingly omitted was Inter Milan's Maniche, who was on the 2006 World Cup squad and the 2004 Euro runners-up squad.

PORTUGAL ROSTER:Goalkeepers: Ricardo Pereira (Real Betis, Spain), Quim Silva (Benfica), Rui Patricio (Sporting)Defenders: Miguel Monteiro (Valencia, Spain), Jose Bosingwa (Porto), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea, England), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea, England), Fernando Meira (VfB Stuttgart, Germany), Bruno Alves (Porto), Pepe (Real Madrid), Jorge Ribeiro (Boavista).Midfielders: Raul Meireles (Porto), Joao Moutinho (Sporting), Deco (Barcelona, Spain), Armando Petit (Benfica), Miguel Veloso (Sporting)Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, England), Simao Sabrosa (Atletico Madrid, Spain), Ricardo Quaresma (Porto), Nuno Gomes (Benfica), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen, Germany), Nani (Manchester United, England), Helder Postiga (Panathinaikos, Greece).


Anonymous said...

I nearly spit my coffee out. Are you drunk? Saying nice things about Ronaldo (*whispers* the-best-player-on-the-planet). I admit, two years ago it was embarassing to call this guy my favorite player, what with the falling down and all, but I can only guess Rooney finally just called him out and Ronaldo grew a pair. I don't even have to be jealous of Ronnie since for some unknown reason she likes Frank effin' Lampard.

Anonymous said...

Replace "she" with "my wife". I must learn to preview my comments.

The NY Kid said...

I have never heard of this Christine Ronaldo - is this a women's World Cup preview?

A man? The hell you say!

Ian said...

What was this post about? I got distracted.

The Fan's Attic said...

@Ian: That was the point of the picture. To distract you from reading my confessional and hoping nobody would remember it.

Erotic Tangerines said...

According to my limited knowledge of Portuguese, Quim translates as "who", turning this into some sort of bizarro Abbot and Costello routine.

The Fan's Attic said...

see what "quim" means in the Queen's English.

The Fan's Attic said...

Starting11 said...

This tournament will be Ronaldo's coronation.

The Fan's Attic said...

I just realized I left out Simao Sabrosa on the squad list. For shame.

uberlandia said...

hey fan's attic, you also left out defender Pepe who plays at Real Madrid. He's Brazilian-born but became a Portuguese citizen when he played for Porto.

therese said...

I agree with you! Ronaldo could easy mess up the whole Euro 08 for Portugal! (I hope not!!)

I've got my eyes on Deco, he's my fave player - he may not be THE BEST player on the team, but he's safe! Pepe is also really good! :)