Portugal and the Unaccounted Generation

Portugal and the Unaccounted Generation

Portugal is one of the many countries that are not really counted on to go further in the 2022 World Cup. Even just to go to Qatar, Portugal has to go through the playoff European zone qualification. Because they only finished second in Group A standings in the European Zone World Cup Qualification, under Serbia.

In performance on the scene World Cup, Portugal counted noob. Their best achievement is just being third place in the World Cup 1966 which was also Portugal's debut in the world cup.

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Meanwhile, 4 editions World Cup after that Portugal failed to qualify. They re-entered the 1986 World Cup and ended up in the group phase. Just like before, their 3rd edition didn't qualify again.

However, entering the 2000s Portugal always made it into the world cup. Of the 5 editions of the world cup, their best achievement was only being fourth at the 2006 World Cup. The rest, they only reached the round of 16.

Golden Generation

In the early 2000s, Portugal had golden generation which was predicted to be the year of Portugal. From 2000 to 2006, the Portugal squad featured many star players such as Rui Costa, João Pinto, Paulo Sousa, Costinha, Ricardo Carvalho, Luís Figo, Nuno Gomes, Pauleta, Deco and Simão.

The European Cup in 2000 was the beginning of the shining of this generation. In that tournament, Portugal was able to advance to the semifinals before being defeated by France who eventually won.

Meanwhile, at the 2004 European Cup, Portugal shot again and almost grabbed the championship. However, in the top party, those with the status of being the host were actually defeated by a country that was not even a candidate for fast progress, namely Greece.

It was truly an anomaly for Portugal's golden generation at the 2004 European Cup. Apparently, playing in front of an audience alone was not enough to make Portugal win the title. They had to be defeated by a phenomenal dark horse team at that time, Greece.

Portugal and the Unaccounted Generation
Source: 90min

The hope of Portugal's golden generation is back on the mat World Cup 2006. With a generational squad that has aged, they are of course aiming for "gold" in the tournament, because there is no longer time for those golden generations to be able to make Portugal proud.

It's a thousand pity, they had to be defeated in the semifinals by the champion, France. Suffering continued in the fight for third place, they were eliminated by the host Germany. In the end they had to settle for being “fourth place”.

In the end, this golden generation of Portugal is not really “gold”. Because Figo et al. could not bring Portugal won the title.

The New Era

After the end of Portugal's golden generation era in the 2000s, now comes a new golden era of Portugal. This era was led by the superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. Together with the maestro, Portugal finally won two international tournaments.

Even with a team that isn't very gold, Ronado et al. can prove that collective work along with their luck factor can pay off.

Portugal and the Unaccounted Generation
Source: Sky Sports

Precisely at the 2016 European Cup. Portugal came to France not with the status of a team that was predicted to become a champion. Even Portugal in the group phase only pocketed 3 points from the results of 3 matches, and was only ranked third at that time under Hungary and Austria.

They qualified for the round of 16 after being able to rank third out of 6 countries that are members of the third best ranking group. Even so, they only have a goal difference of only 0.

In the last 16, they beat Croatia in extra time. Then beat Poland on penalties in the quarter-finals. Beat Wales in semifinal. And surprisingly beat France in the final through extra time with a narrow score of 0-1.

Portugal also won the National League tournament again in 2019 after beating the Netherlands in the final with a narrow score of 1-0.

The Missing Squad

On World Cup In 2022, Fernando Santos actually has a better squad in terms of quality than in previous years. Perhaps this year can be called a new era of Portugal being born.

Under the guidance of the maestro Ronaldo, there are many potential young players in every line of positions that are on the rise. Call it Diogo Costa under the crossbar. In the defense sector there are young players like Antonio Silva and Diogo Dalot who are mentored by seniors like Pepe and Cancelo.

The midfield position is the same, there are star players like Rúben Neves, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes and potential young player Vitinha. On the front, there are potential young players in Rafael Leão, João Félix and Gonçalo Ramos who will be coached directly by Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, there is one thing that might be quite disturbing Portugal later. Precisely the problem comes from their mega star, Cristiano Ronaldo. After Ronaldo's excited interview with Piers Morgan last week, suddenly the whole world was talking about Ronaldo's relationship with his club Manchester United.

Even the latest news shows that Ronaldo and Manchester United have agreed end the contract amicably.

Portugal and the Unaccounted Generation
Source: manutd.com

For the media crew, of course, this kind of thing is what they continue to raise, rather than discussing the depth of the Portugal squad, which has actually given birth to a new generation. Though, it could be this is World Cup Ronaldo's last before he retired.

Of course, it's just how Fernando Santos controls the atmosphere of the Portuguese locker room. If he is able to control and separate personal problems from those in the national team, it is not impossible that a new spirit will emerge within the Portugal squad.

This new enthusiasm can also emerge for Ronaldo's colleagues in Portugal. they should be able to deliver the first trophy World Cup for Ronaldo, who may soon finish his career.


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