In the history of the Euro, only Spain has achieved the double, winning consecutively the editions of 2008 and 2012. Winner in 2016 by beating France at the Stade de France (1-0, Eder's goal in overtime) , Portugal, which begins its competition against Hungary in Budapest on Tuesday (6 p.m., BeIN Sports) seems well equipped to go far.
Many observers believe that this year's team is stronger than the one crowned European champion five years ago.
This is the case of journalist Eric Mendes, Portuguese football specialist, and regular speaker on Radio Alfa, the radio of the Portuguese-speaking community in Ile-de-France.
Less dependent on Cristiano Ronaldo ...
“The victory in 2016 was a trigger for Portugal which showed that they could go far in important competitions, he believes.
Even if her 2018 World Cup (8th finalist) was mixed, she won the Nations League in 2019. Compared to 2016, the team is more talented.
She is less dependent on Cristiano Ronaldo.
There is a new generation that wants to take power.
There is physical and technical density in the middle.
In terms of team balance, there is no equivalent apart from France.
According to him, the only relative weakness would be at the level of the central hinge.
“To play next to Rúben Dias, the age is there for Pepe (38 years old) and Fonte (37 years old), he slips.
The announcement on Sunday of the withdrawal of right-back Joao Cancelo (positive for Covid-19) is also a blow.
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"In terms of pure talent, this year's team is better, it is more technically advanced," supports Marco Martins, journalist for RFI and correspondent for the Portuguese newspaper Record.
Rúben Dias was voted the best player in the Premier League for his first season, João Félix was bought more than 100 million euros by Atlético Madrid, Bernardo Silva has taken on another dimension since he has been at Manchester City, Bruno Fernandes too… And we finally have a technically good center-forward who has feet, André Silva.
There are also a lot of little-known nuggets like Nuno Mendes, 19, who can be a good alternative to Guerreiro on the left side.
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But paradoxically, it's also the downside that we can bring to this team. “The 2016 one was more pugnacious,” continues Marco Martins. They started with three draws including a 3-3 against Hungary and narrowly qualified. It could have buried any other team, but this Portugal had self-sacrifice and a real collective. There were also stars like Nani or Quaresma, but they were already old and put themselves at the service of the team first. There, the state of mind is a little different. There are so many good players that they find it difficult to play together. Everyone has a tendency to want to make a difference on their own ... It's a team that needs to be confident in order to express itself, if the match goes badly, it can be more complicated,it's a bit of a danger when there are so many talented players on the pitch. Nobody disputes the choices publicly, but we see certain attitudes on the bench or during replacements. Ronaldo remains the irremovable star but others want to behave like him. "
CR7 aims for all-time national record 109 goals
At 36, Ronaldo still finished top scorer (29 goals) in Serie A with Juventus.
"But compared to 2016, he is five years older and we can see that his statistics decline in the Champions League," notes Marco Martins.
“Even if he is no longer in his best years, he still takes up space, he keeps his stature as a captain and still loving the game, believes him, Eric Mendes.
He remains one of the top three players in the world and rarely misses out on major competitions.
Author of 104 goals in 175 caps, CR7, aims for the all-time record of 109 national goals, held since 2006 by Iranian Ali Daei.
"He really cares," Eric Mendes continues.
It makes him think a little and I would have preferred that he had got rid of it before the competition.
But he loves the light and the Euro may be the best stage for him to break this record.
This can only increase his motivation tenfold.
Bom trabalho EQUIPA!
🇵🇹👏🏽 #campeoesdaeuropa pic.twitter.com/Cx3827VKee
- Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) June 4, 2021
In this group F "of death", starting with Hungary can be an advantage. “If Portugal wins, they can put pressure on Germany and France,” concludes Eric Mendes. It's a team that likes to manage well. Fernando Santos is a bit of a Portuguese Deschamps. It is first of all in pragmatism and efficiency. We can say whatever we want, but one thing has not changed: Portugal will always be a complicated team to play and annoying to foil. "