Portugal made it to the 2014 World Cup on the back of the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, in a heroic effort against Sweden in a playoff game that finished 3-2. Portugal were forced to be in a playoff with Sweden because they leaked goals in UEFA World Cup Qualifying, including five allowed against Israel.
Their defense will have to step things up now because their World Cup group, Group G, has been called the “Group of Death by many. Portugal ended up in the same group as Germany, Ghana and the United States.
Like their in-group opponents, the United States, Portugal are going to have to scrap to make it to the knockout stage. It’s likely that the team that finishes second in Group G will need to have at least four points and a fairly decent goal differential. Portugal have shown flashes of being a great team, but also showed signs of being vulnerable.
I predict that the Portuguese will defeat Ghana and tie the United States, but the team’s defense will be their undoing and allow Germany to run riot on their goalkeeper, allowing the United States to seal second place in Group G on goal differential.
However, as always, Ronaldo could change everything by doing something amazing.
Group Stage Game One: Portugal vs. Germany – Monday, June 16, Noon EST on ESPN
Group Stage Game Two: Portugal vs. United States – Sunday, June 22, 6 p.m. EST on ESPN
Group Stage Game Three: Portugal vs. Ghana – Thursday, June 26, Noon EST on ESPN2