Using our unique simulation tool, Remiqz is able to predict the course of the World Cup. According to our calculations, there is only a 1.2% chance that star player and captain Cristiano Ronaldo will lift the iconic golden cup after the final, which makes Portugal the ninth most likely winner of the World Cup in Russia.
Portugal is in Group B, together with the incredibly talented Spain, not to be underestimated Morocco and true outsiders Iran. According to our simulation tool, they have a 73.7% chance of getting out of the group. If Portugal progress they will face one of the teams from the relatively weak Group A in the round of 16, which offers loads of possibilities for a run deep into the tournament and the team has proven to be able to grow into a tournament two years ago.
Manager Fernando Santos has opted for a squad with an average EPI of 3358. Cristiano Ronaldo of course stands out as the true star of this team (EPI: 5790), with players like Bernardo Silva (Manchester City, EPI: 4426) and João Moutinho (AS Monaco, EPI: 3783) as a reliable support cast. Portugal have a problem in central defense though: the four players with the lowest EPI are three center backs and a goalkeeper.
Santos excluded the FC Barcelona pair of Nélson Semedo (EPI: 3872) and André Gomes (EPI: 3982) in his selection, while also ignoring Rúben Neves (EPI: 2954) and Diogo Jota (EPI: 3008), who easily cruised to a Championship title with Wolverhampton Wanderers. Renato Sanches (EPI: 2616), who started in the final of Euro 2016 at the age of 18, was not even included in the preliminary squad of 35 players.
The formula that yielded the European Cup for Portugal two years ago was simple yet effective. Portugal played together, compact, and tried to make the most of Cristiano Ronaldo’s huge talents and set pieces. The weak point of this team is in central defense. Former Real Madrid defender Pepe is 35 years old and will be paired with either José Fonte (34 years old) or Bruno Alves (36 years old). Playing these experienced but slow central defenders automatically forces a more defensive way of playing.
Portugal’s system can be described as a 4-4-2, but in possession the wingers have some freedom to come inside or play higher up the pitch. The only midfielder who is not allowed to join the attack is holding midfielder William Carvalho. This team relies heavily on their striker duo: André Silva and Cristiano Ronaldo. Silva is very useful for this Portugal side, because Ronaldo likes to play off a striker instead of being the no.9 himself. In the qualification leading up to the World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo scored 15 goals with Andre Silva bagging 9 goals, which gives a clear idea of how important they are for this team.
Fernando Santos’ team will have some trouble against teams like Morocco and Iran that will force them to make the game. But Portugal are not an easy nut to crack and if they reach the round of 16, they might play themselves to another huge surprise this summer.
(Images by Pro Shots)