Monday, May 26, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: Portugal Team Preview

The squad: Portugal were the only nation to reach the semis at both Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup. They will long rue their failure to capture Euro 2004 on home soil, losing the final 1-0 to unfancied Greece. Portugal's qualifying run was unimpressive, finishing second behind Poland in a weak Group A after winning only 7 of 14 matches.

The players: Cristiano Ronaldo is among several key players who ply their trade in the English Premier League. The Manchester United striker is joined up front by fellow Champions League winner Nani, while Chelsea defenders Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferrreira man the back. Playmaking midfielder Deco may be joining them in England next season after receiving permission to leave FC Barcelona. If Portugal find themselves in a penalty shootout, goaltender Ricardo Pereira is among the world's best in those scenarios.

The schedule: vs. Turkey (6/7); vs. Czech Republic (6/11); vs. Switzerland (6/15)

The prediction: The draw sets Portugal up for a run to the semifinals where they'll be sent home by the Germans.

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