Euro 2024 Football Preview

Euro 2024: Portugal Preview

Portugal are in Germany with a second European crown in their sights — and superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will be determined to fire them to glory. Boss Roberto Martinez has talent galore at his disposal but Ronaldo, who turns 40 in February, could be the one to make the difference when it counts. 

After cruising through qualifying with a perfect record, the Portuguese are heavily backed to go all the way. They won all 10 of their games in Group J, scoring 36 goals and conceding just two along the way. Drawn in Group F alongside Turkey, Georgia and the Czech Republic, Portugal are perfectly capable of progressing to the knockout phase without breaking sweat.

And with Ronaldo ably supported by the likes of Premier League stars Ruben Dias, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva and Diogo Jota, the chances are Martinez’s men will take some stopping.

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Portugal’s Euro 2024 group stage fixtures

June 18: Portugal vs Czech Republic, 8pm BST, Leipzig

June 22: Turkey vs Portugal, 5pm BST, Dortmund

June 26: Georgia vs Portugal, 8pm BST, Gelsenkirchen

Star man: Cristiano Ronaldo

Odds are subject to change*

Ronaldo may be 39 and playing his football in Saudi Arabia for Al-Nassr these days but Martinez still has faith in Portugal’s talisman. After announcing his squad for Euro 2024, the Spaniard said: “Regarding Cristiano, it’s better to talk about the data.

“He is a player who scores 42 goals for his club and this shows his continuity and physical ability to always be fit, in addition to the quality he has in front of goal that we really like and need.”

As his country’s record scorer, Ronaldo will be keen to add more goals to his tally when he plays in a record-breaking sixth European Championship. Despite his advancing years, he remains in peak condition and shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. 

It remains to be seen what he has left in the locker at a major tournament but the chances are Portugal will be one of the toughest teams to beat in Germany if Ronaldo shines.

Ronaldo is 17.00 to be named the Player of the Tournament.

Manager: Roberto Martinez

Martinez has picked a squad bursting with experience and it would not be a surprise to see his men conquer Europe on German soil. With 2016 winners Rui Patricio, Pepe and Ronaldo among his 26-man party, the former Belgium boss has turned to players who have delivered time and time again for both club and country.

And he is clearly not concerned by any lingering doubts about whether Ronaldo and Ruben Neves have damaged their careers by plying their trade in the Saudi Pro League. 

Martinez said: “We don’t make choices based on where the players play. We want to create the best team and call the 26 players who make up the best team. We monitor the players’ individual performance and role they have in the locker room. 

“There are players who have secondary roles in important locker rooms and others who have important roles in less strong locker rooms. Since March 2023 until now, we have a lot of information.”

If Portugal are to repeat the success of eight years ago, Martinez may need Ronaldo to defy the odds and sparkle at yet another major tournament. But with a strong supporting cast at his disposal, do not bet against his side getting their hands on the trophy come July 14.

Portugal are 7.50 to win Euro 2024.

One to watch: Rafael Leao

After dazzling for AC Milan, Rafael Leao reportedly has a number of suitors ready to splash the cash on him this summer. Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Saudi side Al-Hilal are all rumoured to be preparing blockbuster moves.

But with a hefty release clause in his contract, the left winger may yet remain at the San Siro for some time to come. Regardless of where his future lies, all eyes will be on the rising star during Portugal’s Euro 2024 campaign. 

Speaking in March, Martinez said: “I really like Leao’s personality and scoring goals is part of that. It’s his talent and personality plays an important role. He has shown excellent maturity in the games played with the national team. Rafa is a very important player for us.”

Leao is an eye-catching 71.00 to win the Player of the Tournament accolade.

Portugal Squad For Euro 2024

Goalkeepers: Diogo Costa (Porto), Jose Sa (Wolves), Rui Patricio (Roma)

Defenders: Antonio Silva (Benfica), Danilo Pereira (Paris Saint-Germain), Diogo Dalot (Manchester United), Goncalo Inacio (Sporting Lisbon), Joao Cancelo (Barcelona), Nelson Semedo (Wolves), Nuno Mendes (Paris Saint-Germain), Pepe (Porto), Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Joao Neves (Benfica), Joao Palhinha (Fulham), Matheus Nunes (Manchester City), Ruben Neves (Al-Hilal), Vitinha (Paris Saint-Germain)

Forwards: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Al-Nassr), Diogo Jota (Liverpool), Francisco Conceicao (Porto), Goncalo Ramos (Paris Saint-Germain), Joao Felix (Barcelona), Pedro Neto (Wolves), Rafael Leao (AC Milan)

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