Today in the 10th or 16 blogs, I will look at a favorite to win it all in Portugal.
On June 7, Portugal will start the tourney against Turkey. In this match against Turkey, we're going to see just how good the Portuguese really are. They are a good side, but can they handle this big pressure or will they fold under like at EURO 2004? With a strong showing against Turkey, the Portuguese will prove their dominance and will show that it will take a lot to beat them. But with a loss, Portugal are reduced to a little better than Spanish side. By that, I mean they seem to choke at the most opportune moment or they just don't make a tourney, which hasn't happened in a while. So, without any more stupidity from my own behalf, let's look at some key players and such.
Strength- Well, this is one of the easiest decisions I could ever make. The midfield is stacked with guys like Simao, Quaresma, Maniche, Deco, Meireles, Nani, Petit, and some guy named Cristiano Ronaldo. With that kind of a midfield, you take all kinds of pressure off of other people. With these guys attacking, sometimes you don't even realize they have one guy (usually Helder Postiga or Nuno Gomes) up top helping in the attack. If these guys play like they did at the last World Cup (specifically Maniche), they are even more of a threat than everyone thinks they are.
Weakness- This side's one big weakness has been and will be it's attitude for a while. With guys like Ronaldo, Deco, and Carvalho dancing around the pitch, many players take great offence and don't like it. Portugal are also known for a few shady tactics at time (hmmm... Ronaldo). With people (Ronaldo) flopping around and trying to start things (with Wayne Rooney), Portugal have a target on their backs. These tactics may be found as amusing to some, but this can hurt a team when the you are in a tourney that is small like a EURO. If you help motivate the other team, you aren't doing any favors to yourself and one slip-up in the EURO could cost you, even if you do win the next two. So, in short, Portugal should watch what they do and say and they should be fine.
Player to Watch- Well, there's one guy that is obvious. His name is Quim, the backup goalkeeper. Yes, I'm kidding. Cristiano Ronaldo is easily the most influential player in the tourney. If he plays well, he can carry any team against anyone to victory. But if he play poorly, he can also drag his whole side down. But Ronaldo almost never plays bad because he always seems to turn it around late in the match or he comes out of nowhere to end up scoring or making a difference.
Prediction- Portugal will win Group A with a little effort and they will roll into the Quarter-Finals.
Once again, thanks. Tomorrow, I'll look at Romania. Until next time, it's been Keeper and I'm out.