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World Cup: Portugal Preview

Portugal has the second best odds to win Group G and while they barely qualified for South Africa they are the third ranked team in the world and they have a solid defense.

Bovada has Portugal at +5000 to win the World Cup and at +350 to win Group G.

Portugal is in the Group of Death and beating Ivory Coast, who may be the best team from Africa, and Brazil will be far from easy.

Even though Portugal has Cristiano Ronaldo, who is one of the best offensive minded midfielders in the world, how far they go in the World Cup may come down to how their defense plays.

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South Africa will be Portugal’s fourth World Cup and their third in a row and they have made the semifinals twice (2006, 1966).

In the 2006 World Cup Portugal finished third, but in qualifying for this one they started off very slowly and then caught fire coming in second in their group and then beating Bosnia-Herzegovina in a playoff.

Bruno Alves and Ricardo Carvalho of Chelsea anchor a solid offense and they will have to play well, especially when they face Brazil and Ivory Coast in group play, as each has a great offense. The midfield is good led by Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and he will have to provide some offense this summer and help control the midfield.

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The Portuguese do have Cristiano Ronaldo, but their main weakness is from the striker position and they had problems scoring goals in World Cup qualifying. The Portuguese may have to rely on the counter-attack coming from the defense and their midfielders to score. Liedson is their main striker, but he will need help and if he gets some from the midfield and Ronaldo Portugal will be tough to beat.

Head coach Carlos Queiroz is a coach that does not lack fire and he commands discipline from his players. He forces the issue in the midfield and counts on long runs from the wingers and long balls from the midfield.

The last match between Portugal and Brazil may be the big one, as there is a good chance that the winner of the match will win Group G. Also, their first match against Ivory Coast is important, as if they lose they may have to beat Brazil just to make it out of group play.

Portugal World Cup Schedule

6/15/2010 Ivory Coast vs. Portugal
6/21/2010 Portugal vs. North Korea
6/25/2010 Portugal vs. Brazil