The Portugal national football team goes the FIFA World Cup as the current European Championship Winner. Red-Greens were confidently qualified, having won all matches but oneand got into the final from the first place.
Over the last two decades Portugal is one of the leading world teams. The same can't be said about the earlier period.
Until 2002 Portuguese participated only in two World Cups. However, already in the first tournament in 1966 they achieved the highest success — the team led by Eusebio, the legend of the Portuguese football, won the bronze medals. At the group stage the Portugal national team won three matches and showed the fine attacking football. In each match the tournament debutants scored three balls including Brazil, that time World Cup Champion. The Portuguese goal fairy show went on during the quarter-final match. The national team of DPRK missed five balls (including four from Eusebio) and went home. In the semi-final the Portuguese conceded to the British hosts of the tournament who later became the winners. In the 3rd place match Portugal beat the USSR national team. Thus, the Portugal national team became the bronze medalist of the 1966 FIFA World Cup, and Eusebio got the top goalscorer.
At the turn of the century the time of so-called “gold generation” of the Portugal national team came. That was the time of Luis Figo, the midfielder of Barcelona and Real Madrid, a bit later Cristiano Ronaldo received the burden of leadership. The Portugal national team began to be called one of the main contenders at the World Cups and European Championships. However, the Portuguese failed to reach any significant success at the World Cups. The Portuguese performed at the 2002 and 2014 World Cups much worse than they could. They even failed to leave the group.
For Red-Greens the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany was far more successful. Portugal was lucky with the draw. At the group stage the Portuguese got into, perhaps, the weakest group. The opponents were the Mexico, Angola and Iran teams. In matches with these teams the Red-Greens won three easy victories and progressed to the play-off from the first place. The further way of the team was far more complicated and scandal. In the round of last 16 Portugal by the minimum score beat the Netherlands team. That match was remembered due to, first of all, scandalous refereeing of Valentin Ivanov. In the quarter-final Portugal in a penalty shootout beat the England team, and in the semi-final conceded to the French national team by the minimal score. The Portugal national team lost the third place match of “one way traffic” to the hosts of the tournament, the German national team. Thereby, the Portuguese stopped in only one step from repetition of their achievement in 1966.
The Portugal national team achieved its great success in the European Championships. For the first time the Portuguese participated in the final tournament only in 1984, but already then they could leave the group with no loss and get to the semi-final. The Red-Greens only into injury time conceded in the semi-final to the French national team shining in that tournament.
In 1996 Portugal for the second time in the history was selected in the final tournament where they again were able to overcome the group stage successfully. Four years later in the European Championship in Belgium and the Netherlands the Portuguese were remembered by their bright game, and they achieved at the same time quite good results. At the group stage the Red-Greens won three times over the Romania, England and Germany teams. In the quarter-final Portugal had no problems with the team of Turkey (victory by a score of 2:0), and in the semi-final the Red-Greens were expected to play against the France team. This match became, perhaps, the most dramatic in the history of the Portuguese football. 117 minutes into the match the ball in the penalty area got into the hands of the Portuguese defender Abel Xavier, then Zinedine Zidane surely realized a penalty. Portugal got the bronze medals.
Four years later, Portugal hosted the main European Championship. On the home pitch the owners were considered as the main favorite of the European Championship, but they failed to get the desired trophy. In the home tournament the Portuguese lost two games: the opening match and the final. At the same time, both times the Greek national team, which before the championship was considered as one of outsiders, won over Portugal. The hosts of the tournament at the group stage won over the Russian national team and the Spain national team, in the quarter-final they beat the English national team on penalty, and in the semi-final — the Netherlands team. Time of Portugal would come 12 years later, until then in the home tournament the Red-Greens were grateful for the silver.
In the tournament 2012 which was in Poland and Ukraine, the Portugal national team won the bronze medals again. The Red-Greens surely left the heavy group and the Netherlands and Denmark national teams, and in the quarter-final they beat the Czech Republic national team, thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo`s goal. In the boring semi-final with the Spanish national team the normal and extra time came to the end by a score of 0:0, and in a penalty shootout the Spaniards were more successful and won the tournament.
The next European Championship in France unexpectedly became triumphal for Portugal. Under the leadership of Fernando Santos the Red-Greens showed the defensive football hoping in the attack to the skills of their main star Cristiano Ronaldo. Surprisingly, but Portugal won the tournament just with the only victory for the normal time. At the group stage the Portuguese drew all three matches and left the group only from the third place. In the round of last 16 Portugal met with the Croatia team which were very strong at the group stage. The Croats were favorites in this pair, but the Portuguese were able to defend a goalless draw, and at the end of injury time Ricardo Quaresma scored a decider. In the quarter-final the Portugal national team finished the match in a draw again — that time against the Poland team. The Portuguese were stronger on a penalty. In the semi-final the Red-Greens won for the first time in the tournament and surely beat Wales. In the decisive match the Portuguese played against the hosts of the tournament, the French national team. The Three-Colored were considered as the favorites of the match, and, seeking to justify this rank, played the whole match attacking. The Portuguese stood, and into injury time in a rare counterattack the forward of Red-Greens Eder, not scoring earlier, scored the major goal in the history of Portugal. Portugal is the European Championship Winner 2016!
Portugal took part in the FIFA Confederations CupRussia 2017 as the European Championship Winner. The Portugal national football team confidently overcame the group stage, but they lost to the Chile national team in the semi-final Nevertheless, the bronze medals of the Confederations Cup 2017 became the first award of the Portuguese in this tournament.
The Portugal team under the present coach Santos professes the defensive football counting on rapid counter-attacks. An undisputed leader of the team is Cristiano Ronaldo, the best player of the planet, who is the basis of the team attacking play. The Portuguese, certainly, will be one of the main favorites of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.