World Cup 2006 Preview – Portugal

| Total Words: 409

Outright Odds: 22/1
Group D Winners: 5/6

After a disastrous 2002 World Cup, in which they finished bottom of their group following defeats by both the United States and South Korea, Portugal will be looking to finally live up to their potential on the international stage.

Qualification was a breeze. They remained unbeaten in their group and finished seven points clear at the top. Portugal meant business in this group, putting 11 past Luxembourg across two legs and hammering second-favourites Russia 7-1 at home.

The charismatic Luiz Felipe Scolari, or Big Phil to his friends, has built a new team to replace the ageing or retired underachievers such as Rui Costa, Joao Pinto and others although Luis Figo, now entering veteran status and out of retirement, will be present in Germany. Despite guiding Portugal to the final of Euro 2004 and emphatic World Cup qualification, the public are still not convinced he is the man for the job.

The teams core is based around four players who won the Champions League with FC Porto in 2004. Defenders Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira and midfielder Maniche now all at Chelsea and Costinha, now at Dinamo Moscow...

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