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Sports

Portugal’s Prospects in UEFA Nations League 2024/25

Once the European Championships are over this summer, attention will turn to the Nations League. The tournament gives teams another chance to qualify for the Euros without having to host or win a group stage. For Portugal, that might offer them security if they have a difficult qualifying group.

Fixture Schedule and Match Previews

Portugal vs. Croatia Thursday, September 5, 19:45 UK time / 20:45 CET 

The match will see two former Real Madrid team-mates on opposite sides. Cristiano Ronaldo shows no intention of stepping down, while Luka Modric has hinted he could play on for Croatia beyond Euro 2024. Two accomplished sides may try to avoid defeat.

Portugal vs. Scotland Sunday, September 8, 19:45 UK time / 20:45 CET

Their second consecutive home match in the Nations League sees Portugal looking for what should be a routine win against a weaker side. However Scotland are more than capable of springing a surprise and with players like Scott McTominay and Andy Robertson, they have players with experience in the Premier League and Champions League.

Poland vs. Portugal Saturday, October 12, 19:45 UK time / 20:45 CET

A trip to Poland awaits in October, their first away match of the tournament. If Robert Lewandowski continues to pull on a Poland shirt then Portugal  will not have it all their own way.

Scotland vs. Portugal Tuesday, October 15, 19:45 UK time / 20:45 CET

Portugal then follow a visit to Portugal with a game in Scotland, which can produce one of the most intimidating atmospheres in international football. Depending on how the first few matches have gone, Ronaldo and co will know whether they need to push on for a victory or if a point will be enough.

Portugal vs. Poland Friday, November 15, 19:45 UK time / 20:45 CET

Back in their home country, Portugal will need to make the most of their chance against Poland because the group finale is one of the toughest games they will face.

Croatia vs. Portugal Monday, November 18, 19:45 UK time / 20:45 CET

That final game is an away game at Croatia, who right now seem to be the toughest opponents for Portugal in their group. If they have not already qualified – and if Croatia also need to get something from the game – then a high-pressure, high-stakes game could be a classic.

Squad Analysis and Key Players

Analysis of Portugal’s squad for the UEFA Nations League 2024/25, highlighting key players and their roles in the team. Discuss standout performers, emerging talents, and the team’s overall strengths.

Diogo Jota – The Liverpool forward’s emergence as a hugely dangerous threat up front is one of the reasons that his club will likely negotiate Mo Salah’s expected summer exit. A versatile forward, he can adapt depending on how his team-mates are lined up. For club he averages a goal every game and for country, one in every three.

Cristiano Ronaldo – One can obviously be sceptical of the quality of the Saudi Pro League, but there are no shortage of superstars in the Kingdom, and the 39-year-old Ronaldo is back to scoring a goal a game in domestic football. He is hardly goal-shy at international level and if he retains his commitment to physical excellence and his ability to score when it matters, he could remain an essential presence.

Rafael Leao – The AC Milan forward continues to be linked with the very biggest sides in world football, and an impressive Euros could earn him that transfer. If he finds himself at Real, PSG, Barcelona or in the Premier League, he could find himself a senior player for Portugal at the Nations League, offering a threat from one of the flanks.

Bernado Silva – There are questions over his future, with the 32-year-old potentially moving on in the summer for his long-anticipated move to Barcelona, though the Saudi Pro League are also reportedly interested. Silva is one of the greatest players of his generation and offers creativity through the middle and the ability to operate out wide.

Bruno Fernandes – While not offering the technical brilliance of the other stars in the side, he has shown himself to be a leader at Manchester United and a regular scorer from a deeper starting spot than most attacking players. His sheer determination merits his conclusion, but if he finds himself less frustrated than he does in his day job, he could thrive in the Nations League.

Tactical Preview and Strategies

For Portugal, much of the difficulty comes from accommodating one superstar who is no longer the out-and-out best player they have. For many years, the explosive and decisive Ronaldo could rightly demand the ball with the expectation he could and would score. While he remains an outstanding athlete, his powers have waned, and any coach will need to integrate his talent and ego while making the most of quicker and more technically adept players such as Rafael Leao, Bernardo Silva and Diogo Jota, while harnessing the forceful goalscoring form midfield of Bruno Fernandes.

Road to the Finals

Key for Portugal is to make the most of their two starting home games. If they can grab a win against Croatia then they have a headstart on their closest rivals and should be confident of then getting to six points against Scotland. Two potentially tricky away matches at Poland and then Scotland will be made much harder if they are playing catch-up, and a finale with Croatia – away from home – is not a tie they want any pressure on for.

Opponents and Rivals

Scotland are the weakest side in the group. There are some standout players, such as Scott McTominay, Andrew Robertson, and John McGinn, but after that trio there is a real drop-off in quality and depth. They have admittedly shown their ability to spring surprises on the pitch, but Portugal’s sheer quality up front should make the difference.

Croatia can look to Luka Modric, but like Scotland, their squad depth is not their best quality. Josko Gvardiol, Ivan Perisic and Mateo Kovacic all have experience at the top level of football, but they have to rely on teamwork and discipline to make sure they make the most of their top talents and do not give up any errors.

Poland must hope that Robert Lewandowski continues to play international football but there is a chance he could step away after the Euros. The Barcelona veteran is not the player he was at Bayern Munich, but can still be lethal if the chances are presented to him.

Fan Expectations and Support

Portugal’s fans are some of the most passionate in the world, with the Iberian support ready to come out in force at home, and to travel abroad to lend their voice in away games. With Ronaldo, Bruno Fernades, Bernardo Silva and many other stars, supporters will be determined to see their team win and secure a spot in the following European Championships.

Socios.com Partnership

With Portugal partnering with Socios.com, fans of the national team can track their progress, follow all their success, and also find exclusive content and ways to get to the heart of the action for the upcoming Nations League.

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