Portugal Tickets for Sale
Given that Portugal finished as finalists at UEFA EURO 2004 and semi-finalists at World Cup Germany 2006, A Selecção das Quinas have displayed some electrifying football in recent history, but the Portuguese have never taken home a major prize. Having never progressed beyond the semi-finals of a World Cup event, Portugal is setting its sights on going all the way come the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.
Coach Carlos Queiroz, who was born in Mozambique, is no stranger to South Africa, and his prior experience as the host nation's coach could prove to be very valuable. With the likes of such talented players as their superstar captain, striker Cristiano Ronaldo, and mid-fielders Pepe and Deco to call upon as needed, Queiroz is fully aware of just how high the expectations will be.
After getting only one win out of their first five group matches, Portugal quickly went from being the favorites to finding themselves on the verge of elimination. However, the second half of the qualifier brought about quite a spectacular turnaround, and A Selecção das Quinas scored eight goals, while allowing none, in their last four group matches to earn a playoff spot. Despite the absence of Ronaldo, the face of their nation's team, for the two-legged tie against Bosnia-Herzegovina, they won home and away to clinch a comfortable 2-0 aggregate victory.
While Portuguese fans are understandably excited about Cristiano Ronaldo's involvement on soccer's biggest stage, the 2008 FIFA World Player played only a minor role during qualification, having failed to score in any of his seven appearances. Regardless, the Real Madrid star has become known for the ability to rise up in any big situation and will undoubtedly be one of the main players to watch come South Africa 2010.
A Selecção das Quinas is no pushover on defense either, with Bruno Alves providing plenty of aggressive play and aerial ability at both ends of the field, while Ricardo Carvalho possesses plenty of solid experience on the backline as well. While Pepe may be questionable in the mid-field following a knee injury, with the loss of defender Jose Bosingwa also worth a mention, veterans Simao and Deco will be expected to step up at forward and in the mid-field respectively.
Having taken stars such as Luis Figo, Rui Costa, and Fernando Couto to consecutive FIFA World Youth Championship titles in 1989 and 1991, Queiroz is credited with being the mastermind behind Portugal's "Golden Generation". At the senior level, the coach has enjoyed great success as assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson, with a ten-month run in at the helm of Real Madrid falling between two stops as second-in-charge at Manchester United. Upon succeeding Luiz Felipe Scolari following EURO 2008, this is Queiroz's second time as the senior national team coach; he last coached the senior team from 1991 to 1993, a disappointing span in which he failed to take the squad to either EURO 1992 or the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
South Africa 2010 will be Portugal's fifth FIFA World Cup appearance, but it was Portugal's first FIFA World Cup appearance which set the bar incredibly high in 1966; A Selecção das Quinas finished third along with Eusebio's winning of the Golden Boot. This inaugural performance remains Portugal's best performance to date on football's biggest stage. After failing to make it out of the first stage in 1986 and 2002, it was at Germany 2006 where Portugal marked their return to FIFA World Cup form. Undefeated through the group phase, they went on to defeat the Netherlands and England en route to the semi-finals, only to lose 1-0 to France before going down Germany in the third-place playoff match.
Portugal is confident they are truly in contention to win FIFA's most prestigious title and are poised to take hold of this special moment in their football history. To see just how far their great pedigree and determination might carry this team, you must order 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa tickets right away and be there this summer to find out.