Monday, June 14, 2010

World Cup - Portugal

Portugal is a country of wingers. So is Holland, but they usually manage to convert some of their guys into forwards. Portugal is just a country of wingers. So they finally imported a striker. Brazilian born Liedson has just recently qualified for Portugese citizenship, and I am fairly certain his application did not go to the bottom of the pile when it was received. But he is exactly what they need. He is not particularly big, but he is pretty good at holding the ball up. Most important, he is a poacher.

Wingers such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Simao, along with central midfielders such as Miguel Veloso, Tiago, Pedro Mendes, and Deco, are going to let fly from all over the field, and that means there will be a lot balls bouncing around in the box. If Portugal manage to get to the quarterfinals or beyond, Liedson could be a surprise competitor for the Golden Boot. Of course, to get that far Portugal will have to beat Brazil and Ivory Coast in their group, and possibly Spain in the round of 16.

This is an extremely talented squad front to back, with a few older players, especially in defense, but no glaring weaknesses. That said, I think it will all come down to Cristiano Ronaldo. If he is in top form, he could really carry Portugal for a solid month, and score a lot of goals in the process. Most people would probably say that Messi is the best player in the world, and it is hard to argue given the season he has had at Barcelona, but Ronaldo is not far off. A big tournament for him could take that crown away from the diminutive Argentine.

I think Portugal will get out of their group, but not without some tense moments. It is an unfortunate quirk of the draw that the second place team from this group will probably have to play Spain in the round of 16. That is a match better suited for the semi-finals given the talent on display.

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