World Cup 2018 [Russia]

    • I think it was the summer of 2014 I discovered this site: portugoal.net

      It contains articles/polls/analyses of anything related to Portuguese football (players, managers, clubs etc) and I must say it has been a relief to find fellow Portugal supporters in the comment sections of the site.

      Since 2000, Portugal have managed to qualify for every Euro and World Cup tournament that have taken place, their best run ever. Historically, Portugal was never a consistently qualifying side and the only times prior to 2000 that they qualified and caught the eye were at the WC1966 with Eusebio as the starplayer to lead them to #3 and Euro 1984 where they were defeated in the semis by a Michel Platini-led France. In 2006 they made it to #4 on the back of many veterans of the '90s "Golden Generation" but in 2014, 2010, 2002 and 1986 they had forgetable tournaments. Unlike the Euro's (where Portugal always made it past the group stage and more often than not reached the semis and two finals as well), the WC has never been "our tournament"... Will 2018 finally be the year in which all that changes??

      Obviously the Portugoal team and collaborators are also gearing up for another tournament in which we hope to see Portugal shine, and they too are asking themselves whether things will be different this time around. The site's founder, Tom Kundert (twitter.com/PortuGoal1), often works together with Nathan Motz (twitter.com/nathanmotz) in writing in-depth articles about the Portuguese National 11. Nathan in particular writes some deliciously bias-debunking articles about CR7 and the Selecao in which he even deploys statistics where necessary to bring his point across. I don't particularly believe in the "objective sanctity" that some people bestow on statistics but based on the way I see him use them, I dare to say he isn't misreading them for the sake of his arguments.
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      Nathan can pull of some written magic and it is necessary imo: I find that many so-called 'neutrals' seem to have some deeply rooted resentment for Ronaldo/Portugal that borders on an obsession of hatred. Use their anti-CR/Por arguments against them in regards to THEIR favorite teams/players and suddenly they often crawl back. Take CR's ballon d'or wins. Two he won people claims he only won because of breaking records as an individual rather than winning anything with his teams (Real & Portugal). When he won the bdO in the last two seasons, he was VITAL to both Portugal's Euro triumph and Real's b2b CL wins. Suddenly you hear the likes of Xavi say that the BdO should not be about team achievements. It's like everytime Ronaldo fulfills criteria set to him by his detractors they change the criteria overnight so they can keep criticizing him. This. Is. Annoying. AF. Infuriating. Hence I value Nathan's pieces so much since, without delving into this frustration, he manages to rationally sweep aside all that bullshit. FYI, this is not about people not having the right to dislike Ronaldo or Portugal. This is about the irrationality behind it that their haters deny once you confront them with it. F*ck that sh*t. I am digressing however.


      What I wanted to point you to is this serie of articles Nathan is writing at the moment that focus on Portugal's chances of winning the World Cup by taking a look at the team's players across the keeping/defending/midfield/offensive dimensions and comparing how they measure up to World Cup winning squads of the past by comparing their statistics to each other. A very interesting way to analyse this question!

      Part 1
      portugoal.net/selecao/775-too-early-to-dream-part-one

      Part 2
      portugoal.net/selecao/781-too-early-to-dream-part-two

      Part 2 in particular might be interesting even for people not concerned with Portugal's Quest for Glory exactly because of the comparisons to past winning teams. Take Spain 2010: won the tournament but scored only about half the goals that Germany (#3 at the tournament) did. On the other hand, Spain conceded just TWO goals across all their matches. A Spain side which was hailed for its tika-taka, easy-on-the-eyes passing game was a tough defensive nut to crack. Defensive teams are often criticized but some of the most victorious teams of any major tournament managed what they did exactly because they could count on a defensive backline that kept things together neatly.

      Anyhow, going by Nathan's expertise, as Portugal fans, things aren't looking that bright. We have a keeper we can count on, but our defence lacks that right balance of experience/youth atm... :/ Of course, football is more than mathematics but seeing how at Euro 2016 Portugal were one of the toughest teams to beat because of a solid defence during the knock-out stage. We'll see.