Down-and-out Portugal aims for glory
HindustanTimes.com acquaints you with Group D favourite for World Cup. FIFA Rewind : England, 1966 World Cup | Picsindia Updated: Jun 05, 2006 09:36 IST
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PORTUGAL- Odds 20/1
Group D> Angola, Iran, Mexico
Qualification> Winner of Europe Group 3
World Cup wins> None
A trivia to begin with: What happens when four unfancied, lowly rated teams are clubbed together in a single World Cup group?
It creates the least amount of interest among football fans! The only people feeling smug are shrewd employers seeing their work force get back at work.
|Portugal - 7th|
|Mexico - 4th|
|Angola - 57th|
|Iran - 23rd|
Group D - with Mexico, Portugal, Angola and Iran - looks a perfect fit for the above description.
Punters predict with reasonable confidence, that these four teams with the present bench-strength, have one-in-a zillion chance of earning a place in the last 16.
Even though, on paper, Portugal appear to be favourites, but there current unimpressive run belittles that notion. In World Cup qualifiers it drew 2-2 with Liechtenstein, then narrowly escaped what could have been a huge setback at home.
The only flicker of hope among Portugese fans and coach Felipe Scolari are two amazing talents - Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo. Both have the attacking flair in their maneuvers and are well known for their antics. Their only test: Can they deliver at the big stage?
Mexico, like Portugal, look out of place in terms of performance. On Friday, it lost to a second-string Holland side, which even the Dutch coach described as a 'nice surprise'.
Angola and Iran are the teams that will be lurking in case Portugal or Mexico slip up.
Who to watch:Hugo Viana. The 23-year-old midfielder is the new face in the squad, and was named as the Young European Footballer of the Year.
Who's missing: Center back Jorge Andrade is out while recoverying from a knee injury, while 22-year-old Porto winger Ricardo Quaresma, formerly of Barcelona, was left out for the more experienced Simão Sabrosa and Nuno Gomes.
Portugalhas held the upper hand against African minnows, winning the 2 games that have been played till now.
Mark your date:Portugal v Angola, June 12, 0030 IST
Iranhas never facedPortugal in a World Cup game or a warm-up match till now.
Mark your date: Portugal v Iran, June 17, 1830 IST
Mexicohas never facedPortugal in a World Cup game or a warm-up match till now.
Mark your date: Portugal v Mexico, June 21, 1930 IST
GroupE would bereviewed tomorrow.