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Portugal’s Path To The 2022 FIFA World Cup Final

By Jeff Stinger

Portugal is one of the eight remaining teams in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The 2016 European champions are just two wins away from a final spot in Qatar. They take on the tough-as-nails Moroccan squad in the quarter-final. While it looks like only four teams are slated to win it all, the 22nd edition has had unpredictable moments come from every direction, meaning anything can still happen. With that, what does Portugal need to improve on to actually have a shot at the World Cup title?

Portugal displays promise

READ MORE: How Can France Become The Second Back-To-Back World Cup Winner?

Better off without Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo getting benched might just be the best decision made by head coach Fernando Santos. The +6,600 top goalscorer numbers declined since their second game. Despite topping Group H, his performance leading up to the competition has been in question. Concerns regarding his fitness level and club issues might have pulled him a few steps backward.

Portugal played their best game of the tournament without the star forward. Goncalo Ramos announced himself with his hat trick, while the rest of the team did well while Ronaldo let his ego get the best of him. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner getting benched for both club and country in the span of a few months is concerning. Does he play for his team or himself? Is he willing to make sacrifices for a World Cup title? If he can’t, it might be best for the team if he stays on the bench.

Offense vs. Defense

The imposing defenders of Morocco are sure to test Portugal in this matchup. Even with the European’s route to the quarters, the North African side had plenty of momentum and morale after sending Spain home. Winning a group with two European heavyweights is never an easy task, and their recent achievements show how elite their team is at the moment.

Portugal had been spectacular in the group stage. Their performance went up a notch in the Round of 16, destroying Switzerland 6-1 in one of the finest performances by any team at the tournament. Goncalo Ramos pushed up his top goalscorer odds to +2,500, overtaking teammate and veteran striker Cristiano Ronaldo. Furthermore, Bruno Fernandes and his heavy involvement make him a vital presence for Portugal.

Intimidating opponents

Eight different players have now scored a goal for Portugal. This tells us that there’s a versatile team about to show up, which is intimidating for any defense to take on. It’s important to consider that they did face matchups in their favor in the first four contests, in which they conceded five goals. This is a contrasting tale of offense versus defense. While it would be easy to get carried away after Portugal’s Round of 16 games, it’s important to remember that Morocco is a different animal. They are a particularly tight team when it comes to allowing goals.

Portugal’s upcoming opponents nullified Spain, who had previously scored seven goals against Croatia. There’s been plenty of upsets in Qatar, which bettors and fans enjoyed and looked forward to. Ultimately, the Portuguese crew comes in as -147 favorites to win this one on their road to the World Cup final.

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