Trophy Lager: Why Portugal believe they can win it

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An electrifying draw with Spain in their opener repositioned the Selecao as one of the tournament's favourites

European champions Portugal had a terrific run on the road to the grandest football tournament in the world.

Their only loss came against second-placed Switzerland as they won nine of 10 qualifying games in Group B, and did so scoring 32 goals, conceding a paltry four.

Centre to this is their captain and Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who netted 15 goals which was only jointly bettered by the trio of Robert Lewandowski [Poland], Marcus Berg [Sweden] and Christian Eriksen [Denmark] on 16.

Road to Trophy

Fernando Santos' men are placed in Group B where they started their campaign in electrifying fashion. The Selecao entertained Spain in a tie already in contention for the match of the tournament. Ronaldo's hat-trick ensured they secured a 3-3 draw. However, they still have to negotiate their way past Morocco and Iran.

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Qualification was pretty easy for Portugal, but their tune-up games stretched them to the limit, and were largely unimpressive.  Starting off with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Egypt, they soon hit the wrong notes with a disappointing 3-0 loss to the Netherlands, an embarrassing draw to Tunisia, a goalless stalemate with Belgium followed but they headed to Russia on the back of a 3-0 win over minnows Saudi Arabia.

However, if the game against Spain is anything to go by, Ronaldo and Portugal are the team to beat. The Real Madrid star put in a five-star shift to start and finish the tie as his trademark free-kick ensured the Selecao take a point off La Roja.

Star Player

Who else but Cristiano Ronaldo?

Three goals in a game already - and against former world champions Spain - just underlines the impact Ronaldo has on his country. The current world best player is undoubtedly a contender for the tournament’s best player.

With support from the likes of Andre Silva, Bernardo Silva, Gonçalo Guedes upfront, the vision of Joao Moutinho and the steel provided by William Carvalho and Pepe, expect Ronaldo to lead Portugal to football’s top accolade this summer.