The Portugal national football team represents the South Western European nation of Portugal in men’s association football competitions since the year 1921. The team are handled by the Portuguese Football Federation which is the governing body for the game in the country.
They play their home matches at the Estadio Nacional in Lisbon and are managed by Fernando Santos, who also hails from the country. The side are led by talismanic skipper Cristiano Ronaldo. The player is the most capped player for Portugal with 136 international caps while hitting the back of the net a record 68 times.
Although the team has never won the FIFA World Cup in its history, Portugal have stood out as a good footballing nation that has produced a number of very good footballers. They ended their trophy drought at UEFA Euro 2016 when Eder fired in a superb goal in the final against France.
Portugal qualified for their very first FIFA World Cup in the year 1966 with talismanic forward Eusebio leading their charge. The striker played superbly well to help them finish third in the competition. Their second appearance in the competition came in 1986 when a Diego Maradona-inspired Argentina lifted the cup in Mexico. They would again make the competition in 2002 but were out in the first round as Brazil won the cup in Japan & South Korea.
On both these occasions, Portugal were knocked out in the first round. The side would have been especially hurt with the manner in which they went out in the competition for they boasted some very talented players in their ranks. The team were led by Luis Figo at the time and also had Manuel Rui Costa in attacking midfield.
The team did well following the end of their 2002 World Cup campaign. With Portugal hosting Euro 2004, they went all the way to the final on the occasion before being humbled by Greece in the final.
At the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Portugal topped their group on the occasion before defeating Netherlands 1-0 in a second round fixture that saw four players sent off and the referee brandishing 16 yellow cards.
The side would go on to beat England on penalties in an acrimonious quarterfinal that involved Ronaldo getting his club teammate Wayne Rooney sent off on a second yellow card. However, they were beaten by a Zinedine Zidane inspired France in the semis before losing the third-place playoff fixture against Germany 1-3.
At Euro 2008, Portugal would go on to make the quarterfinals before losing to Germany in an entertaining match that produced five goals.
The team also reached the FIFA World Cup 2010 finals thereby making the finals of every major tournament in the decade. It was the first time in their history that Portugal achieved this feat. After being unbeaten for 19 games, Carlos Quieroz’s Portugal lost 1-0 to eventual champions Spain. Following the end of the tournament, the manager was sacked after attempting to block a doping test and insulting the testers.
Portugal would again meet Spain in the Euro 2012 semi-final where they were beaten on penalties. The team were in trouble in the group stage. However, a couple of goals from Ronaldo against Netherlands saw them through to the quarterfinals. Ronaldo scored with a header in the quarterfinal against Czech Republic to get Portugal into the semis where they lost to Spain.
The team failed to make the second round at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. They were beaten 4-0 by Germany in their first match before being held to a 2-2 draw by USA. Despite winning the final group match against Ghana, Portugal were dumped out of the competition because of inferior goal difference.
Their finest hour came at the Euro 2016. Although Ronaldo had limped out of the final with an injury, Portugal held their own against the hosts and tournament favourites – France. With the match moving into extra-time, Eder scored the only goal of the game in the 109th minute to send the entire sporting nation into delirium.
Portugal performed best in the year 1966 in its very first World Cup appearance, when they reached the semifinals but lost against ultimate world champions England. Under the guidance of their renowned player Eusebio, they put up astonishing presentation, thumped out previous World Cup champions Brazil and combating back from a 3-0 result in the quarterfinals against North Korea, captivating by 5-3. Portugal ultimately finished in third place and Eusebio was considered the best player of the tournament.
They went on to win the 2016 Euro Cup against all odds despite the absence of Ronaldo.