FOOTBALL – Ahead of Euro 2012, we will present you a short profile of all teams taking part. We continue with Portugal, who –despite their considerable talent- have yet to win a major championship. Portugal will play their opening match of the tournament when they face Germany on Saturday, 9 June.
How qualified: Defeated Bosnia-Herzegovina 6-2 (agg) in playoffs
Coach: Paulo Bento (POR)
Key players: Fabio Coentrão, Raul Meireles, Cristiano Ronaldo
> Cristiano Ronaldo and Hélder Postiga have scored at Euro 2004 and Euro 2008 and can join four players (Thierry Henry, Vladimir Smicer, Nuno Gomes and Jürgen Klinsmann) as players to have scored in three European Championships. Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic can also join that list.
> Portugal is the only country that has taken part in at least one group phase at the European Championships and have never crashed out in the group phase. Technically, Hungary also fit that description, but they never went through a group phase.
> Head coach Paulo Bento represented his country at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000. In the latter, his side was eliminated in the semifinals by France. Misconduct by Bento and teammates Abel Xavier and Nuno Gomes caused the three to earn lengthy suspensions (in Bento’s case five months).
> At 27, Cristiano Ronaldo will be playing in his fifth major championship (ECh and WC). The only Portuguese players who have achieved that feat are Luís Figo and Nuno Gomes.
> Portugal start their Euro 2012 campaign with a match against the country which eliminated them at Euro 2008. Such is also the case with Italy.
> Four of Cristiano Ronaldo’s last eight goals in international matches have come from direct free kicks.