World Cup

Can Roberto Martinez Guide Portugal To Glory?

Portugal coach Roberto Martinez previously worked with Belgium, where he took charge of that country’s golden generation and was tasked with getting the best out of a talented side without ever managing to actually deliver the gold. He’s in a similar situation now with Portugal, a side filled with household names — Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Rúben Dias, João Félix, Diogo Jota … plus that Cristiano Ronaldo guy — that are sometimes difficult to turn into a coherent team. Qualifying taught us little, because they were in a very easy group, so it remains to be seen what this side can deliver.

Turkey topped their qualifying group ahead of Croatia and Wales, but it was a turbulent campaign that saw them fire coach Stefan Kuntz and replace him with Vincenzo Montella in September 2023 ahead of some key games. Other than the semifinal runs in the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2008 and a quarterfinal finish in 2000, Turkey have never advanced beyond the group stage in a major tournament. And, in fact, they slipped into Division C in the UEFA Nations League, which seems crazy given the size of the country, the passion of its fans and the fact that the SuperLig is easily a top-10 domestic tournament in Europe.

The Czechs also had a rough ride to Germany. They finished second to Albania on goal difference in their qualifying group, but were thoroughly unimpressive, winning just four of eight games, drawing with Moldova and only beating the Faroe Islands 1-0. They’re also without a coach: Jaroslav Silhavy resigned just after the qualifying campaign, and it may or may not have had something to do with the fact that three senior players were sent home after they broke curfew and went out clubbing the day before the final decisive group game. They have six months or so to put the unrest to bed.

Georgia, with Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, are probably the most exciting side of those who could advance via the playoffs, though Greece — who, to be fair, had a brutal qualifying group with France, Holland and Ireland — are probably favorites. Look out for perennial cellar-dweller Luxembourg, who took points off Slovakia, Iceland and Bosnia in qualifying and will be hoping to be the fairy-tale story of the tournament if they make it through the playoffs.

Portugal Road To The Euro 2024 Finals

Portugal: Handed Turkey and Czech Republic in Group F, the Portuguese will not be too worried although Roberto Martinez’s men would probably rather avoid the Greeks from the play-off selection of Georgia, Greece, Kazakhstan or Luxembourg. Finish first and the third-placed side from Group A, B or C could be Spain, Croatia or Italy while France or Belgium could even lurk in the quarterfinals if either fails to top their group. Get through that and it could be Germany or whoever finishes top of Group B so consider this a tough route overall.

Portugal Euro 2024 Tickets

June 18: Portugal vs Czech Republic (Leipzig) – Buy Euro 2024 Tickets
June 22: Turkey vs Portugal (Dortmund) – Buy Euro 2024 Tickets
June 26: Play-off winner C (Georgia/Greece/Kazakhstan/Luxembourg) vs Portugal (Gelsenkirchen) – Buy Euro 2024 Tickets