FIFA World Cup™ finals history
Portugal missed out on the first seven FIFA World Cup competitions before making a very impressive tournament debut at England 1966, where a golden generation headed by Eusebio finished in third place. A Seleção das Quinas have appeared in five more world finals since then, with varying degrees of success. Knocked out in the group phase at Mexico 1986, Korea/Japan 2002 and Brazil 2014, they advanced to the Round of 16 at South Africa 2010, before falling to eventual champions Spain, and reached the last four at Germany 2006, losing in the semis to France and missing out on third place against the hosts.
National icon Cristiano Ronaldo is the man around whom the Portugal team is built. The hero of his country’s Brazil 2014 play-off defeat of Sweden, the insatiable goalscorer is the very obvious linchpin of a side that is solid at the back, thanks to the presence of the vastly experienced Pepe and Fabio Coentrao, but which needs to pick up both its performances and results to match the expectations generated by the mere presence of its star man.
Lisbon-born Fernando Santos took on the job in September 2014, following the sacking of Paulo Bento. An electrical and telecommunications engineer by trade, Santos began his coaching career in 1987 and became the first Portuguese tactician to take charge of Porto, Benfica and Sporting CP, the country’s big three clubs. It was in Greece that he made his name, however, in spells with AEK, Panathinaikos and PAOK. In 2010 he succeeded Otto Rehhagel as Greece coach, guiding them to the last eight at UEFA EURO 2012 and to the Round of 16 at Brazil 2014.
8 - The number of consecutive FIFA World Cups and UEFA EURO competitions Portugal have gone without failing to qualify. The Portuguese have yet to miss out on qualification for the world finals in the 21st century.
The former stars
Eusebio, Coluna, Simoes, Jose Augusto, Torres, Jaime Graca, Pauleta, Nuno Gomes, Rui Costa, Luis Figo