key players, route to final, prediction & more

Portugal haven’t had very long to prepare to Euro 2022, only getting confirmation of their place at the tournament once Russia had been officially kicked out at the beginning of May.

The chance to be involved at this level is huge for the players because Portugal do not boast a rich history in women’s international football and it is a very mixed squad with a number of individuals over 30 and several others in their early twenties.

Here’s everything you need to know about Portugal at Euro 2022.

Portugal initially didn’t make it to the final tournament. They finished second in qualifying Group E behind Finland after taking 19 points from 22 games – the four points they dropped were in both games against Finland, which ultimately made the difference in the final standings.

That second place was still good enough for another chance in the playoffs. They were drawn against Russia but narrowly lost 1-0 over the two legs thanks to a single goal scored in Lisbon.

Yet when Russia invaded Ukraine in February and sanctions at every level started to be introduced, it quickly became apparent they wouldn’t be taking their place at Euro 2022. Portugal were immediately put forward as the team to come in, but no official decision was made until May.

Euro 2017 was Portugal’s first ever time qualifying for a European Championship. They were knocked out in the group stage on that occasions but still recorded a win against Scotland, who were also playing in their first ever major tournament.

Euro 1984: Did not qualify
Euro 1987: Did not enter
Euro 1989: Did not enter
Euro 1991: Did not enter
Euro 1993: Did not enter
Euro 1995: Did not qualify
Euro 1997: Did not qualify
Euro 2001: Did not qualify
Euro 2005: Did not qualify
Euro 2009: Did not qualify
Euro 2013: Did not qualify
Euro 2017: Group stage

On the global stage, Portugal have never yet been to a World Cup.

​​1991 World Cup: Did not qualify
1995 World Cup: Did not qualify
1999 World Cup: Did not qualify
2003 World Cup: Did not qualify
2007 World Cup: Did not qualify
2011 World Cup: Did not qualify
2015 World Cup: Did not qualify
2019 World Cup: Did not qualify

Ana Borges is one of Portugal’s greatest ever female player and is the most experienced of anyone in the squad this summer.

The 32-year-old winger is the most capped out of the handful of veterans – racking up over a century of appearances for her country – and has won trophies at club level during a spell with Chelsea. She currently plays her domestic football at Sporting, and will wear the armband for Portugal this summer.

An emerging talent to keep an eye on the Portugal squad is Ines Pereira. The goalkeeper made the switch from Sporting CP to Swiss club Servette in 2021 and has played Champions League group stage football against Chelsea and Juventus.

Francisco Neto is Portugal’s long-serving head coach, having held the job since 2014 – he guided the country to their one and only previous major tournament in 2017.

Portugal has hosted the prestigious Algarve Cup annually since 1994. Outside of the major quadrennial tournaments (World Cup, European Championships and Olympics), it is one of the biggest events on the international women’s football calendar and has regularly attracted the likes of the United States, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, China and Germany over the years.

Portugal themselves have competed every time but have only twice finished in the top four.

Portugal vs Switzerland

Date & time: Saturday 9 July, 17:00 (BST)
Venue: Leigh Sports Village
How to watch on TV: BBC Two (UK)

Netherlands vs Portugal

Date & time: Wednesday 13 July, 20:00 (BST)
Venue: Leigh Sports Village
How to watch on TV: BBC Two (UK)

Sweden vs Portugal

Date & time: Sunday 17 July, 17:00 (BST)
Venue: Leigh Sports Village
How to watch on TV: BBC iPlayer (UK)

Portugal will do well to get any points from Group C. They open with the most favourable fixture against a Switzerland side ranked 10 places higher in the world by FIFA and then have to face Netherlands and Sweden. If they get any points it will be a surprise.

A member of Group D would await should they spring a surprise and reach the quarter finals; likely France, Italy or Iceland.

Goalkeepers: Ines Pereira (Servette FC), Patrícia Morais (SC Braga), Rute Costa (FC Famalicao).

Defenders: Alicia Correia (Sporting CP), Carole (SL Benfica), Catarina Amado (SL Benfica), Diana Gomes (SC Braga), Joana Marchão (Sporting CP), Mariana Azevedo (FC Famalicão), Silvia Rebelo (SL Benfica).

Midfielders: Andreia Norton (SC Braga), Andreia Jacinto (Sportng CP), Andreia Faria (SL Benfica), Dolores Silva (SC Braga), Fátima Pinto (Sporting CP), Kika Nazareth (SL Benfica), Tatiana Pinto (Levante UD), Vanessa Marques (SC Braga).

Forwards: Ana Borges (Sporting CP), Carolina Mendes (SC Braga), Diana Silva (Sporting CP), Jessica Silva (SL Benfica), Telma Encarnacao (CS Maritimo).

Even with long preparation like all of the other qualifiers, Portugal would have struggled at Euro 2022. They are the second lowest ranked country in the final tournament and are in a really tough group against two of the favourites to lift the trophy. Even just getting a point may be a challenge.

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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