Made for Euro Women’s Football (6-31 July) after excluding Russia, a rookie but ambitious, Portugal hopes to capitalize on their investment in discipline in recent years.
In their wildest dreams, Celsau could imagine a fate befitting the fate of Denmark among the men in 1992: Recruited from the qualifications after Yugoslavia was excluded by the war in the Balkans, the Danes won the euro against all odds.
Thirty years later, the Portuguese women’s team is invited at the last minute to the Women’s Euro Championship, which begins on Wednesday in England: after being defeated by the Russians in the play-off last year, the Lucitanese finally regained their place after the decision to exclude Russia. by UEFA after the invasion of Ukraine.
Ranked 30th in the latest FIFA rankings, only Portugal will participate in England in the second major tournament in its history after the European Championship in 2017.
– ‘A more mature team’ –
“I have noticed a big change compared to our selection for 2017. We are a more mature and cohesive team. And in these big competitions, it makes a huge difference,” however, noted during the training camp during the month of June midfielder Tatiano Pinto was quoted in the Record newspaper.
A Seleção relegated to a very difficult Group C of the competition, along with the Netherlands, the defending champions, Sweden, which is ranked second in the world, and Switzerland.
But, despite the difficult task ahead of them to get to the second round, the Lusitans do not intend to make up the numbers on the English prairie.
“We are integrated into a very strong group (…) but Portugal must be prepared because we are not going there to joke,” warned goalkeeper Patricia Moraes in the columns of the newspaper A Bola.
“We will fight to stay in the Euro as long as possible (…) We have proven that when we are strong collectively, we go far and manage to fight against the big teams,” promised coach Francisco Neto, in place since 2014, in an interview with Record .
– ‘Recognition of work’ –
Women’s football has experienced strong growth in Portugal over the past decade. At the end of March, nearly 7,800 players were licensed according to data from the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), an increase of 72% compared to the 2011/12 season.
The Fifa invited clubs to form professional teams in 2016 and established several competitions to improve the quality of the practice. Since then, all major Portuguese clubs, with the exception of FC Porto, have had a women’s team: Sporting Portugal, Benfica Lisbon and Sporting Braga.
Francisco Neto emphasized during the preparatory session: “We have developed (…) we have not yet reached the level of France (the third country in the world, editor’s note) but we want to go in this direction.”
Midfielder Vanessa Marquez rejoiced at A Bola, “This presence in the Euros will be a tribute to the work that is done in clubs, selections and associations. Women’s football is developing in a wonderful way in our country.”
But for Portugal, who stopped out in the first round in 2017, qualifying for the quarter-finals would already be an achievement. Before you dream, perhaps, of imitating the Danes in 1992…