Having inherited the Euro 2024 draw, Portugal are considered the biggest favorites in their group. But is this really so?
” Portugal is the biggest favorite in this group without a doubt. » With these words, which we can honestly judge as tongue in cheek – as if to avoid bringing bad luck – the general manager of the Czech Republic national team, Erik Brabek, analyzed the sixth group in which we also find Turkey and the winner. Dam C (Georgia, Greece, Luxembourg or Kazakhstan). He knows it well. In 2022, the Czechs faced the Seleção twice, losing by two goals and then by four goals to zero. In 2023, the team now led by Roberto Martinez is even stronger. Enough to be a favorite of her group? Everyone seems to think so.
In this group stage, Portugal will play for the first time against the Czech Republic on June 18. As we said previously, the two teams previously met in 2022, during the European Nations League. After that, Tomas Soucek’s teammates qualified after a rather complicated elimination stage, where Poland and Moldova played a spoilsport game until the end.
On June 22, the Portuguese will face Turkey, which will certainly be the most difficult team to maneuver. In March 2022, during World Cup qualifiers, the two countries were engaged in a crazy battle, which could have ended very differently had Burak Yilmaz scored from the penalty spot to make it two. Finally, Matheus Nunes came to score the third goal for his team, completing the victory for the Seleção (3-1). After that, the Turks finished first in their qualifying group. And everyone was there: Croatia, Wales and even Germany in a friendly match.
Finally, on June 26, Portugal will face the winner of the third play-off which will be Georgia, Greece, Luxembourg or Kazakhstan. Of these four teams, the Lusitanians had previously faced Luxembourg during the qualifiers, where they crushed them six and then nine to zero. Of the other three choices, none of them seemed able to bother them.
On paper, Portugal is the big favourite Roberto Martinez himself realizes that the draw is in their favour. Therefore, the second place can be considered a failure. But be careful, in 2016 and then in 2021, the players of Fernando Santos, the coach at the time, finished third in their group. It’s the best third rule that has allowed them to continue competing (winner in 2016, eighth in 2021). This will remain in effect next year. Let’s hope they don’t have to take this unfortunate step again.