World Cup 2023. How Portugal can continue to progress and see more

World Cup 2023. How Portugal can continue to progress and see more

RLet’s call the starting point to better appreciate where they are coming back from. In the last qualifiers for the World Cup (1) in which they became darlings, the Portuguese completed their successful work against the Portuguese national team. Fijians, this Sunday in Toulouse (24-25).

‘Forever first’: With a tear still shining, captain José Lima measured the unprecedented success of his two World Cup appearances (after the 2007 edition). “We have written history, there is nothing more beautiful than this duty..

RLet’s call the starting point to better appreciate where they are coming back from. In the last qualifiers for the World Cup (1) in which they became darlings, the Portuguese completed their successful work against the Portuguese national team. Fijians, this Sunday in Toulouse (24-25).

‘Forever first’: With a tear still shining, captain José Lima measured the unprecedented success of his two World Cup appearances (after the 2007 edition). “We have written history, there is nothing more beautiful.” Except this is a duty to serve. More than an end in itself, the Lusitanian Wolves saga must form the basis of a power waiting to emerge. On one condition only that the world rugby authorities allow him to benefit from his journey.

The strongest with the strong

The exception that confirms the rule of the young struggling raises questions: throughout the World Cup, Portugal continued to improve in its communications with the stronger ones. A magical break It is very rare to hope to ride the wave. “In four games, we haven’t stopped progressing,” says coach Patrice Lajesquet. There are countries like Chile and Uruguay that need to face it at the highest level to accommodate it. On the other hand, the major rugby powers need to bring in money, and France and Portugal are not the best way to fill a stadium. At some point, we face an economic reality. »

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“We know the scale of the financial issues,” says Pillar Chico Fernandez. We are an example, and perhaps a voice, for these small nations that need to play against larger nations more often. The more we meet them, the more beautiful the World Cup will be. It wasn’t the Welsh, Australians or Fijians that were the worst. Rather, we are the ones who raised our level. »

Without tomorrow?

In a fragmented system, what credit can we give to this achievement, to the overperformance that is doomed to dust in the history books, if nothing is done to lift nations in the second third out of the stalemate?

“For us, rugby took precedence over everything else: egos, nationalities, visions, social differences…”

“I will at least have something to share a very nice story with my sons, when they grow up,” Mike Tudger puts the bitch in perspective. “I’m tired of hearing rugby pundits say humanity can’t exist in top-level rugby,” laments attack coach David Girard. Turn on your TV, watch Portugal throughout the World Cup, and you’ll explain to me that humans have nothing to do with all this. We’ve been lucky to have a lovely team that doesn’t doubt you and listens to you. There is no “no” or “yes, but.” For us, rugby took precedence over everything else: egos, nationalities, visions, social differences…” from the beginning.

“What’s great is this team’s ability to integrate everything so quickly,” says Lageskeet. During the first session in 2019, they understood everything in half an hour. Then I said to Hervé (Dorkety, former attacking coach, editor’s note): “I think everything with them can go very quickly.” “And everything went as Lagesket expected.

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The story even ended up turning into something improbable, during the final minutes of his final match at the helm of Wolverhampton. “I don’t really know what to say, honestly, I’m always afraid of big words. In this last action, in this last attempt, I’m thinking more about securing the result than scoring, because the number 4H A group position is likely to qualify, if the World Cup format increases to 24 in four years. “Given what he showed, Portugal deserves to be invited back to the ball.

(1) Thanks to Spain’s exclusion from the qualifying rounds in Dubai and then snatching a tie against the Americans

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