An analysis of Ronaldo’s Portugal – World Cup 2018 draw

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Ronaldo celebrating a goal for Portugal

Countries that have qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia will be drawn into their groups on December 1.

The FIFA World Cup 2018 draw will be held in Moscow on Friday, December 1 in the concert hall at the state Kremlin Palace, which has a capacity of 6,000.

The October 2017 FIFA/Coca Cola rankings were used to allocate the qualified teams to the four pots according to their rankings in descending order, after hosts Russia, who take the top seeding spot.

WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE FOR THE FINAL DRAW?

The four pots will be emptied by drawing the eight teams they each contain one by one and placing them in the eight groups of four teams (Groups A to H). Hosts Russia will occupy the top position in Group A, while the seven other seeds will occupy the top spots in Groups B to H. The positions of all the other teams (from pots 2, 3 and 4) will be decided when they are drawn.

As it is done at all draws, a ball will be drawn from the team pots and then another from the group pots to determine the position in which the team in question will play. With the exception of UEFA, which has more qualified teams (14) than the number of groups (8), no teams from the same confederation will be drawn in the same group.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal earned an automatic qualification to the 2018 World Cup after beating Switzerland 2-0 on the final matchday at the Estádio do sport Lisboa e Benfica. It was a glorious moment on October 10 for the reigning European champions, who were widely expected to qualify for the finals, thanks to a Johan Djourou own goal and André Silva’s strike.

Portugal are currently ranked third in the world ahead of the World Cup in Russia and looks like a great team to be watched. Interestingly, the Selecção were outsiders during the 2016 Euro Championship in France and they deservedly came out on top after beating the host nation. Hopefully, many football fans don’t underrate them this time round as Cristiano and his men look to continue their great form on international stage.

WHICH TEAMS WILL PORTUGAL WANT TO AVOID?

The Selecção Das Quinas endured a tough campaign during the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil after failing to qualify from the group stage. They came third in a group that consisted of Germany, USA and Ghana. Fernando Santos’ men, then managed by Paulo Bento, only recorded a win against their African opponents in a tightly contested match with Ronaldo scoring his only goal of the campaign. Many would argue that the Portugal captain was recovering from a knee injury and that made him a bit cautious in his play to prevent any recurrence.

THE EUROPEAN RIVALRY

It is apparent, Portugal will meet an European team in their group but surely they would want to avoid a powerhouse such as Spain, England, Switzerland and Croatia. The European champions lost to Spain during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa in a 1-0 defeat at the Cape Town stadium. Meetings between both teams have resulted in deep tactical play and less goals.

Croatia on the other hand, held the Portuguese outfit to extra time in the 2016 European championship in France as the eventual winners endured a tough test against Zlatko Dalic’s men. The game was down to the wire until Ricardo Quaresma’s header proved vital for the world’s third-placed nation.

THE AFRICAN ENERGY

With experiences in 2010 and 2014 against Ivory Coast and The Black Stars of Ghana in the World Cup, the Portuguese outfit would want to evade an African team to ensure progression into the knockout stages. African teams are noted for their strength and aggressive play thus, European nations often find it difficult to compete when they come against such teams. Even though Santos’ men have a good record against African teams, they have found it more than difficult in several encounters.

  1. In 2006, Portugal opened their World Cup campaign vs Angola. It was a tightly contested game with few chances for both teams. The Palancas Negras were defeated on the night by a lone goal.
  2. In 2010, Ivory Coast proved another test for the Euro champions as they struggled to earn a draw from a close game.
  3. In 2014, the Black Stars of Ghana faced the Selecção in Group G and the contest ended 2-1 in favor of the Portuguese outfit.

It is worth noting that Portugal have fared well in previous encounters against African opponents but often struggle to down them as many would expect. Looking back at the pots, Senegal, Tunisia and Egypt are locked in pot 3, while Nigeria and Morocco hang in pot 4.

Nigeria currently has the youngest age averagely, prior to the World Cup finals with 24.7 and considering their 4-2 thumping of Argentina in a friendly earlier this month, they are the toughest African opponents Portugal would want to avoid.

Egypt boasts of skillful and productive players like Mohamed Salah in their line up but their absence from the tournament since 1990 makes them outsiders.

WHICH TEAMS ARE LIKELY TO FACE PORTUGAL?

It would be interesting for CR7 to come up against an Asian side such as Japan or Korea Republic. We are anticipating a simple group for the Portuguese attacker for a safe passage through to the knockout stages and hopefully the finals. From our point of view, Peru, Denmark and Morocco would be easy bets for Portugal.

Which teams will be drawn against Ronaldo’s Portugal? Join the discussion and send your predictions below. Stay in touch with C. Ronaldo Daily for all info.

The final draw will be live on Youtube and FIFA’s official website on Friday.

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