Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal

FIFA World Cup preview: Portugal

This is likely to be the last time we see Cristiano Ronaldo line up for Portugal at a FIFA World Cup.

So we can expect plenty from the reigning European champs to earn the nation's first ever World Cup title.

Despite being a football hotspot that has produced the likes of Ronaldo, Portugal has only reached the finals on seven occasions.

The best finish they have ever secured is third - and that was back in 1966.

Fans will be delighted they have drawn Spain in their group, with their rivalry one of the longest running in world football.

It also puts the pressure on early, although Portugal should be too good for Iran and Morocco. How far they get beyond that is anyone's guess.

The draw for Portugal

Spain, June 16

Morocco, June 20

Iran, June 25

The star player

Even at 33, Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player in this roster by a country mile.

Age has not wearied the superstar who is just as fleet-footed and physical. He is better, if anything, because of the extra guile his years in the game have given him.

We have just seen Rafael Nadal claim a record-breaking French Open title at 32. Veterans are capable of big things.

This could be the send-off that Ronaldo deserves.

What needs to go right

Drawing Spain is tricky for Portugal, but it also gets them into the right mindset from the get-go.

Their Euro 2016 victory was unconvincing and doesn't have the punters lining up in droves to install Portugal as favourites here.

If Portugal can defeat or draw with Spain they have a chance to top the group, which would give them a better run in the latter stages of the tournament.

A lot rides on that clash, although second place in the group appears certain even if they lose.

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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