29.01.2020 » Ronaldo and Portugal are "dark horses" in Euro 2020 betting
Portugal have won the last two international competitions organised by UEFA, so how is it that they are slipping under the radar for the upcoming EURO 2020, even though they are the reigning European champions? The danger of Cristiano Ronaldo - nobody who has ever played international football for an European country has scored more goals than him - is there in plain sight. Ronaldo started 2020 off having netted 99 times for Portugal against 41 different nations in 164 caps. In an international career that began way back in 2003 when he was a precocious teenager, his country has only lost six matches in which he has scored...
Cristiano Ronaldo - Ready for the EURO 2020:
A one-man team?
Talk about talisman. It's easy to say Portugal are a one-man team, but that simply isn't true. Ronaldo has never scored in the final of an international competition.
It was Éder, owned by Swansea City at the time, who grabbed the goal that saw Portugal crowned European champions four years ago. Gonçalo Guedes got the winner in the inaugural Nations League final against the Netherlands, meanwhile.
Portugal national coach Fernando Santos, has allowed the spine of the side built around Ronaldo to age together. Defensive duo José Fonte and Pepe - both 36 - are still international regulars at the back, while in midfield João Moutinho pulls the strings at 33.
Yet, there are younger legs in and around this core of wise old heads crowned by Ronaldo up front. Portugal are blessed with attack-minded full backs such as Premier League pair João Cancelo and Ricardo Pereira, plus Raphael Guerreiro down the left.
Joining Moutinho in the engine room are forward-thinking players like Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva, not to mention his highly touted Wolves teammate Rúben Neves. In attack, there's the reigning Golden Boy of European football in Atletico Madrid starlet João Felix to call upon.
Portugal are destined to be the underdogs...
The EURO 2020 finals could be a breakout for the 20-year-old as, fitness permitting, he will surely be given a squad place to show what he can do on a big stage. Ronaldo was once the new kid on the block, but this for him is a 10th major international tournament, including playing at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Far from being reliant on Ronaldo, Portugal actually have options yet the latest football online odds at William Hill have them as 16/1 chances to win the European Championship. Their talent pool might not be as broad and deep as other countries more prominent in the outright betting on the tournament, but strength-in-depth only matters if injuries pile up beforehand.
All national coaches like Fernando Santos can only select a squad of 23 for the Euros. Of those, only 20 are outfield players and there is certainly competition for those spots alongside Ronaldo in the frontline.
Bruma, Felix, Guedes, Diogo Jota and André Silva are all either playing for big clubs or in major European leagues around the continent. Portugal aren't exactly scraping the barrel to fill their Euros squad in this area of the field.
What of Ronaldo himself? As his stats show, he has scored more international goals in the last six years than the decade before it. An annual return of 14 Portugal goals in 10 caps in 2019 highlights show he is better than ever.
Other players would be looking for a younger partner to ease the goal burden on their ageing legs. Not Ronaldo. He seems to have got better at playing international football with age if anything.
That is backed up by the fact Cristiano Ronaldo has got the best goal returns of his career with Portugal in three of the last four calendar years. He turns 35 before the Euros, but remains as potent a threat as ever and that is why his country are dark horses...
Cristiano Ronaldo next game for Juventus in the Serie A is on February 2, against Fiorentina. You can watch Juventus vs Fiorentina, Zaragoza vs Real Madrid, West Ham vs Liverpool, Aston Villa vs Leicester City, Bournemouth vs Arsenal, and AC Milan vs Torino, all matches provided from our live football game pages.
Juventus next game:
Juventus vs Fiorentina kick-off time (02-02-2020):
Beijing (China) | UTC/GMT+8: 19:30
Jakarta (Indonesia) | UTC/GMT+7: 18:30
India (New Delhi) | UTC/GMT+5.30: 17:00
Italy (Turin) | UTC/GMT+1: 12:30
Spain (Madrid) | UTC/GMT+1: 12:30
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | UTC/GMT+0: 11:30
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | UTC/GMT-3: 08:30
New York (United States) | UTC/GMT-4: 07:30
Los Angeles (United States) | UTC/GMT-7: 04:30
Sources: ronaldo7.net / bbc.co.uk / foxsports.com