World Cup player to watch – Portugal
If England think they have a good chance of glory in South Africa, then Portugal should fancy their chances as well. Both are well-fancied at major tournaments despite poor overall records and both are over-reliant on one player. As England depend on Wayne Rooney, Portugal do on Cristiano Ronaldo.
The performances of Rooney’s former team-mate and nemesis at Germany ’06 will surely be one of the highlights in South Africa. The event and World Cup In-play betting needs its big names to produce their best and there are perhaps none better than the step-over king, whose goals, dribbling and athletic brilliance earned him the title of world player of the year in 2008.
Portugal also need him to perform. Carlos Queiroz’s outfit still rely on the big names that lit up their impressive display at Euro 2004 and Germany ’06 and Ronaldo is the kingpin more than ever. It is no coincidence that Portugal’s poor qualifying campaign, salvaged by a play-off win over Bosnia- Herzegovina, coincided with their talisman’s injury problems and slight loss of form.
Indeed, Ronaldo has not scored in national colours for more than a year, and whilst his game is about so much more than goals, the lack of other top class strikers means he will perhaps be used a striking figurehead in South Africa rather than as a wide man in a 4-3-3 formation.
Ronaldo has now found his feet for Real Madrid. The stunning free-kicks, showboating pieces of skill and superb goals to match ratio have all returned, which is good news for Portugal. The Selecçao das Quinas might not win the World Cup, but World Cup Odds they might just have the player of the tournament.