Portugal – Euro 2012
What are the expectations for the team?
Spain manager Vicente del Bosque thinks Portugal are among the favourites. Coach Paulo Bento reckons that reaching the quarter-finals is a priority. Cristiano Ronaldo says: "If we can get past the group stage, everything is possible." But that is a big "if" when we are talking about the grupo da morte.
Is the coach popular?
Bento saved the Seleção from Carlos Queiroz, for which the Portuguese are grateful. In terms of rousing the nation, he is no Felipe Scolari.
Have any players appeared in TV commercials or other advertising?
Inevitably, Ronaldo is in a TV ad for the bank BES. "It doesn't matter if you have a lot or a little", runs the voiceover. Well, it is all right for you to talk. McDonald's are using Hélder Postiga to push their new McLusitano burger. Blink and you will miss him readying himself for a chomp at one, as joyful employees skip between restaurant tables to the strains of Tenho Dois Amores (I Have Two Loves).
Which players are good interviewees and who are worst?
No one really shines. The most gormless sounding of all the players is also the most gormless looking, goalkeeper Rui Patrício.
Are there any players with unusual hobbies or business interests?
Ronaldo has a seemingly insatiable desire to acquire cars. He bought himself a Lamborghini Aventador worth around £285,000 for his 27th birthday in February, to go along with his four Audis, two Mercedes, two Bentleys, an Aston Martin, a Maserati, a Porsche, a Ferrari and a Fornasari.
Will there be any rehearsed goal celebrations?
If you are Ronaldo you will run to the most photogenic spot on the pitch, turn towards the main cameras and strike a "come to daddy" pose, inviting your team-mates to adore you. If you are not, you can expect sharp clouts around the head from your excited team-mates, with Ronaldo always getting to the huddle last. If you are Nani, you will risk life and limb with your trademark somersault.
What will the media coverage be like?
Cable channel SportTV will show all 31 games and will have one of its four channels devoted to the competition 24 hours a day during the group phase. The three mainstream channels, RTP, SIC and TVI, have the rights to 19 games between them. All the channels will carpetbomb the schedules with punditry. SportTV have the very insightful Pedro Henriques, the former Benfica full-back. TVI have prettyboy Dani Carvalho and former Sporting captain Pedro Barbosa, who is fighting a losing battle against a receding hairline. TVI also boast Paulo Futre, who is incredibly popular in Portugal despite being as mad as a March hare.
Will there be many fans travelling to the finals ?
The number of Portuguese attending will be down on previous tournaments, which were held in countries with large expat communities. The deep crisis at home and the prohibitive cost will limit the number of those travelling from Portugal. State TV channel RTP, in conjunction with the football association, is inviting suggestions from the public for an official chant in a competition called Canta Portugal (Sing Portugal). The winning song will be announced at an outdoor "event" that will double as a send-off for the Seleção. It can only end badly. Phil Town
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