The Fancied Underdogs: Why Portugal are in prime position to WIN Euro 2024

 | January 18 | 

5 mins read

euro 2024 Olympiastadion berlin germany trophy scaled

France. England. Germany. Spain. 

Looking down the betting market for Euro 2024’s outright winners provides no surprises. The usual suspects make up the top four, with hosts Germany and 2012 winners Spain joining England and France as the dominant quartet. But there’s a nation who are currently fifth favourites, and in my eyes are overpriced at 8/1 for success this summer.

Portugal. The Iberian nation have, over the last few years, amassed a squad that is as good, man-for-man, as any other in international football.

EURO 2024 Betting Odds

  • England to win the tournament @ 7/2
  • France to win the tournament @ 7/2
  • Germany to win the tournament @ 6/1
  • Portugal to win the tournament @ 8/1

Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo remain two of the finest defenders in Europe. Danilo Pereira and Nuno Mendes are two top talents from Paris Saint-Germain and Pepe’s experience will come in handy as the 40-year-old continues to ply his trade at the top level.

In midfield, their options are incredible, with Fulham’s Joao Palhinha showing how good a holding player he is, He can play alongside Matheus Nunes, Joao Neves, Vitinha or Ruben Neves, allowing Bruno Fernandes, one of the most creative talents the continent has to offer, to do his thing. 

The attacking talent is simply an embarrassment of riches. Aside from Fernandes, Goncalo Ramos is among the most feared strikers in the world, having scored seven goals in his first 10 appearances for his country. Now at PSG, it looks as though he will once again share the goalscoring responsibilities with a certain number seven, but more on him later. 

Out wide, take your pick. Diogo Jota is becoming increasingly crucial to Liverpool’s success while Rafael Leao is proven in European club football. The AC Milan wide man is just 23, and it feels like this could well be a breakthrough tournament for a man who possesses so much talent. 

Bernardo Silva always has a role to play in this side with his outrageous talent, while Pedro Neto will have to hit the same heights he did early this season to find a place in this squad. Then there’s Joao Felix, the young precocious talent who seems to have lost his way over the past few years, but will certainly be included in the squad after his loan move to Barcelona. 

With Portugal, though, all the talk always circles back to one player. Cristiano Ronaldo. No player scored more goals than he managed in 2023 (53) and he is still the driving force for this Portugal side. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that watching Lionel Messi lift the World Cup in December will have ignited the fire in Ronaldo’s belly once more. 

After the Euro 2016 win, it looked like CR7 had one-upped his rival with an international trophy, only for Messi to usurp him in the most spectacular fashion. Now this isn’t the World Cup, and I’d put good money on Ronaldo having another crack at that in 2026, but two European Championships in eight years would mark huge success for a nation which hadn’t previously won any major silverware. 

His last dance, at the Euros at least, is certain to produce fireworks, and there is no reason why Portugal cannot go toe-to-toe with every major nation at this tournament. The experience of 2016 will have served them well, even though only Rui Patricio, Pepe and Ronaldo remain from that success. 

Eight years ago they went to France as underdogs, played within themselves through the entire tournament and bumbled their way into the final. There they met the hosts, and it was expected to be a walkover. But even after Ronaldo’s injury, they found the fight to secure a historic 1-0 win. 

The change since that point has been stark, and in 2018 and 2021 they were not competitive, losing in the round of 16 on both occasions. However, in Qatar we saw glimpses of a side reborn. They topped a tricky group and then smashed Switzerland 6-1 in the last 16. They were stunned by Morocco in the quarter-finals as Fernando Santos’ reign came to an end. 

Euro2024Por

The previous manager had received almost constant criticism for his defensive football and pragmatic style, but ultimately that won them Euro 2016. In his place has come Roberto Martinez, a man who reached a World Cup semi-final with Belgium but failed to get them over the line. 

It’s rare a manager with such a large batch of work at the top of the international game becomes available, so you can see why Portugal made the decision to hire their first ever Spanish manager. So far, it has gone swimmingly for both parties, as Martinez boasts a perfect record of 10 wins from 10 matches.

The caveat to that would be that they were placed in a simple qualifying group for the tournament, with Slovakia arguably their most difficult opponents. Given they are only scheduled to play Sweden between now and their tournament opener against the Czech Republic, they should maintain that winning run heading to Germany. 

Along with the Czech Republic, their group contains Turkey and play-off winner C - Georgia, Greece Luxembourg or Kazakhstan. That’s a dream group for Ronaldo and co and they should top it in style. Winning the group would set them up to play the third-placed team from either Group A, B or C - with Group B containing Italy, Croatia and Spain. 

Clearly, the big test will come when they face one of the major nations, something we haven’t seen under Martinez so far. However, they have all the components and talent to not only outplay, but outgun the likes of France, Germany and England when push comes to shove. Ronaldo will be so influential, and keen to prove he is top dog once again. 

Germany awaits, and Martinez will hope his new nation can deliver the glory he missed out on during his six years with Belgium. But with the likes of Rafa Leao, Goncalo Ramos and Joao Felix, it might just be the young stars who carry Portugal to glory this summer. 

Check out all of our other Euro 2024 Betting Tips and content on the dedicated hub page.

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