Since Santos took over the team in 2014 they have won 20 and lost only 1 competitive match, out of 26 in total.
They are definitely not a one man team, which they already proved on Euro 2016 and in preparation period. There is a lot of talent in the team, which gives them special dynamics both offensively and defensively, and Santos keeps his faith in more experienced players who provide the team with stability.
- One of the main characteristics of the team is solid defensive organization, combined with strong winning mentality. Opponents had real problems to find options to break them open, and before the match against Netherlands in March they rarely conceded goals.
Ronaldo is expected to play up front as one of two strikers and he frequently rotates with Joao Mario/Bruno Fernandes who comes inside to play in behind the front two.
In attack Portugal plays patiently and with caution, keeping midfielders behind the ball to have more numbers to prevent counter-attacks and launch their own. They mostly developed attacks down the flanks through overloads, in order to deliver crosses into the box. Tendency to cross the ball into the box make them predictable, and it is a question how they’ll be able to break the Iran team who’ll lock up in low block without physical presence up front. They have options on the bench in Gelson Martins and Andre Silva/Guedes who could act as impact substitues in case things don’t go as planned.
Due to Joao Mario/Bruno Fernandes positioning in central areas in attack, full-back is forced to push high up and provide support on the left flank, which makes areas behind him vulnerable. Portugal also had issues to deal with cut back crosses in transition, due to disorganized support from central midfielders.