FIFA World Cup 2022: Who is the Portugal coach Fernando Santos at Qatar WC?

Santos first came into the spotlight in 2016 when he helped Portugal clinch its maiden Euro title, beating France in the final 1-0.

FILE PHOTO; Portugal coach Fernando Santos during the UEFA Nations League match against Switzerland at the Jose Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon on June 5, 2022.

FILE PHOTO; Portugal coach Fernando Santos during the UEFA Nations League match against Switzerland at the Jose Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon on June 5, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

Santos first came into the spotlight in 2016 when he helped Portugal clinch its maiden Euro title, beating France in the final 1-0.

A former defender with Primeira Liga club Estoril, Fernando Santosh took up coaching shortly after his retirement. He joined Estoril as an assistant coach and later managed the club as the head coach for six years. Among the top clubs that he managed are Porto and Sporting CP.

In international football, he guided Greece to the World Cup qualification in 2014. In September of that year, he joined Portugal and has since been associated with the team and had a roller-coaster journey.

Also Read | Portugal FIFA WC 2022 squad analysis: Ronaldo in spotlight, but stars aplenty for Santos

Santos first came into the spotlight in 2016 when he helped Portugal clinch its maiden European title, beating France in the final 1-0.

However, in the 2018 World Cup, Santos’ team could not progress beyond the pre-quarterfinals after a 2-1 loss to Uruguay.

The following year, Portugal, under his coaching, won the UEFA Nations League but fell flat to Belgium in the Euro pre-quarterfinals.

The qualification for the FIFA World Cup 2022 has not been smooth either. Portugal missed automatic qualification, with Serbia leading the group. It had to beat North Macedonia in the playoffs to seal a berth in Qatar 2022.

Santos has talented players at his disposal, which allows him to deploy a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Joao Cancelo and Nuno Mendes are the best of contemporary wingers. Santos also has the luxury of having Diogo Dalot and Raphael Guerrero to call upon to back up this duo.

Portugal has a strong defence line formed by Ruben Dias, Pepe and David Carmo.

Also Read | FIFA World Cup 2022: Portugal fixtures in Qatar, schedule, match timings, where to watch

Veteran goalkeeper Rui Patricio played a key role in Portugal’s Euro win in 2016. He will be Santos’ first-choice keeper ahead of Porto’s 23-year-old keeper Diogo Costa.

But despite a talented squad, the success of Portugal, a perennial dark horse, will depend on how Santos manages his ageing superstar, Ronaldo, who is coming to the World Cup fresh from a controversy.

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