Friday, 10 June 2016 00:00


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The presence of Austria and Iceland may not ring warning bells for many. But, anyone who has followed these sides in European Qualifiers would vouch that they pose a real threat to Portugal. And this is what makes Group


One of the top seeds but one of the weakest top seeds – this should sum up how Portugal’s fortunes are likely to be. The inept display at Brazil is just a reminder of how much reliant they are on Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Real Madrid striker may not pose the same threat in his national colors as much he does at club level. But that has got to do with the quality in the Portuguese side. Do not be surprised if they fail to qualify top-placed. In fact, don’t be surprised if they qualify in third place.

Qualification: Top of Group I

Key player: Cristiano Ronaldo

Prediction: Second Round Exit

Key match: vs Iceland

Best result: Runners-up (2004)


Without a doubt, the surprise of the qualification. Austria managed to go undefeated in the qualifiers and in some style! With nine wins out of 10 games and dropping just two points, this current side looked the best ever produced by them.

Under coach Marcel Koller, Austria has employed a high-pressing strategy that stunned their opponents. A not-so-strong Portugal is the best chance for them to move further in the tournament but any progress beyond will depend on what form they bring to the Euros. Watch out for them!

Qualification: Top of group G

Key player: David Alaba

Prediction: Quarter-finals

Key match: vs Portugal

Best Result: Group stage (2008)


If you think Austria’s story is fairy-tale, wait till you hear about Iceland. With a population of barely above 300,000 this tiny nation became the smallest country to qualify for the Euros.

The team ethic of Iceland is one to be documented as they maximized the resources at hand. And here is where their Swedish coach Lars Lagerback needs a pat on his back. The playmaking ability of Gylfi Sigurdsson goes largely unnoticed at Swansea but he is his nation’s prime player. If they pick form early, Portugal could be in for a shock.

Qualification: Second in Group A

Key player: Gylfi Sigurdsson

Prediction: Round II

Key match: vs Portugal

Best Result: Never previously qualified


Old timers may remember Hungary for its tactical and stylish game but they have not qualified for a major tournament in 30 years. And they didn’t look likely to do so in the qualifiers either having gone through three different coaches.

But Bernd Storck and his assistant Andreas Moller deliver qualification through a play-off against Norway. This side shows a gutsy character but it is definitely beyond their capabilities to go beyond round one.

Qualification: Play-off win over Norway

Key player: Gabor Kiraly

Prediction: First Round exit

Key match: vs Iceland

Best Result: Third place (1964)

This could be the group to deliver shocking results. Austria and Iceland are not to be taken lightly and Portugal isn’t in great form.

Read 2051 times Last modified on Friday, 10 June 2016 17:11
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