Beaten 4-0 by Germany on their Group G debut and deprived of the services of some of their first-choice players through injury and suspension, Portugal have made an inauspicious start to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazilâ„¢. Nevertheless, a look at the history books shows that they need not despair. After slow starts at UEFA EURO 2004 and 2012, A SelecÃ§Ã£o das Quinas went far on both occasions.
Sunday’s meeting with USA is a crucial one for Paulo Bento’s men, and victory would certainly give them a timely lift, especially with Fabio Coentrao having gone back to Lisbon, with his World Cup having come to a premature, injury-enforced end, and Pepe serving a one-match suspension. To make matters worse, Rui Patricio and Hugo Almeida have both picked up knocks that will keep them sidelined until after the group phase, while Bruno Alves is also an injury doubt. All five started against the Germans and their absences ”“ temporary or otherwise ”“ have given coach Bento plenty to ponder as he assesses his options for the USA game.
The Portuguese need not feel too downcast, however, not when they have shown an ability to recover from similar situations in the past.