Current holders of the European Championship, Portugal, wouldn’t have been best pleased when they found out they were sharing a group at the 2020 tournament with the two most recent world champions in France and Germany.
They were already outsiders to defend their title at Euro 2020 - priced at 14/1 by Paddy Power, - but when you have Cristiano Ronaldo in your team, you always have a chance. This was the case in 2016 when they won the tournament. Nobody expected them to do all that well. The consensus was that bar Ronaldo, Portugal had a squad full of average players.
The group stages confirmed those beliefs when Portugal failed to win a single game out of the three. It was Ronaldo’s heroics in the final group stage game, a 3-3 draw against Hungary, that spared the side their blushes and secured their progression as one of the best third-placed teams; that's right, they couldn't even progress automatically.
Again though, it was Ronaldo's leadership and contributions which led them to the trophy. Whilst he was limited to 25 minutes of game time in the final due to an injury - the win is widely attributed to Ronaldo’s leadership on the touchline. Portugal’s captain and greatest ever talent has proven is a threat from anywhere, even when he isn’t on the pitch, so being 36 at Euro 2021, might not be such a worry.
However, at this age, will 2021 be a little too late for Ronaldo and his nation when the likes of England and France's youngsters are continuing to blossom? Here, we delve into the evidence for and against Portugal’s chances to defend their Euro 2016 title at Euro 2021.