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Team Profile: Portugal

GettyImagesEusébio top-scored at the 1966 World Cup finals

Appearances at finals:
1966 - Third place
1986 - First round
2002 - First round
2006 - Fourth place

Overall record at finals: Played 19, Won 11, Drawn 1, Lost 7.

Best performance: Third place in 1966.

Most appearances at finals: Luís Figo (2002, 2006) - 10.

Most goals at finals: Eusébio (1966) - 9.

World Cup high: Eusébio scoring four goals in one match as Portugal beat North Korea 5-3 in the quarter-finals of the 1966 World Cup.

World Cup low: After battling to qualify for Mexico 86 the tournament was marred by the Saltillo affair, when players refused to train in a dispute over fees with the Football Federation. Portugal went out in the group stage following a 3-1 defeat to Morocco.

World Cup legend: Eusébio plundered nine goals at the 1966 finals, finishing as the tournament's top scorer.

The story so far: Portugal have become a force in world football over the last decade, but it has not always been that way. Only twice had the nation made it to the finals prior to 2002.

As they now have the attacking talents of 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo and Simão, following on from the golden era of Luís Figo and Rui Costa, Portugal have the players to make an impact at the finals.

Although Portugal have only been to the World Cup four times, they can boast two semi-final appearances. They failed to reach the final both times, however, losing to eventual champions England in 1966 and then to France in 2002. In 1966, they finished third in the competition by beating the Soviet Union 2-1 in the third-place play-off.

Qualification: Portugal struggled through qualification and seemed to be heading out of the competition until a late rally saw them grab the play-off place from Group One. The campaign did not start well, with a home defeat to eventual group-winners Denmark and a 0-0 draw at home to lowly Albania setting the tone for a stuttering campaign under Carlos Queiroz. Portugal then needed a last-minute winner to win the return match in Albania and it took another last-gasp goal to earn a point in Denmark.

Queiroz then managed to get his side in form as they won their final three qualifiers, scoring eight goals without reply, which included a vital home-and-away double over Hungary - edging into second place by one point. They were seeded for the play-off draw and were paired with Bosnia, winning both legs 1-0 courtesy of goals from Bruno Alves and Raul Meireles.

Qualifying record: P10, W5, D4, L1, F17, A5, Pts19.

Most appearances: Raul Meireles (12).

Top goalscorer: Simão (4).