After a somewhat lacklustre performance against Switzerland in the semi-final, could we see Fernando Santos opt for changes in the final versus The Netherlands?
Santos selected a lineup that few would have complained with before kick-off, although Portugal still seemed to face difficulties when facing a tenacious and talented Swiss side; should they serve up a performance at a similar level to last time out, we could see Portugal falling short of lifting a trophy in their home nation for the second time, having lost to Greece in the Euro 2004 final.
Some things are certain about Portugal’s team though. While you could debate who starts in certain positions outfield, one thing is certain; Rui Patricio will start in goal.
The Wolves goalkeeper is set to become the most capped goalkeeper in Portuguese footballing history, preparing to earn his 81st cap in the meeting with Holland, surpassing the 80 caps amassed by former Porto star Vitor Baia.
The two centrebacks also seems a certainty - with Pepe out of contention for the match as a result of the shoulder injury he suffered in the semi-final, Portugal only have two out-and-out centrebacks to choose from - Ruben Dias, who is a regular starter for Portugal, and Jose Fonte, who will be the man that will replace Pepe in the starting XI.
Should one of those two get injured, Portugal would face a slight dilemma, and would have to play Danilo Pereira in the heart of defence as a makeshift centreback.
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The fullbacks are harder to predict; Guerreiro had a mixed game against Portugal at left back, struggling defensively and requiring William Carvalho to help him deal with Swiss attacks down that right wing. You would still anticipate Guerreiro starting against The Netherlands, although it would be far from surprising if Santos brought Mario Rui into the eleven instead.
Right back is equally tricky to call, if not even harder. Nelson Semedo played the last match after Cancelo recovered from a minor surgery and performed to a very good standard. However, now that Cancelo has fully recovered, he will potentially replace the Barcelona right back in the lineup - which is what we predict will happen.
In midfield, not too much is expected to change. William Carvalho and Ruben Neves are both expected to retain their place in the starting lineup. However, Bruno Fernandes may not be so fortunate after a less than spectacular performance against Switzerland. Instead, one of João Moutinho or Pizzi could quite easily start the game instead of the Sporting star - and we predict that it will be the former.
Bernardo Silva and Cristiano Ronaldo are also certainties to start if they don’t pick up a knock in the little time between now and kick-off, although that final spot up front alongside Cristiano Ronaldo is the big question mark.
João Felix failed to make a significant impact in the last outing and would be highly fortunate to get awarded another starting berth for the final. But, who will be in the starting lineup in his place? There really are a range of options, from the physical and powerful in Dyego Sousa to the small and skilful in Diogo Jota or Rafa Silva. While Gonçalo Guedes is another incredibly suitable option for Santos to choose.
We would like to see Diogo Jota get the start this time; having still not made his Portugal debut, it is highly conceivable to think that Fernando Santos will hand out yet another debut, with the in-form Wolves striker fully deserving of being the latest to be handed one.
Potential XI: Patricio; Cancelo, Dias, Fonte, Guerreiro; Neves, William, Moutinho, Bernardo; Cristiano, Jota.