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World Cup Fantasy Preview: Portugal

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With a team built entirely around their talisman Ronaldo, Portugal have taken an unorthodox approach to their squad. Will it pay dividends with a berth in the round of 16?

All eyes will be focused on one man for Portugal. Can he meet their expectations?
All eyes will be focused on one man for Portugal. Can he meet their expectations?
Bryn Lennon

Eight forwards in a 23-man World Cup squad may be a record, but is a clear statement of Portugal's intent during this tournament: Attack, attack, attack. Most likely setting up in a 4-3-3 leads to only 5 players being listed among the midfielders in Paulo Bento's squad, but it remains to be seen how many of the players will be listed in the fantasy game. If those forward players are listed as midfielders, there could be a couple must-have picks from this group.

Goalkeepers

Beto (Sevilla), Eduardo (Braga), Rui Patricio (Sporting)

Defenders

Andre Almeida (Benfica), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid), Joao Pereira (Valencia), Neto (Zenit), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Costa (Valencia)

Midfielders

Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Miguel Veloso (Dinamo Kiev), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Ruben Amorim (Benfica), William Carvalho (Sporting)

Forwards

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Eder (SC Braga), Helder Postiga (Lazio), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Nani (Manchester United), Rafa (Braga), Varela (FC Porto), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg)

Fantasy Players To Watch

Fabio Coentrao - If you played the Euro 2012 fantasy competition, you'll certainly remember Coentrao's fantastic fantasy contributions. The Real Madrid fullback hasn't been a nailed-on starter for his club side this season, but will be among the first couple names on the team sheet for Portugal. Attack-minded with a wicked shot and good delivery, there should be plenty of opportunities for points here.

Bruno Alves - The veteran center back has a surprising goalscoring record of a goal in every 7 games for his national team. Dangerous on set pieces, the defender could be a cheeky investment if you guess the right game for him to pop up with a headed goal. 

Joao Moutinho - The central midfielder is entering his prime at 27, and had a solid season for AS Monaco in Ligue 1. Not usually a goalscoring threat, Moutinho is more likely to play the killer pass to set up a goal from the middle of the park. With so many attack-minded players in the side, he should have no shortage of options to pass to in the final third.

Raul Meireles - After an unsuccessful spell at Chelsea following a brilliant debut season for Liverpool, Meireles has rediscovered that form in Turkey with Fenerbahce. Similar to Moutinho in that he can unlock defenses with his range of passing, but much more capable of popping up with a goal from distance as well.

Nani - It's difficult to recommend players from Manchester United after the poor season they had in the Premier League, but Nani is an assured starter for his national team and could easily benefit from the additional space afforded to him by defenders placing too much of their focus on Ronaldo. 

Helder Postiga - The central striker will most likely be called upon to hold up play for the plethora of attacking midfielders, but the veteran isn't short of goals himself and has contributed 27 goals in 66 international appearances.

Cristiano Ronaldo - The Player of the Year will be eager to add to his personal stature with a great World Cup performance, but with all eyes on him he may find himself man-marked or even double teamed throughout the tournament. Regardless, his quality may be too much for even the best defenses to handle.