Portugal lost to Spain in the semifinal of Euro 2012 in a penalty shootout after a scoreless 90 minutes and extra time.
It was a heart-breaking way to be knocked out of a tournament, but Portugal must put the defeat behind them because they have a squad capable of winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Led by arguably the world's best player in Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese squad is one of the best sides in the world.
An improved defense has also made Portugal a more complete team. Against Luxembourg, Ronaldo's men should not have too much trouble scoring goals, but football is an unpredictable game.
If Portugal doesn't play well, Luxembourg has the ability to score on the counterattack. Let's look at a complete preview for this World Cup qualifier.
When: Friday, September 7 at 2:45 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN3.com
Where: Josy Barthel Stadium, Luxembourg
Most Important Player to Watch: Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo will be the focus of the Luxembourg defense, and even though he will have chances to score goals, serving as a playmaker will help his squad tremendously.
He's an underrated passer, and must be unselfish because Portugal is at their best when everyone is involved, and Ronaldo isn't taking on too many defenders by himself.
Portugal cannot drop any points in this match, which means Ronaldo must make sure he is a leader, and a goal scorer on Friday.
Key Matchup: Portugal Defense vs. Luxembourg forwards
We often give Portugal so much credit for their attacking play, and rightfully so, but their defense has been solid over the last year.
Pepe and Bruno Alves are one of the best center-back partnerships in world football, and rising star Fabio Coentrao is on his way to becoming a world-class left-back.
The Luxembourg forwards have to be quick with their passes and take their chances because the Portugal defense is disciplined and very strong.
What They're Saying
Mourinho said he is sensitive to Ronaldo's concerns and that his star player has plenty of unwavering support within and without the Madrid organization.
Ronaldo "needs to know for sure that we are here to listen to him and to help him," Mourinho told Spanish newspaper Marca. He "is an absolutely important player."
Expect a fantastic performance from Ronaldo, and another impressive defensive display from the Portugal back line to earn the squad an important World Cup qualifying victory.
Portugal wins 4-0
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