Portugal World Cup Roster 2014: Updates on 23-Man Squad, Starting 11 Projections

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Portugal World Cup Roster 2014: Updates on 23-Man Squad, Starting 11 Projections
David Ramos/Getty Images

Portugal head into familiar territory as they prepare for a two-legged playoff against Sweden for a spot in the 2014 World Cup.

In qualifying for both the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship, they had to get past Bosnia and Herzegovina in a playoff. While Portugal were able to do so, you can't be happy to see this happen for a third time in a row if you're a supporter.

They finished second in Group F in UEFA qualifying. Russia were just a point ahead and already have their place in Brazil booked.

Portugal aren't one of the best teams in the world, but they have far too much talent to have this scenario rear its ugly head again. They drew at home with Northern Ireland and drew home and away to Israel. Turn any one of those draws into a win and Portugal are top of the group.

Instead, their hopes rely on stopping Zlatan Ibrahimovic and breaking down a tough Sweden side. It's far from a guarantee that Portugal will do so.

Paulo Bento's fate as national team coach hangs in the balance. Should he get through, he may stay on, as it's far too late to try to integrate a new coach's style and have him decide on a final lineup. For better or worse, the Portuguese Football Federation has hitched its wagons to Bento.

Only time will tell if that was the right move.  

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