Of all the top teams who stuttered through their qualifying campaigns, the one side you expect should come good is Portugal.
Yet they were placed in a very tough group alongside Brazil and Ivory Coast, and of those three teams, it is Portugal that looks most likely to fail to make the second round.
Their problems are hard to nail down, but it seems that coach Carlos Queiroz may be the quintessential assistant coach who cannot cope with the step-up to the main job.
He has failed to make a talented group of players into a team unit, and his side endured far too many uninspiring draws in qualifying.
Even so, you might imagine that Cristiano Ronaldo—one of the world’s greatest players—should be able to single-handedly drag Portugal to glory.
Yet, Ronaldo has rarely shown the same kind of dynamism and influence in a Portuguese shirt that he does for his club sides.
If Ivory Coast can find consistency under Sven Goran Ericksson, expect more tears from Ronaldo and his compatriots.