Although the Selecao are in a tight group, they started strong by beating Hungary 3-0 in their opener
Gor Mahia head coach Manuel Vaz Pinto has claimed Portugal are not as strong as they were in 2016 when they won the European Championship.
Although they were somewhat outsiders then, Portugal won the title five years ago, but Vaz Pinto, who believes there is brilliant individual talent in the current squad, stated that the players have to stick together a little bit longer in order to be seen as a really strong side.
“Portugal have a chance if only they grow as a team. We have talent, but I feel this national team is not as strong as the one in 2016,” Vaz Pinto told Arocho Live.
“We have more and better talents now because, in 2016, we did not have Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Felix and Diogo Jota.
“But the 2016 team had played for a long time and, as I said about Gor Mahia, they had established a strong family connection.
“Now they have started to renew the team, but game by game, I think they will grow as a team and if they do that, they could be champions again although we are a small country, but we have talents.”
The former St George SC head coach, however, explained how the clubs and the FA have ensured the national team always have a great supply of good players.
“The secret of success has been with the clubs,” explained the tactician.
“For example, if a club has a budget of $1 million, the club will ensure 30% of that budget goes to the academy for development.
“The federation also created the U23 league, which is critical, in my opinion, and this is where you will find even the U17 or U18 players featured and, because of that, the kids grow meticulously.
“Bernado, Jota, and Felix all came from there because the structures encouraged the development of such abilities.
“The federation also ensured teams could not participate in the leagues if they did not have the facilities. You will not be able to grow if you do not have better facilities.”
Portugal are in Group F, a pool seen as the most keenly contested, as Germany, France and Hungary are the other rivals.