Former Portugal international Nuno Gomes says that in his eyes, the team led by Cristiano Ronaldo can win this year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia. Gomes notes that hard situations ‘historically’ always worked in their favor.
The 41-year-old former striker, capped more than 80 times at the senior level for his home country, was recently in Sochi. The city is known for being the venue of the 2014 Olympic Games, and will also serve as one of the host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The Portuguese international came to the southern Russian resort city to take a part in the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Football Park over the last weekend. He exclusively spoke to RT about the upcoming Mundial and the favorites for the tournament.
“Of course Germany, they have a beautiful team. They won the Confederations Cup, [and] not with the strongest roster they can have. And of course Brazil, they have a tremendous team and tremendous players. I hope that Neymar will arrive in good condition. There are a lot of great teams: Argentina with Messi; Belgium is a good team also. Iceland is one of the teams that could be a surprise. I would also say Russia, because they are playing at home, and have good young players.”
Gomes also picked up the teams that, in his view, have the best chances of making it to the semi-finals.
“If I had to pick, I’d say that Brazil, Germany, Portugal and Spain will make it to the semi-finals, but from there teams will also need luck to move further. I hope all teams will arrive in good condition, so we will have a wonderful World Cup with a lot of amazing games.”
Talking about the chances for his native Portugal, the veteran pointed out that not being a favorite in the eyes of the fans and pundits can actually play in the team’s favor.
“One of the biggest challenges (for Portugal) is (the fact) that we are European champions. A lot of eyes are looking at our national team. That could increase our responsibility. If one has to choose one favorite (for the World Cup), and ask around, I don’t know if people will choose Portugal. But for me Portugal is one of the favorites, we just have to go step by step, because we are in the group – they can be easy, but can turn difficult. The Portuguese team historically tends to relax when things are easy. So we don’t have to be the favorites, but we have to prove it on the field.”