Belfast Telegraph

Euro glory will lift Portugal to World Cup win: Ricardo Carvalho

 

By Steven Beacom

Former Portugal star Ricardo Carvalho feels his country can follow up their Euro 2016 heroics with a strong showing in the World Cup finals.

Carvalho was in the Portuguese squad two years ago when they shocked hosts France in the final to win the European Championships.

This time he will watch from afar as Cristiano Ronaldo and co look to deliver in the World Cup, starting tonight against Spain in Group B.

While the Spanish have had a turbulent few days, sacking Real Madrid-bound coach Julen Lopetegui and replacing him with Fernando Hierro, Carvalho believes having successful Euro 2016 boss Fernando Santos still on board and the spirit inside the Portugal camp will be crucial to the team having a good tournament.

"We have a good team and the same coach, which I feel is very important," said 40-year-old Carvalho, who has been in Belfast this month working on his Uefa B Coaching Licence.

"The squad is always together and the players work well together in tournaments. That was a big reason why Portugal did so well in the Euros.

"At a World Cup there are many very good sides, but for Portugal the aim will be to get good results early on, gain confidence and have luck.

"It is a good squad and in Cristiano Ronaldo we have a great player so we have a chance to go far. I hope that proves the case."

Carvalho has enjoyed his time in Northern Ireland and learnt much from the IFA coaches and fellow students, who have included good friend, countryman and former Chelsea team-mate Tiago Mendes.

"Your experiences as a player will help in management because you understand the game. One thing is to understand the game and another thing is to pass it on. That is the challenge. You know what you feel and what you see but you have to explain it well to the players," said Carvalho.

"Doing the IFA course in Northern Ireland has been a great learning experience."

Carvalho's old Chelsea pal Frank Lampard has already entered the world of management, taking charge of Championship side Derby County.

"I hope Frank does very well. I left Chelsea in 2010 so I played six years with him and it was a pleasure," said Carvalho. "He was a top guy and even then he was a leader. It will be important for him to start well and I'm sure he is ready for the challenge.

"He is the type of person that would believe he can do well. I knew he would carry on to be a coach and I feel the same way about John Terry, who was another great player for Chelsea."

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