Tag: Portugal

We Predict… UEFA EURO 2020

It’s here! It’s finally here! A year later than scheduled (don’t worry, we won’t get into all that) European football finds itself at the starting line of a month-long football feast: UEFA EURO 2020 is upon us!

It’s safe to say this tournament will be unlike any other that has come before it with the competition to be played in twelve different host countries, some of which will have stadiums at full capacity, others which will not. Quite frankly, it’s all new. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be exciting. In fact, the bizarre makeup of this tournament is probably likely to throw up more shocks than ever before. So what we’re trying to say is: don’t rule out an Austria v North Macedonia final…

And so that brings us to the Icons.com staff predictions. We’ve learned over the years that predicting the future, as it turns out, is pretty difficult. But that’s not going to stop us from trying!

And, of course, be sure to check out our fantastic range of official UEFA EURO 2020 signed memorabilia from stars past and present – available right now on Icons.com. Now then, let’s get to it…

There is no shortage of talent among the French ranks, UEFA EURO 2020’s favourites

Edward Freedman, Non-Executive Chairman

UEFA EURO 2020 winners: FIFA World Cup winners FRANCE have a whole host of technical players who are just excellent.
Runner-up: GERMANY always do very well in tournaments.

Golden Boot winner: France’s ANTOINE GRIEZMANN has the quality to finish as the tournament’s top scorer.
Player of the Tournament: Germany’s UEFA Champions League-winning talisman KAI HAVERTZ will impress at his first major tournament.

Notable overachievers: With a relatively straightforward group, the NETHERLANDS will go a long way despite being written off in some quarters.
Notable underachievers: Sadly, this will be ENGLAND.

England will… not do very well. I don’t see them making it past the quarter-finals.

Random bold prediction: Led by Christian Eriksen and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Denmark will go deep in this competition.

With Ronaldo, Fernandes, Felix, Dias, Jota and more, Portugal look especially strong

Dan Jamieson, CEO

UEFA EURO 2020 winners: With a forward line made up of Icons – Joao Felix, Bruno Fernandes and a certain Cristiano Ronaldo – PORTUGAL will retain it. Half of their defence comprises PFA Team of the Year honourees led by a coach who knows what it takes to win. And, of course, my Liverpool boy Diogo Jota!
Runner-up: At a tournament like this, having an ability to not concede is often more preferable to an ability to score tons of goals – just look at Portugal in 2016. With that in mind, I’m going with ITALY.

Golden Boot winner: Portugal’s DIOGO JOTA carries his domestic form on to the big stage.
Player of the Tournament:
Another Portuguese star, BRUNO FERNANDES, seizes his opportunity to clamber into the pantheon of world class players.

Notable overachievers: Now that Christian Eriksen has found form, expect DENMARK to go far.
Notable underachievers:
GERMANY can’t escape the clutches of that Group of Death.

England will… get to the quarters then go out to the first decent team we meet. The FIFA World Rankings put us third best in Europe and we’re basically at home this summer but unless the draw opens up and we get Sweden again it’ll be the last eight for Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions.

Random bold prediction: Scotland draw with England but drop out of the tournament at the group stages after celebrating too much.

Opinion is divided on a Netherlands team that will look to Georginio Wijnaldum for influence

Ben Soley, Sales and Marketing Manager

UEFA EURO 2020 winners: FRANCE. The FIFA World Cup winners can can be triumphant once again.
Runner-up: I’m backing the NETHERLANDS to go the furthest in a UEFA EURO tournament since the great team of Marco Van Baste, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard in 1988.

Golden Boot winner: With an easy enough group to get a good head-start on likes of Ronaldo, Harry Kane and Kylian Mbappe, ROMELU LUKAKU wins this.
Player of the Tournament:
Does a 26-year-old BRUNO FERNANDES have enough left in the tank after more games than any other player in Europe in 2020/21?

Notable overachievers: With a reliable keeper, strong centre-back pairing and Eriksen, Thomas Delaney and Hojbjerg in the middle creating a strong spine, DENMARK not only have a talented quite but a more than manageable group. I just worry if Martin Braithwaite, Yussuf Poulsen and Andreas Cornelius can get them the goals. 
Notable underachievers:
BELGIUM have the oldest squad in the tournament, Kevin De Bruyne has broken eyes, and they have to travel to Baku and back again. Although it’s an easy group I think they’ll get knocked out in the quarters or earlier.

England will… come up against tough competition en route to the latter stages and scrape to the quarters. But anything less than the semi-finals would be deemed a failure.

Random bold prediction: Wales to score the team goal of the tournament (I’m convinced after Harry Wilson’s goal vs Belgium). Goran Pandev to score three goals at his first UEFA EURO finals match with North Macedonia. There will be at least one five-goal thriller in Group F.

UEFA EURO 2020 will be Scotland’s first major tournament appearance since 1998

Alistair Hunter, Senior Editor

UEFA EURO 2020 winners: There’s no reason to overthink this: FRANCE have the strongest team on paper, with multiple world-class players in key areas and depth beyond belief. The return of Karim Benzema should not be overlooked – he is the outstanding out-and-out centre forward Les Bleus didn’t quite have before (my sincere apologies to Monsieur Giroud).
Runner-up: With the likes of Foden, Mount and Grealish, ENGLAND have an explosive young squad tempered by the steady guidance of Gareth Southgate. Fitness is a concern, but don’t underestimate the fact they will likely have home advantage in all but one of their games – right up to and including the final.

Golden Boot winner: Only Cristiano Ronaldo had more shots than LORENZO INSIGNE in Serie A this season and with Group A looking relatively straightforward for Italy, the Napoli man – and Golden Boot outsider – will have this sewn up by the Round of 16.
Player of the Tournament: Now that he has hair like Gazza, PHIL FODEN will emulate the great Geordie legend and prove he is among the world’s very best players with a series of show-stopping displays.

Notable overachievers: Sometimes you just have to let your heart rule your head. This is one such occasion. Give me SCOTLAND to defy expectations and reach the quarter-finals. Because why not?
Notable underachievers:
It’ll be quite the shock when the NETHERLANDS are not able to qualify from their group. Remember, third place won’t be enough for two unlucky teams.

Scotland will… be to UEFA EURO 2020 what Wales were to UEFA EURO 2016 – a joyous underdog story. If Che Adams or Lyndon Dykes can find the net, the likes of Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney, Scott McTominay and John McGinn have enough quality to ensure progress beyond the group stages. Third place in Group D may actually set them up quite kindly in the Round of 16… and you may now stop laughing.

Random bold prediction: No UEFA EURO finals match has ever been won by more than five goals. That will change at this tournament.

COVID-19 concerns still loom large over UEFA EURO 2020

Jamie White, Online Content & Social Media Producer

UEFA EURO 2020 winners: It’s a toss-up between France and PORTUGAL. But I fancy the idea of Ronaldo and Fernandes taking them all the way in the competition.
Runner-up: FRANCE have the strongest team on paper, in my opinion. But the strongest team doesn’t always win the whole thing. Just look at 2016.

Golden Boot winner: Bit of an obvious choice but I’ll go KYLIAN MBAPPE. He is a world class player and, crucially, he loves an international competition.
Player of the Tournament:
BRUNO FERNANDES is a top quality player. It’s just unfortunate that he plays for United. The playmaker has a fantastic attitude and I believe his desire to win for his country will show through this summer.

Notable overachievers: SWITZERLAND have had a good run of results in the lead-up to this tournament.
Notable underachievers:
GERMANY will be the casualty of a very difficult Group F.

England will… win it! Only joking, I was really optimistic for England, with our young exciting squad. But after watching the warm-up games we looked to struggle to create many chances. I think Southgate will be a little too cautious with his team selection. I’m saying we will go out in the quarter-finals but I hope I’m wrong. Jack Grealish will be our stand-out player.

Random bold prediction: The Indian variant of COVID-19 cancels the whole thing!

There are high hopes for Jack Grealish to have a breakout tournament with England

Will Franklin, Head of Customer Support

UEFA EURO 2020 winners: This has to be FRANCE. Their players and manager are serial winners on the big stage and I think they’ll be too much for anyone else to handle this year.
Runner-up: With a fairly ‘easy’ route to the latter stages, if things go to plan for them, BELGIUM have enough to beat the likes of Portugal, England (unfortunately) et al.

Golden Boot winner: ROMELU LUKAKU should easily net some goals in the group stages. If they reach the final, you can expect him to be up there.
Player of the Tournament:
N’GOLO KANTE. One of the best players in world football right now and his ‘under the radar’ work ethic is starting to be rightly appreciated. 

Notable overachievers: I think TURKEY have some great players who are in good form so they have the potential to go far.
Notable underachievers:
GERMANY (I hope). Let’s have a repeat of the 2018 FIFA World Cup group stages, please.

England will… be undone on the day by other top teams. That said, this is probably the most excited I’ve been before an international tournament for some time. We have a young, talented squad with a massive future. We could be gone by the Round of 16 with the route being as it is, but if not I’d expect us to get to the semi-finals.

Random bold prediction: Jack Grealish will be England’s best player by a country mile.


Shop from our full range of 100% official UEFA EURO 2020 signed memorabilia by visiting Icons.com today…

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CLOSED | WIN a Cristiano Ronaldo Signed Nike Boot with FOOTY.COM

Video via FOOTY.COM on Facebook

After a stellar 2016 in which he not only won the UEFA Champions League for a third time but also inspired a first ever major trophy as the captain of his country AND bagged a fourth Ballon d’Or, Cristiano Ronaldo‘s standing as the best player in world football became less of a debate and more of a cold, hard fact.

We at Icons.com love us some CR7. So much so, in fact, that we’ve been working closely with the global phenomenon for over a decade. A Sporting Lisbon legend, a Manchester United hero, a Real Madrid superstar – however you choose to view his career, Ronaldo remains one of our most popular icons.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with our friends at FOOTY.COM to offer the ultimate giveaway for Cristiano fans.

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That’s right, this week we’re offering you the chance to win a Cristiano Ronaldo signed Nike Mercurial Victory VI boot.

Throwing your hat in the ring for this spectacular prize couldn’t be easier. Just head over to FOOTY.COM, pop in your name and email address and you’re in. The competition ends on Sunday March 12th at midnight (GMT) so enter now before it’s too late!

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Cristiano Ronaldo: Anatomy Of An Icons Signing

Want to know what went down when Icons met up with Cristiano Ronaldo earlier this week? Well, look no further. Here’s how the team got on in the company of the Real Madrid and Portugal legend.

ronaldo-autograph-signing-session-icons.com

On 10 March, a mere month after Icons’ last signing with Cristiano Ronaldo, the Real Madrid superstar scored two goals in his side’s 5-4 aggregate defeat of Schalke in the UEFA Champions League. In doing so, he further cemented his place as one of the greatest players in the grand history of European football.

Why?

Because Ronaldo’s brace that night – his 77th and 78th goals in UEFA club competitions – broke Raul’s all-time record, setting in motion another incredible year for the Portuguese forward. A year in which he became both the UEFA Champions League and Real Madrid’s all-time leading scorer; secured a place at UEFA EURO 2016 as part of a Portugal side who won all but one match during qualification (Ronaldo missed that particular game); netted 44 goals in 46 games for club and country; and announced the release date and trailer for a highly-anticipated documentary about his life.

So it’s no surprise the 30-year-old phenomenon was all smiles when he arrived at our signing.

Cheerfully autographing our exclusive range of excellent new products, Ronaldo promptly signed each variety of our new Real Madrid shirts, with UEFA Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup and La Liga patches; plus Nike boots; photos; and official UEFA Champions League balls. But one particular product that caught the forward’s eye was our new All-Time Top Scorer 324 Goals shirt, which commemorates his breaking of Raul’s all-time scoring record for Real Madrid.

Ronaldo then moved on to our Manchester United home shirts. This brought back fond memories, as always. The former Red Devils star, who played nearly 200 times for the Old Trafford club, still has a great love of England, as he mentioned how he wishes he could return more often than he is able to.

Excited for the upcoming release of a documentary that follows his sparkling career – for which Ronaldo has personally invited Icons to the glitzy London premiere – this is superstar who has plenty to look forward to as the year comes to a close. But we at Icons are sure you can expect much more from this exceptional footballer in 2016.

Our new and exclusive range of Cristiano Ronaldo products is only available now on www.icons.com.

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Congratulations Cristiano Ronaldo: 2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or Winner!

Huge congratulations from all at Icons to the one and only Cristiano Ronaldo – official FIFA Ballon d’Or 2014 winner! 69 goals in 2013 saw the Portuguese superstar rocket to victory, pipping Leo Messi and Bayern Munich wide man Franck Ribery to the prestigious award at a ceremony in Zurich last night.

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo delivers a speech after receiving the 2013 FIFA Ballon d'Or award for player of the year during the FIFA Ballon d'Or award ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich on January 13, 2014.  AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN        (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo delivers a speech after receiving the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or award for player of the year during the FIFA Ballon d’Or award ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich on January 13, 2014. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Ronaldo was overcome with emotion onstage accepting the prize. “It means a lot to win this after Eusébio‘s passing,” he said. “I dedicate this award to him and my team-mates. He was watching from the skies to see this great moment for a Portuguese player. When I saw my mum crying it made me cry as well. I’m an emotional person. It is very difficult to win this award.”

2014 will be Icons’ tenth year working with Cristiano. For the best in CR7 signed memorabilia, look no further than Icons.

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The Greatest Sides Never To Win The World Cup: Portugal 1966

Who cares about the also-rans? Nobody remembers the losers, right? Wrong. They do when they were as talented as… Portugal 1966. Or Hungary 1954.

Icons-Memorabilia

Why were Portugal great in 1966?

Portugal of 1966 were not so much about a great team, as a great player: Eusébio. Reminiscent of Maradona some 20 years later, Eusébio single-handedly carried his country through the tournament. If Eusébio, the reigning European Player of the Year, had started the tournament with a big reputation, he finished it with something approaching God-like status.

Taking on a Brazil side that included Pelé in the first round, Eusébio nabbed the headlines from under the nose of the famous number 10, with a brilliant brace of goals in a 3-1 win. Portugal outscored its three group opponents 9-2 and qualified for the quarter finals. The best however, was yet to come.

Faced with the tournament’s surprise package North Korea, the Portuguese fell 3-0 down after just 22 minutes of the quarter final. Sensing disaster, Eusebio started to play. Four goals later he had turned the match on its head, with Augusto adding a fifth late-on to complete a 5-3 victory.

So what went wrong?

Portugal’s dream was then destroyed by hosts England. The semi final was to take place at Goodison Park in Liverpool, where Portugal beat North Korea three days before, and stayed over for the semis.

Just 24 hours before kick-off, the World Cup organisation decided to move the game to Wembley, London. Not surprisingly close to the hotel and the training ground of the English national team. Instead of a last training for the game, the Portuguese spent the better part of the day before the crucial semi final in a train.

‘Jogo das Lágrimas’
For ninety minutes during the game, England midfielder Nobby Stiles was given the job of marking the prolific Eusébio. His tough performance resulted in Eusébio being practically nullified for the entire game.

That was as good as it got for Portugal, as even Eusébio couldn’t save them when they came up against England in the semi-finals, a pair of Bobby Charlton goals sending the hosts through.

While home fans rejoiced in a 2-1 victory, many shared Eusébio’s tears, sorry to see ‘The Black Pearl’ on a losing side as the sheer gusto of his play had lit up the tournament. This historical game will always be remembered as ‘Jogo das Lágrimas’ (The Crying Game).

What happened next?

Consolation came by way of a bronze medal after a 2-1 win against the Soviet Union in the 3rd/4th place play-off. Eusébio also won the Golden Boot after netting nine times, and the hearts of all, leading to a waxwork being created of him at Madame Tussauds.

1966 was the first and last time seeing Eusébio playing on a World Cup. He never took part in another finals, as the Portugal sides he later played in bowing out in the qualifying stages in both ‘70 and ‘74.

Other posts in this series:
Hungary 1954
Holland 1974