Since 1921, Portugal’s national football squad (Portuguese: Seleço Portuguesa de Futebol) has represented the country in international men’s football competitions. The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), the country’s governing organization for football, oversees the national team. Portugal’s home matches are held at several venues around the country, with Oeiras serving as the principal training field and technical headquarters. The squad’s current head coach is Fernando Santos, and its captain is Cristiano Ronaldo, who also holds the club record for most caps and goals.
Portugal’s first appearance in a major tournament final came in 1966, when a squad led by Ballon d’Or winner Eusébio finished third. Portugal also reached the UEFA Euro 1984 semi-finals before falling to hosts and eventual victors France. During the team’s first golden generation in the 1990s, Portugal began to appear consistently in the European Championship and World Cup; they reached the 2006 World Cup semi-finals, finishing fourth, as well as finishing runners-up at Euro 2004 as hosts, and reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2000 and Euro 2012. This was largely due to the efforts of a number of players, including Luis Figo, Rui Costa, Ricardo Carvalho, and Cristiano Ronaldo, widely regarded as one of the best players of all time.  
Fernando Santos was named the new head coach of the national team in 2014. Santos guided Portugal to its first major victory two years later, defeating hosts France in the finals at Euro 2016. With the victory, Portugal qualified for and competed in its only FIFA Confederations Cup, finishing third in Russia. Portugal qualified for and hosted the brand-new 2018-19 Nations League finals, defeating the Netherlands and claiming their second major tournament victory in three finals.
Portugal is colloquially known as the Seleço das Quinas (a synecdoche based on the country’s flag) and has notable rivalries with Brazil, due to shared cultural traits and heritage, France, due to several important meetings between the two teams at Euro and World Cup, and Spain, known as A Guerra Ibérica in Portuguese or The Iberian War in English, with rivalry dating back to 1581. 
Early World Cup Attemps
Portugal was not invited to the 1930 World Cup, which had only a final stage and no qualifying round. The Portugal competed in the 1934 FIFA World Cup qualifying, but failed to overcome their Spanish opponents, suffering two defeats in the two-legged round, falling 9-0 in Madrid and 2-1 in Lisbon for an aggregate score of 11-1. 
The Seleço played one game against Syria at neutral ground in Milan during the 1938 FIFA World Cup qualifying. They were defeated 2-1 and did not go to the finals.  The World Cup was postponed until 1950 due to the Second World War, and the national team played sparingly after that.  Two years after the war, a 10-0 home friendly loss to England remains their worst defeat. 
1950s to 1990s
Portugal was to face Spain in a two-leg round, as it had done in 1934. After losing 5-1 in Madrid, they managed to draw 2-2 in the second game. They did not qualify on the pitch with a 7-3 aggregate score, but they were later invited to replace Turkey, which had withdrawn. Portugal refused to take part.  
In 1966, Portugal was placed in the same World Cup qualifying group as Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Turkey.  They won their group with only one tie and one loss in six games, thereby qualifying for the FIFA World Cup, which would be held in England that year. Among the notable results were 1-0 away wins over Czechoslovakia and Turkey, as well as a 5-1 home win over the Turks. 
The squad began the tournament with three wins in Group C, defeating Hungary 3-1, Bulgaria 3-0, and two-time reigning champions Brazil 3-1.  Second, they defeated North Korea 5-3 in the quarterfinals, with Eusébio scoring four goals to overcome a 3-0 deficit.  Later, they advanced to the semi-finals, where they were defeated 2-1 by hosts England; in this game, Portugal would have played in Liverpool, but because England was the hosts, FIFA decided that the game should be played in London, forcing the Portuguese team to travel unexpectedly from Liverpool to London. Portugal then defeated the Soviet Union 2-1 in the World Cup third-place match, giving them their best World Cup finish to date.  With nine goals, Eusébio was the World Cup’s leading scorer.
Portugal was placed in a group with Austria, Belgium, Norway, and Scotland to compete for first place in the group, allowing them to advance to the final stage of UEFA Euro 1980; they finished third. 
Luis Figo during the 2006 FIFA World Cup for Portugal
The Portuguese team finished last in the 1982 qualification against Israel, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Sweden.
During the Euro 1984 qualifying campaign, Portugal was grouped alongside Finland, Poland, and the Soviet Union. Portugal won the group after defeating the Soviet Union.   Portugal finished in Group B with Spain, West Germany, and Romania.  They drew 0-0 and 1-1 against West Germany and Spain in their first two matches.  With a 1-0 win over Romania, they finished second in their group and advanced to the knockout stage, where they faced the hosts, France.  The game was level after 90 minutes and went into extra time; Portugal won 2-1, but France scored in the 114th and 119th minutes to defeat Portugal 3-2 and go to the final. 
The Portuguese squad sought to top their qualifying group, which included Italy, Malta, Sweden, and Switzerland, but ended third.   Portugal contended for one of the first two slots in the 1990 World Cup qualification group, along with Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Luxembourg, and Switzerland; playing at home against Czechoslovakia, the game finished 0-0, allowing the Central Europeans to take second place.  
During Euro 1992 qualifying, Portugal faced the Netherlands, Greece, Finland, and Malta; Portugal finished second behind the Dutch.
Portugal failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup after finishing third in a group that included Estonia, Italy, Malta, Scotland, and Switzerland.
The Golden Generation
Portugal finished first in Group D at UEFA Euro 1996, losing 1-0 to the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.
Portugal was defeated 0-1 by Greece in the Euro 2004 final, thanks to a header from Angelos Charisteas (pictured).
Portugal did not qualify for the FIFA World Cup in 1998. Portugal finished second in their group in Euro 2000 qualification, one point behind first-placed Romania. Despite finishing as the top runner-up country in qualifying, Portugal advanced to the tournament final stage. They subsequently beat England 3-2, Romania 1-0, and Germany 3-0 to win Group A, and then beat Turkey in the quarter-finals.
Portugal were eliminated in extra time in the semi-final against France when Zinedine Zidane converted a penalty. After Abel Xavier blocked a shot, referee Günter Benkö awarded the spot kick for a handball. Xavier, Nuno Gomes, and Paulo Bento all received lengthy suspensions after shoving the referee.  The final score was 2-1.
Portugal won the group stage of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.  Several difficulties and bad judgment judgments happened throughout the tournament’s preparation and play – player buying sprees were extensively covered in the Portuguese news.  Dubious management decisions and some amateurism, including the same absence of prize agreement.  Portugal came into the competition as the odds-on favorite to win Group D.  However, the United States defeated them 3-2.  They followed it up with a 4-0 thrashing of Poland.  Needing a draw to advance, they were defeated by hosts South Korea in the last group game.  Portugal underperformed and finished third in its group stage, eventually being eliminated. After the World Cup, manager António Oliveira was sacked.
Portugal finished first in the World Cup qualifying round in 2006.  Portugal finished first in World Cup Group D, defeating Angola (1-0), Iran (2-0), and Mexico (2–1).   In an unpleasant battle characterised by 16 yellow cards and four players sent off, Portugal defeated the Netherlands 1-0 in the Round of 16 in Nuremberg.  Portugal drew 0-0 with England after extra time, but won 3-1 on penalties to go to their first World Cup semi-final since 1966.   Portugal was defeated 1-0 by France in the semi-finals.  Portugal lost 3-1 to Germany in the third-place play-off match. 
The team eventually won the “Most Entertaining Team” award for their performance during the World Cup. Scolari was once again asked to accept a new contract with the Federation that would keep him as manager until the end of the next competition.
2006 to 2014
Portugal finished second in qualification behind Poland, winning their first two group games against Turkey and the Czech Republic, but a loss to co-hosts Switzerland set up a quarter-final matchup with Germany, which they lost 3-2.  Scolari left after the tournament to take over at Chelsea.  Following that, Carlos Queiroz was named head coach of the Portugal national team.
Under Carlos Queiroz, Portugal finished second in the qualifying stages for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, then overcame Bosnia and Herzegovina in a play-off to reach every event in the decade.   A 19-match unbeaten record in which the squad surrendered only three goals ended in a 1-0 round-of-16 loss to eventual winners Spain.  Queiroz was then chastised for excessively cautiously assembling his squad.  Simo, Paulo Ferreira, Miguel, and Tiago all retired from international football after the World Cup.    Queiroz was barred from coaching the national team for one month for attempting to prevent a drug test from being administered to the team while preparing for the World Cup, as well as insulting the testers.
As a result, he was suspended for another six months. Queiroz then made several media outbursts against the heads of the Portuguese Football Federation, which contributed to his dismissal. Paulo Bento has been named as his successor as head coach.
Portugal won 4-2 on aggregate in a play-off against Sweden in 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification, with all four goals scored by Ronaldo, and was drawn into Group G with the United States, Germany, and Ghana. Their first encounter against Germany was a 4-0 defeat, their worst at a World Cup.  They went on to draw 2-2 with the US and win 2-1 against Ghana.   The squad was eliminated, however, due to a lower goal difference than the Americans.
Euro 2016 and first international glories
Portugal opened the Euro 2016 qualifications with a 0-1 home defeat against Albania, which culminated in Bento’s dismissal and replacement by Fernando Santos in September 2014.  The squad qualified as group champions and was placed in Group F alongside newcomers Iceland, Austria, and Hungary; the Portuguese moved to the knockout stage as the third-best third-place team after three consecutive draws. Portugal overcame Croatia 1-0 in extra time in the Round of 16, then defeated Poland 5-3 on penalties to advance to the semi-finals, where they defeated Wales 2-0 in regular time with goals from Ronaldo and Nani to face hosts France in the final at the Stade de France.
Ronaldo was injured in the early stages of the final; in extra time, substitute Eder turned hero by scoring the game’s only goal in the 109th minute, defying all odds. Ronaldo won the Silver Boot after scoring three goals and assisting on three others.
Portugal competed in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup after winning Euro 2016. On June 17, Portugal met Mexico in their first encounter, which resulted in a 2-2 tie.  Three days later, Portugal defeated hosts Russia 1-0, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring the lone goal of the game.  Portugal defeated New Zealand 4-0 on June 24 to win their group and proceed to the competition’s semi-finals.   Ronaldo was also named player of the match in each of Portugal’s three group stage matches.  Portugal lost on penalties to Chile in the semi-finals after a goalless draw, but rebounded in the third-place game, defeating Mexico 2-1 after extra time. 
Portugal was placed in Group B for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, along with Spain, Morocco, and Iran. Portugal’s first encounter, on June 15, was a 3-3 draw against Spain, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick.  Ronaldo scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win over Morocco, shattering Puskás’ record.  Portugal met Iran in their last group encounter on June 25, which concluded in a 1-1 draw, advancing Portugal to the knockout phase as group runners-up behind Spain.  Portugal was eliminated on June 30 after losing 2-1 to Uruguay in the round of 16.
Following the World Cup, Portugal competed in the first UEFA Nations League, where the Seleço was assigned to League A and put in Group 3 against Italy and Poland. On March 9, 2018, UEFA revealed that Portugal has indicated interest in bidding for the Nations League finals, which were later decided to be hosted by the group winners.  Portugal began the league by defeating Italy 1-0 at home, with André Silva scoring the game’s only goal.  Portugal defeated Poland 3-2 on the road in their second match.
Portugal faced Italy and Poland in the two remaining matches, drawing 0-0 away and 1-1 at home, respectively, to qualify to the Nations League finals, so automatically securing hosting rights, which were confirmed by the UEFA Executive Committee on 3 December 2018.  Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the team in the semi-finals on 5 June 2019, scoring a hat-trick against Switzerland to clinch the hosts a place in the final.  Four days later, in the Estádio do Drago in Porto, Portugal defeated the Netherlands 1-0, with Gonçalo Guedes scoring the only goal in the 60th minute.
Portugal was placed in Group A of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers for 2022, along with Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, the Republic of Ireland, and Serbia. Portugal finished second and moved to the playoffs rather than qualifying outright after losing to Serbia at home on the last matchday.  Portugal defeated Turkey 3-1 in the playoff semi-finals on March 24, 2022, and North Macedonia 2-0 in the playoff final five days later to secure a place in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.