The World Cup is ominously close! So that you aren't caught offside (they have that in soccer, right?), we're previewing all the participants, bringing you Four Things You Don't Know About Them. If you have a tidbit, send it along to tips@Deadspin.com. Today: Portgual! And for World Cup previews that are even better than ours, check out That's On Point, who helped us with these as well.
• 1. Meet Portugal. It fashions itself as Brazil junior, with the one-name players, the flashy 1-v-1 skills, the language, etc. However, Portugual has never won a major tournament and lost (gasp!) to the USA, 3-2, in the opening game of the 2002 Cup. Even worse, they lost at home to Greece at Euro 2004.
• 2. Keep Your Eye On The Crowd. Singer Nelly Furtado, although born in Canada, has Portuguese/Azorean roots. She wrote the offical theme song for Euro 2004. But how about Luis Figo, who comes home to Swedish super-model Helena Svedinevery night?
• 3. Know Your Portugese Soccer Icons. Eusebio — born in Mozambique, the 'Black Pearl/Panther' was the first Portuguese star from their colonial African empire. He led Benefica to the 1962 European Cup over Real Madrid. In 1966 he led the World Cup with nine goals scored, earning him immediate enshirement in Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. He even took the cash and played a few seasons in the NASL in the late 1970s, taking the field for the immortal Boston Minutemen and Las Vegas Quicksilver.
• 4. You Make The Call. Who know's what this team can do? Witness: In qualification they blew a 2-0 lead to draw mighty Liechtenstein (the first ever points for the country), causing Lisbon newspapers to call the Selecao "Europe's Laughingstock." Days later Portugal hammered Russia 7-1, en route to scoring 35 goals in qualifying.
(Tomorrow: Saudi Arabia)