By the end of this week, Portugal will have qualified for the final of the World Championships in Russia, a feat that has eluded them in their bid for a fourth consecutive crown.
But in a race against time, the Portuguese are also set to face an uphill battle, as a number of key factors could prove decisive in the outcome.
Ahead of Sunday’s match against Brazil, we look at what’s at stake in the race for the 2018 World Cup, and how the Portuguese can take advantage of it.
Predicting the final Portugal vs. Brazil is a huge game for all involved.
Portugal have all the ingredients to beat Brazil, but are not expected to be quite as successful as their team of the tournament rivals.
Brazil are in a great position to beat Portugal, having already won three World Cups, including in the last eight years.
Brazil were crowned the best team in world football in the 2018 edition of the FIFA World Rankings, while Portugal finished fourth, a place they had never previously held.
But, given the current form of Portugal’s squad, the chance to go all the way to Russia, and potentially take home a trophy for their country, could be very much on the cards.
The World Cup in Russia is the biggest tournament in the world, and one of the biggest ever held.
It has produced a wealth of talent from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Ney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Samuel Eto’o and many others.
But it has also seen Portugal suffer an awful lot of losses, most notably to the likes and loathing of former manager Guus Hiddink, and now coach Antonio Conte.
The team were also beaten by the Netherlands in the first round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
This is the team that Portugal hope to face in Russia.
Possible opponents for Portugal: The Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Italy, the United States, Brazil and France.
Team strength: Portugal will be bolstered by the presence of former Liverpool and Barcelona defender Lucas Moura, who is a major asset for the squad.
The 26-year-old is likely to be an attacking player, and is an excellent passer of the ball.
But he has also struggled with his physicality in recent years, which has limited his performances, as he has struggled to find consistency in his game.
He has been a frequent target of criticism during his time at Liverpool, and was sacked by the club in 2014.
The Portugal captain, Ronaldo, is also a highly sought-after signing for the team, as the likes he brings to the pitch can only help the team.
Portugal’s most dangerous striker is former Chelsea striker Edinson Cavani, who was a key part of the side that won the Champions League last season.
Players to watch: Cristiano has already started the World Cups finals for Portugal, but he has only played in the final twice.
He was in the starting line-up for the Confederations Cup last summer, but was forced off after a hamstring injury.
It remains to be seen if the Portugal captain can return to form in the Champions Cup, where he scored two goals and helped Portugal win the trophy.
A new challenge awaits Portugal, however, as Conte will be hoping that he can make a difference in the World Championship.
The Portuguese side have been on the back foot in the tournament so far, losing their first two matches.
Conte has been on a winning streak, with his side currently unbeaten in the group stages of the competition, and are expected to beat Germany and Brazil in the quarter-finals.
But if Conte’s side cannot replicate their record in Russia this week and qualify for the quarter final, they will find it extremely difficult to overcome a strong Brazil side.
The World Cups will be Portugal’s first tournament since 2012, and a new era is about to begin.
The players who have made the team are all in their 30s, and the Brazilian squad will be one of their biggest challenges yet.
The squad has struggled with injuries throughout the tournament, and Conte knows he has to find a way to stop the bleeding.
If Portugal can overcome Brazil, they could potentially be a force to be reckoned with in Russia as they have so far.