Scotland may not have qualified for the World Cup but there will be a few players from Scottish Premiership clubs involved in the tournament.
Image source: Roger Gorączniak via Wikimedia Commons
SPFL World Cup stars
Celtic have Dedryck Boyata (Belgium), Cristian Gamboa (Costa Rica), Tom Rogic (Australia) and Mikael Lustig (Sweden) all taking part in Russia, while Aberdeen will be represented by defender Kari Arnason, who is part of the Iceland squad. Of those, only Boyata has a realistic chance of going all the way, with Belgium.
Another player who does stand a good chance of coming home with a winner’s medal is Rangers’ own Portuguese defender Bruno Alves. The 36-year-old centre-back already has a European Championship medal to his name as well as over a dozen honours at club level.
Portugal opened their World Cup campaign with a thrilling 3-3 draw against Iberian rivals Spain, which shortened their price a fraction in the betting markets. It is a massive month for bookmakers, with an influx of wagers and host of World Cup betting promotions on offer, and there will be plenty of punters hoping Cristiano Ronaldo can inspire his nation to the title.
Veteran ready for action
Alves might not get much, or any, game time, but he will be ready to take his chance if it comes. He played in three of their qualifying games and featured in two friendlies earlier this year but remains down the pecking order in the current squad. He only needs four more appearances to reach 100 caps.
Four years ago, Portugal exited at the group stage after finishing behind Germany and USA in Group G. Cristiano Ronaldo managed just a single goal in that tournament and Portugal only won one of their three games (vs. Ghana).
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Portugal's patchy World Cup record
Their best ever performance at a World Cup came on their tournament debut in England in 1966 when Eusebio starred on their way to a third-place finish. They beat Brazil, Bulgaria, Hungary and North Korea before falling 2-1 to England in the semi-finals. England famously went on to win the tournament, beating West Germany in the final.
Between 1966 and 2002, Portugal only played at one World Cup (Mexico 1986) and exited at the group stage.
Alves’ career began at Porto where he spent eight years in the senior squad winning four league titles and five domestic cups. He later played for Zenit Saint Petersburg and Fenerbache, winning league titles and domestic cups with both clubs, and spent a season at Cagliari in Italy before joining Rangers in 2017.
The defender will hope to join the exclusive list of ex-Rangers players who have been awarded World Cup winners medals. Stephane Guivarch and Lionel Charbonnier were both part of the France squad that won in 1998 while Gennaro Gattuso picked up his medal in 2006 playing for Italy. Others that came close were Claudio Caniggia (Argentina 1990) and Giovanni Van Bronckhorst (Holland 2010) who both finished as runners-up.