When Portugal won Euro 2016, they were greeted with lukewarm enthusiasm by the rest of Europe.
While the car horns honked all night long in Lisbon and fans waved flags, set off flares and danced in the streets from Porto down to Portimao, their rivals were largely nonplussed.
After three draws against Iceland, Austria and Hungary at the group stage – Portugal only made it to the knock-out rounds as one of the best third-ranked sides, don’t forget – few expected them to get past the round of 16, let alone all the way to the final.
Amazingly, their 2-0 victory over Wales in the semi-finals was the only game of the tournament which they won in 90 minutes, having beaten Croatia in extra time and Poland on penalties.
This meant that when they beat an excellent France side in the final with a daisy-cutter from Swansea misfit Eder, many felt that the best team lost.
Given France went on to win the World Cup two years later there may have been some truth in that, not that Portugal cared or that it took any of the shine off their triumph.
This time around, Portugal have greater strength and depth across the board, but, accordingly, expectations are different now. How well they manage the pressure of being defending champions could define whether or not they can repeat the success of four years ago.
Style of play
Portugal’s success at Euro 2016 was built on defensive solidity more than anything. Setting aside their wild 3-3 draw with Hungary in the group stage, they only conceded two goals from their other six games at the tournament.
He may be five years older but, at 38, Pepe is still at the heart of their defence, marshalling their back line in all his belligerent glory.
He now has a much more dynamic group of defenders around him, however, with Premier League Player of the Season Ruben Dias as his centre-back partner.
Dias’ Manchester City teammate Joao Cancelo was also due to travel to the Euros as first-choice right-back, but returned a positive coronavirus test, with Manchester United's Diogo Dalot called up in his place.
On the left side of defence, Portugal manager Fernando Santos has the luxury of choosing between Borussia Dortmund’s Raphael Guerreiro and Sporting’s Nuno Mendes. As well as having rock-solid centre-backs, he now has some of the most technically-gifted full-backs in Europe, even in Cancelo's absence.
Santos tends to go with a 4-2-3-1 formation and has an excellent selection of midfielders able to fill the deeper positions, with Wolves ’ Ruben Neves, Real Betis’ William Carvalho and Sporting’s Joao Palhinha jostling for the two starting spots.
It’s in attack that Portugal have been transformed, however. Where once it was impossible to escape the oppressive orbit of Cristiano Ronaldo, they now have a whole host of game-changers in Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Jota, Bernardo Silva and Joao Felix.
Already a national hero for winning Euro 2016, Santos cemented his legacy by leading Portugal to victory in the first edition of the UEFA Nations League.
Having taken the reins in 2014, his spell in charge of the national team has been the most successful in the country’s history.
Portugal are in a tough group alongside France, Germany and Hungary, but Santos has already shown that he has the tactical nous to get the better of top sides on big occasions.
Portugal had a relatively modest showing at Russia 2018, going out to Uruguay in the round of 16, so he will be keen to show that he still has the knack for hitting the high notes at major tournaments.
It would have been mandatory to say Ronaldo not so long ago but, after the season he’s just had with Manchester United, it’s hard to look past Fernandes.
Believe it or not, having been passed over for selection during his time in Italy with Novara, Udinese and Sampdoria, he only got his first full cap in November 2017 aged 23.
Fernandes is yet to burst into life on the international stage in the way he has done at club level, with four goals in 29 appearances for his country. Two of those came in Portugal’s last warm-up game against Israel.
Still, better late than never; Euro 2020 represents the perfect opportunity for him.
One to watch
He may no longer be a teenage prodigy but, aged 21, Felix is still Portugal’s rising star.
At the heart of the Atletico Madrid side which won La Liga last season, he comes into the tournament as a champion and will hope to leave much the same way.
With 10 goals and six assists in all competitions last term, he could be Santos’ greatest creative asset.
Able to play anywhere across the forward line, his versatility should allow him to push Jota, Silva and even Ronaldo for minutes.