An experienced Portuguese midfield will be given a shot of life this summer in the form of Sporting Lisbon's outstanding prospect William Carvalho.
Although Cristiano Ronaldo's astonishing hat-trick against Sweden in the qualifying play-offs did little to allay the tired cliche that Portugal are a one-man team, one of the players who starts behind him in Brazil should catch the eye in a compelling manner of his own.
Willliam Carvalho is a powerhouse of a defensive midfielder who seems certain to move on from current club Sporting Lisbon during after the World Cup - with Manchester United, Liverpool, Inter Milan and Monaco among those heavily linked.
The 22 year-old's strapping 6ft 1in frame is advantageous in itself, but more noteworthy is the way in which he uses it - shielding the ball cleverly to give simple passes in midfield and set his team in motion from deep, while proving a robust and decisive figure in the tackle, too. Carvalho's anticipation when out of possession invariably puts him in the right place to make a telling intervention, and his pace over a distance is such that he works as an effective attacking force too, bringing the ball upfield and brushing opponents aside.
A force for the Under-21s, Carvalho - who has been with Sporting since the age of 13 - made his full international debut in that Ronaldo masterclass in Stockholm and has started their two subsequent games, friendlies against Cameroon and Greece. It seems likely that he will take his place in Paolo Bento's side in their first World Cup game, a showdown with Germany - completing a remarkable year for the Angola-born man.
After a brilliant season with Sporting, in which he made a first-tea place his own following a loan spell with Belgian side Cercle Brugge, it seemed implausible that he would miss out on Bento's final 23, but the player himself admitted to some surprise.
"It was very good news; I was not expect to be summoned, despite knowing it had a chance of being true," he said.
"I dreamed that someday I would be a player of the national team and with the good work done throughout the season, it became easier."
If World Cup football proves easy for Carvalho, expect the chances of him following the path that Ronaldo himself took between Sporting and Old Trafford to increase dramatically.