Don't rule out Ronaldo for one Major push
At 31, Ronaldo still has plenty to offer to the Portuguese cause at Euro 2016
(Luis Nani 20, Cristiano Ronaldo 40)
(Romelu Lukaku 62)
Amid the talk of Euro 2016 belonging to a golden generation, Portugal's golden oldies stand defiant.
Belgium may head into this summer's Finals in France with everything to prove, as the world's highest-ranked country, but Cristiano Ronaldo's men will be on a similarly arduous mission if their 2-1 victory yesterday morning (Singapore time) was a reliable indicator.
The Real Madrid talisman requires little additional motivation as he prepares to lead his country into battle, against Iceland, at Saint-Etienne's Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on June 14.
Flanked by the iconic pair of Luis Figo and Rui Costa, as well as a burgeoning crop of talent that included the likes of Deco and Simao Sabrosa, Ronaldo was once the poster boy of Portugal's own golden generation.
His tear-stained face was the enduring image of Euro 2004.
At 19, in his maiden international tournament, the future Ballon d'Or winner cut a distraught figure on the Estadio da Luz pitch as Greece emerged as unlikely victors in their opponents' backyard.
Just as the 1998 World Cup proved for France's "rainbow warriors" and 1966 for England's homegrown heroes, 2004 was supposed to be his country's time.
But it was never to be.
Figo and Costa slipped into retirement while Simao and company faded into obscurity, leaving Ronaldo to assume the mantle as Portugal's last cavalier.
A previously scoreless run of four games for his country seemed almost unbecoming of a player who has tasted success with virtually every major honour on offer and beat Pauleta's record as the country's all-time scorer.
Ronaldo's star quality, however, cannot mask the ravages of time on a physique that has battled and, at times, outshone the elite among club and international football alike.
EYE FOR GOAL
Opportunity has regularly presented itself during his goal drought, not least with a penalty against Bulgaria last week, but the former Manchester United man has refused to answer its knock.
At Leiria's Estadio Dr Magalhaes Pessoa - a stadium purpose-built for Euro 2004 - he finally stepped up to the plate again; showcasing a repertoire of mesmerising skills and an eye for goal that should have yielded far more than a free header past Thibaut Courtois.
Even at 31, Ronaldo still has plenty to offer to the Portuguese cause.
He is not alone just as Luis Nani, his former United teammate and fellow scorer yesterday morning, and numerous elder statesman still plying their trade on the international stage continue to attest.
Only Ronaldo and Ricardo Carvalho have survived from that crushing final defeat by Greece 12 years ago, but Fernando Santos continues to retain the faith with his country's old guard.
Upheaval has been an undeniable factor, with Santos parachuted in after Paulo Bento was ruthlessly dismissed just four days on from presiding over a solitary defeat, by Albania, in the group.
It was that watershed moment which spurred them on to coast their qualification for Euro 2016 with a comfortable seven-point margin over their closest competitors.
This summer's Finals in France represents one last shot at bounty and possibly their easiest.
Only the tournament's hosts have a potentially less challenging group to negotiate in the opening stages and, as two-time winners, will be increasingly buoyed.
But Portugal also have form in European Championship, ever-present at the last eight stage of each tournament since 1996.
They took Spain's all-conquering side to the wire in a semi-final penalty shoot-out just four years ago.
With Ronaldo still capable of such mesmerising performances, even against an admittedly depleted Belgium side, an evergreen Portugal can never be understated.