With the International break on as Portugal was set to play Albania in Group I Qualifying there was a lot of interesting stories to read. So here is a review of what hit the headlines this week in Portuguese Football:
Portuguese National Futebol Team
Portugal had a lot to prove after an early exit from the World Cup and looked to right the ship in the opening game of Group I qualification for the Euro Championships. Unfortunately Paulo Bento with a lot of fresh faces ran out the same formation and tactics that have failed to inspire the National team against the lesser lights of Europe, and once again tripped over his own stubbornness in an embarrassing 0-1 loss to Albania at home in Aveiro. This Ugly display had the fans in attendance waiving their white handkerchiefs calling for Bento’s dismissal and left the position of coach untenable.
Headings such as: Fans Boo Lame Portugal, Portugal in Embarrassing Defeat, and EMBARRASSMENT: Portugal’s papers tear into their national team were at every turn, as fans were in shock and horrified by the poor result. The FPF too could not escape the fan and media barrage of hate filled grenades and after a few days of constant fire, finally relented by relieving Paulo Bento of his duties as Portuguese National Team Coach.
The FPF should carry a significant amount of blame in this whole mess, as their policy of only hiring Portuguese speaking Managers (so they can have an ear) restricts the management talent pool on offer, and could potentially rob Portuguese fans of some major hardware. Like the broken record that the chiefs of the Federation are the speculation has turned to Vitor Pereira, Fernando Santos, and possibly Jesualdo Ferreira taking over as coach. Most would find any of those gentlemen uninspiring as new Supreme Leader. SARCASTIC NOTE: If the FPF was as Gung Ho on forcing this Portuguese Speaking mandate on their club managers, with a lot more national players starting at the likes of Benfica and Porto, maybe it wouldn’t matter how incompetent they were at hiring coaches, as the talent pool would 3 times as deep.
News is still conflicted about what actually transpired, some reports claim Bento stepped down, other reports claim he was sacked, in the end the fans finally got what they wanted after a couple uninspiring qualifying campaigns. So the Game of Thrones continues with Bento acting as Tywin Lannister (without a plan) being executed, and the FPF as the sleazy Littlefinger (murderous whore-monger) who torments its dedicated fans on a never-ending basis (To Be Continued). In the end it always turns out more like a bad episode of Dr. Phil where a fat bald headed guy (the FPF) tells you they know better with some uninspiring talk in a monotone voice.
In better news the U21’s finished on a high, beating their opponents Azerbaijan in their final game of Euro qualification going undefeated. So the future looks bright at least for now.
Quiet week in the Headlines at Porto: Danilo praised his new Head Coach, Alex Sandro and Casemiro happy with the teams start and direction in some Porto headings. Also, UEFA did a preview of the Porto vs BATE match.
Sporting was once again busy in the headlines with Bruno de Carvalho talking third party ownership, and also sitting down with both Arsenal & Manchester United in transfer talks about Europe’s hottest defensive midfielder. This was while attending Soccerex in Manchester and giving a seminar titled ‘How to run a successful football club.’ Pretty ballsy for a President who has only started to right the Sporting ship that Godinho Lopes sank, but so far we can’t disagree that he has done a great job in the short-term.
UEFA previewed the SCP game vs Maribor and there are high hopes for the Lions to go far in this group.
SLB was also in the news a lot this week, looking to fill the huge void that Oscar Cardozo left up front, free agent Striker Jonas from Valencia wisely chose Benfica over Tottenham. Bryan Cristante kept popping up in the headlines again this week after he transferred from AC Milan to Benfica, some call it a moment of darkness in Italy. Can’t blame the kid he wanted to move to a higher ranked Euro team and a higher ranked Liga. Clearly Jara is not only having troubles scoring on the pitch for Benfica, but even off the pitch he is hitting the post (and tree), we can all joke about it as he came out unscathed in the incident, just as recent goalkeepers he has opposed have.
Fortunately for Benfica goals were not an issue as much maligned Talisca fired 3 goals past Setubal in a Vitoria on Friday (excuse the play on words). Even Ola John got out of Jesus’ doghouse long enough to get in on the action and also scored.
UEFA previewed Benfica vs Zenit
in the next Champions League Round just to balance out the UEFA Previews.
Let us round-up this week’s Highs and Lows of Portuguese Football:
- Bento Dismissed
- Benfica Crushes
- Many New Faces in Portugal Squad
- U21’s on Fire
- BdC Taking care of Business
- Porto Praised
- Losing to Albania (Embarrassment)
- FPF Continued Bungling of Coaching Mess
- Third Party Ownership (Needs to be Terminated)
- Policy limiting National Team Coach to only Portuguese Speakers?
- Jara Crash (all kidding aside no one wants to see a player hurt off the pitch)
Once again another interesting week in the Headlines for Portuguese Football, follow us on twitter as we post links to late breaking news regularly.