Portugal Defeats Iceland in Goalfest


Portugal 5-3 Iceland

Portugal have raised the eyebrows of many with their slightly unconvincing 5-3 victory over Group H minnows Iceland. The game started off perfectly for Portugal when they took the lead through Nani. A corner was taken short to Eliseu (who was the starting left-back), who hit in a low cross, which Nani deftly got his head to and redirected the ball past the Icelandic keeper. Nani then doubled his tally and Portugal’s lead when he pounced on a very poor clearance from an Icelandic defender and tapped the ball past the onrushing keeper. Portugal appeared to be cruising by this point. The team was hassling their opponents and causing them to make mistakes. Portugal looked to run away with the game. That theory was strengthened when Helder Postiga added Portugal’s third of the night after he connected with a pinpoint Bruno Alves cross. That is how the half ended: 3-0. Portugal’s complete domination was no surprise, and many were looking forwad to more goals in the second half. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what they got.

The second half started off very well when Cristiano Ronaldo’s shot cannoned off the crossbar. Many interpreted this as a sign of what was to come. Iceland pulled a goal back soon after the restart, when Jonassen headed past Rui Patricio. The goal was largely a product of Rolando’s poor defensive work, which was also the problem when Iceland socred again. A corner was whipped in for Iceland, and Jonassen was there again, this time at the near post, to poke the ball into the net. With a 3-2 scoreline a bit too worrying, Portugal put their gear into hyper-drive. Eliseu raced down the left flank excellently and cut the ball back for Joao Moutinho, whose one touch shot hit the back of the net. That goal was only Moutinho’s second goal for the Seleccao, despite being an undisputed starter in the team for some time. Portugal didn’t stop there, however. Eliseu opened his account for Portugal and made the scoreline 5-2 when he scored the goal of the match. Eliseu, a naturally left-footed player, curled his right-footed shot on the edge of the box past the Icelandic keeper to give Portugal some breathing room. But the scoring was not over. Rolando added to his disappointing display when he fouled Bjarnason in the box. Sigurdsson converted the penalty with ease to make the final score 5-3. Portugal will now face Denmark on Tuesday in their final Euro 2012 qualification match.

Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Bruno Alves, Rolando, Eliseu, Joao Moutinho, Carlos Martins(Ruben Micael), Raul Meireles(Miguel Veloso), Nani, Ronaldo, Helder Postiga(Nuno Gomes)

 

Man of the Match: Eliseu

Crutch of the Match: Rolando

 

 

Manuel Da Costa Double Sinks Zenit


Manuel Da Costa scored a brace in Lokomotiv Moscow’s 4-2 win over Zenit on Saturday. A Zenit side featuring Danny and Bruno Alves went into the locker room ahead 2-0 at the interval, but the game changed soon after. Obinna and Caicedo, both of whom were picked up in the off-season, scored to level the scores at 2-2. The scoreline didn’t stay that way for very long, however, as Manuel Da Costa leaped above Zenit’s goalkeeper to nod the ball into the net. Da Costa furthered Zenit’s pain when he smartly dove in for the header at the backpost from a corner kick. Such a comeback is rarely seen in football, especially against such a team as Zenit, and Manuel Da Costa will have to take some of the credit. Da Costa moved from recently-relegated West Ham to the Russian side this summer, and has since settled in just fine, as evidenced with his showing this weekend.

HIGHLIGHTS HERE

U-20 Bunch Brought in


Following their Euro 2013 qualifier on Thursday, Portuguese U-21 coach Rui Jorge made some changes to the squad that is set to take on France on September 5th. Mario Rui, Nuno Reis, Julio Alves, David Simao, Caetano, Salvador Agra have all been called up in place of Ivo Pinto, Vitor Bastos, Andre Almeida, Diogo Viana, Ricardo Martins, and Abel Camara. Of the players drafted into the squad, David Simao is the only one who has any sort of experience with the U-21 team. The remaining five are just off Portugal’s best display at a U-20 World Cup for a long time.

Official: Zaragoza Signs Meira


Fernando Meira has completed his move from Russian powerhouse Zenit to La Liga strugglers Real Zaragoza. Meira has found playing time very hard to come by at the Russian club, especially upon the arrival of compatriot Bruno Alves. Fernando had been linked with a number of clubs, most notably Juventus, but the moves never materialized. The central defender will now ply his trade in Spain as he attempts to end his career on a high note.

Tonel Does Not Expect Return


Dinamo Zagreb central defender, Tonel, recently spoke to Maisfutebol, saying that he does not see himself returning to the Portuguese National Team anytime soon. Tonel currently plays for Dinamo Zagreb, in Croatia, and thinks that Bruno Alves, Pepe, and Ricardo Carvalho are doing a great job. “I think it will be difficult to be called back because Portugal is well served by central (defenders). Ricardo Carvalho, Pepe and Bruno Alves have done their job well. If called upon I will be satisfied. If not, I’ll wring out,” he explained. Tonel also believes that the team will make it to Euro 2012. Tonel moved from Sporting Lisbon to Dinamo last August, and has since enjoyed his spell in Croatia, winning last season’s Croatian League.

Portuguese Settle For Draw


The Portuguese National Under-20 Team settled for a draw tonight against Uruguay. Both Portugal and Uruguay controlled the game from time to time and were, overall, even. Portugal showed more possession in the first half of play, but Uruguay stepped up their game in the second half and shackled Portugal’s play. Both teams came close at times, most notably when Sergio Oliveira hit the post with a marvelous free-kick, and when Uruguay’s captain, Diego Polenta, rattled the crossbar with a long-range effort.

Overall, Portugal played a defensive, possession-first game. The service to the forwards was not always the best, with Sana to be partially at fault. Danilo Pereira and Pele both excelled in their defensive midfield duties, but they would often leave Sana and Sergio Oliveira to do most of the creative attacking work in the midfield, due to their defensive approach. By far the most important aspect of the team was the defense. Nuno Reis and Roderick were water-tight, shutting down Uruguayan advances all night. The outside backs (Cedric and Luis Martins) were solid also.

Mika, Nuno Reis, Roderick, Luis Martins, Cedric, Pele (Julio Alves), Danilo Pereira, Sana (Tiago Ferreira), Sergio Oliveira, Nelson Oliveira, Rafael Lopes (Alex)

Player Ratings:

Mika: 7 : Benfica’s new signing certainly lived up to his reputation with an assured display. He always looked confident in his handling.

Nuno Reis: 7 : The pairing of Roderick and Reis complement each other well. The defense was one of Portugal’s strong-suits tonight, no doubt because of him.

Roderick: 7 : As stated above, Roderick performed well in his defensive duties, constantly breaking up plays. His range of passing was also a sight to behold.

Luis Martins: 6.5 : Martins had a solid game defensively, but I would have liked to see him attack more.

Cedric: 7 : Portugal’s number 8 had both a solid defensive and offensive game. His runs forward furthered Portugal’s attack and gave Uruguay headaches

Pele: 7 : Genoa’s new signing met all expectations. Pele is naturally a very gifted player, and it was shown tonight. He constantly got himself out of sticky situations using his skill. Along with Danilo Pereira, He anchored Portugal’s team and supplied the link between the defense and midfield.

Danilo Pereira: 7 : Much the same with Pele, Danilo fulfilled his role well, holding the midfield down with style. The only downside to his performance was his lack of attacking.

Sana: 6.5 : Virtually Portugal’s only creative midfielder, Sana was constantly on breakaways and feeding the forwards passes, only for them to make a mess of them. It must have been a frustrating night for him.

Sergio Oliveira: 6.5 : Apart from hitting the post in the second half, Porto’s midfielder didn’t do much. He hit many speculative shots, but could have helped Sana more in the midfield.

Nelson Oliveira: 6 : Overall, Nelson Oliveira did not play well. He did not play badly, but he just had a bad game. Missed an open opportunity when Sana put him through on goal in the second half,  but he missed his shot.

Rafael Lopes: 5 : A very dissappointing performance from the forward, who just couldn’t find his feet. The only thing he did was make Uruguay’s players angry. He was nowhere to be seen for large chunks of time in the game.

Substitutues:

Alex: 6.5 : The Santa Clara man came on for the ineffectual Rafael Lopes, and did better than his predecessor. He made some good passes and generally looked good on the ball. Would be a good replacement for Rafael Lopes in the coming games.

Julio Alves: 6 : Overall a very mediocre performance from Atletico Madrid’s new signing. Mind you, he did only have a handful of minutes at the end.

Tiago Ferreira: N/A : Not enough time on the field to give a rating.

Zaragoza Negotiating for Meira


Zenit central-defender, Fernando Meira, who has found playing time hard to come by lately at the Russian club, is currently negotiating with La Liga strugglers, Zaragoza. Meira currently plays alongside fellow Portuguese players, Bruno Alves and Danny, but has not enjoyed as much success as those two at the club. Zaragoza reportedly tried to sign Meira earlier in the season, to no avail. Now, a deal could be completed as early as later this week.

Carvalho to Captain Seleccao


Due to Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence because of injury, he will pass on the armband to Ricardo Carvalho. Carvalho has captained the Seleccao before, such as against Estonia in 2009, and it looks like he will again for Portugal’s upcoming two qualifying games. I personally do not agree with this choice. Bruno Alves shows worlds more leadership, but Carvalho has been with the Seleccao longer, which is most likely why this decision was made.

Queiroz Releases Starting Lineup Against Cape Verde


Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz has released the starting lineup for the Portuguese National Team, who play Cape Verde later today. Queiroz has raised some eyebrows with his selection of Miguel Veloso and Fabio Coentrao in the starting eleven. Miguel Veloso has enjoyed an above average season, even though Sporting were abysmal. Fabio Coentrao, however, has enjoyed a spectacular season with Benfica, playing a major role in their championship success, which is why Real Madrid are currently courting him.

Here’s the lineup:

Eduardo
Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho, Bruno Alves, Fabio Coentrao
Pedro Mendes, Miguel Veloso, Deco
Nani, Liedson, Cristiano Ronaldo

Queiroz Releases 24-man Squad


Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz released a 24-man squad for next month’s World Cup. Due to Pepe’s questionable fitness, Queiroz released a 24-man list instead of the official 23-man list, so that if Pepe is deemed unfit, he can drop him, or if Pepe turns out to be ready, Ze Castro or Ricardo Costa can be dropped. Surprise inclusions are Beto, Daniel Fernandes, Ze Castro, and Ricardo Costa. Moutinho was not included in the squad most likely due to his mediocre season.

Here’s the list:

Goalkeepers: Eduardo (Braga), Beto (FC Porto) Daniel Fernandes (Iraklis)

Defenders: Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea), Miguel (Valencia), Fabio Coentrao (Benfica), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Bruno Alves (FC Porto), Ricardo Costa (Lille), Rolando (FC Porto), Pepe (Real Madrid), Duda (Malaga) Ze Castro (Deportivo)

Midfielders: Tiago (Atletico Madrid), Deco (Chelsea), Raul Meireles (FC Porto), Miguel Veloso (Sporting), Pedro Mendes (Sporting), Danny (Zenit St Peterburg)

Wingers/Forwards: Simao Sabrosa (Atletico Madrid), Nani (Manchester United), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Liedson (Sporting), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen)

Queiroz also released a list of 6 reserves, just in case any of the players in the squad of 23 get injured. Rui Patricio, Joao Moutinho, Ruben Amorim, Manuel Fernandes, Eliseu and Makukula all have an outside chance of playing in the World Cup after being included in this list.