Portugal Grind Out for Draw


Bosnia 0-0 Portugal

The Portuguese National team is one step closer to qualifying for Euro 2012 after a hard-fought 0-0 draw in Bosnia on Friday. The team will now rally for a victory on Tuesday in Lisbon, on a much better pitch than the one used on Friday. Concerns had been raised about the quality of the Bosnian field, and those concerns were certainly valid, as the pitch played a role, albeit minor, in the outcome of the match.

The game started in Portugal’s favor after Raul Meireles connected with his volley, only for the Bosnian goalkeeper to punch away at the near post. The team was relying mainly on aerial passes, most likely due to the state of the playing surface, and their strategy was winning them chances. Coentrao sent in a lofted ball, which found Joao Moutinho, whose clever header teed-up Helder Postiga for a volley, which he rocketed over. Ronaldo then spurned two good chances, once with a blocked right-foot shot, and the other a free-kick that sailed over the goal. Overall, the first half was one way traffic as Portugal looked the more likely to break the deadlock.

In the second half, however, Bosnia began to flex their muscles. The home team had a number of chances to open the scoring, and would have, if it were not for the excellent Pepe and Bruno Alves. The center-backs were immense during the entire match, especially during the second half. Portugal had their own set of chances in the second half, with none of them amounting to anything. The pitch had much to do with the low scoreline, as it hindered many a shot.

Man of the match: Pepe

Crutch of the match: Joao Moutinho

Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Fabio Coentrao, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Raul Meireles(Ruben Micael), Joao Moutinho, Miguel Veloso, Nani, Ronaldo, Helder Postiga(Hugo Almeida)

Squad for Bosnia Clash Announced


Paulo Bento has named a squad of 23 for Portugal’s upcoming Euro 2012 playoff matches against Bosnia. The Seleccao will play against Bosnia once at home and once away. Many are wary of the threat that Bosnia poses due to their players such as Dzeko and Pjanic, players that Portugal will certainly have to keep a tight reign on. Notable inclusions in this squad are the return of Pepe, Fabio Coentrao, and Danny, who were all injured for Portugal’s last two qualifiers. Here’s the full list:

Goalkeepers: Eduardo, Beto, Rui Patrício
Defense: Bruno Alves, Fábio Coentrão, Sereno, João Pereira, Pepe, Rolando, Sílvio
Midfielders: Carlos Martins, João Moutinho, Miguel Veloso, Raul Meireles, Rúben Amorim, Rúben Micael
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Danny, Hugo Almeida, Hélder Postiga, Nani, Nuno Gomes, Ricardo Quaresma

Coentrao Opens Portugal Account


Fabio Coentrao was the man of the match in yesterday’s match between Portugal and Luxembourg. Portugal ran out easy winners, with Ronaldo, Helder Postiga, Hugo Almeida, and Fabio Coentrao all grabbing goals in the 5-0 win. Portugal began the match well, taking the lead through Helder Postiga. Ronaldo went down in the box, but the referee played advantage, allowing Helder Postiga to score a delightful left-footed lob. Soon after, Ronaldo doubled Portugal’s lead with a lucky, yet skillful free kick that went through the wall. That’s how the first half ended. The second half started eventfully. Ruben Micael passed to Joao Pereira, who hit a pinpoint cross right onto Coentrao’s head. Coentrao’s goal was his first for Portugal. He fully deserved the goal as he was one of Portugal’s finest performers of the night. Just over ten minutes later, Hugo Almeida scored one of the most creative goals of his career, and certainly one of the finest Portugal has seen for some time. Almeida controlled the ball on his thigh before unleashing a one-time volley off his left foot, that almost seemed to break the net. Almeida added his second and Portugal’s fourth soon after, converting Nani’s cross to finish the game at 5-0.

 

Coentrao to Real Madrid?


According to reports coming out of Spain, Benfica and Real Madrid have come to agreement for the sale of Fabio Coentrao to Real Madrid this summer. Evidently, Benfica will reject all other offers for the winger. In return, Real will pay Benfica 30 million euros for the player. Just Monday, Liverpool were said to be close to sealing a move for Coentrao, but now, it looks as if Real Madrid have stepped in front of them. Coentrao was one of the Seleccao’s stand-out performers at this past summer’s World Cup, and has since attracted the interest from Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona, and Real Madrid, just to name a few.

 

Veloso, Machado Added; Coentrao, Varela Dropped


Due to an injury picked up during training, Paulo Bento has announced that Fabio Coentrao will not feature for the Seleccao during Wednesday’s friendly match against Spain. This comes as a blow for the team, as Coentrao was a live-wire at left-back. He is a hard player to replace. Genoa midfielder Miguel Veloso, who can also play at left-back, was called in to replace the Benfica man. Elsewhere, Paulo Machado was also added to the squad. Bento gave no reasons for his belated inclusion, but it is thought that he was brought in to strengthen a depleted midfield. Also, Silvestre Varela was dropped from the team due to injury. A replacement player has not been announced. Portugal face Spain in Portugal on Wednesday the 17th of November.

Transfer News – 11/7/10


News keeps pouring in from across Portugal regarding transfer rumors for the next transfer window. Here’s the latest:

Hugo Almeida1. Valencia Negotiating with Almeida

Werder Bremen striker Hugo Almeida is apparently in negotiations with Valencia over a proposed transfer to the Mestalla this January. Almeida, whose contract expires in January, is the ideal target for the Spanish club, who is in need of strikers. Valencia officials hope to get Almeida on a free transfer.

2. Coentrao Watched by Barcelona

Let’s see…First Bayern, then Liverpool, then Chelsea, then A.C. Milan, now Barcelona. It’s no wonder that these big clubs are following the winger given his performances for Benfica and Portugal. Just think… A year and a half ago, Coentrao was a doubt to even make the Benfica first team. Now, he is a starter for the Portuguese National Team and one of Benfica’s key players. Coentrao, however, is not prepared to leave.

3. Joao Ribeiro Courted by Fulham, CSKA

Vitoria Guimaraes midfielder Joao Ribeiro, who was recently called up to the National Team, is on Fulham’s wish-list. Ribeiro has been in top form for Guimaraes, and it has apparently not gone unnoticed. The midfielder is thought to be valued at around 4.5 million euros, a price that Fulham is willing to pay. Ribeiro was bought for free from Academica this summer, so a 4.5 million dollar profit doesn’t sound too bad, does it? CSKA is also apparently chasing the 22 year-old. No more information on that bit, unfortunately.

 

Transfer Rumors – 10/26/10


As the winter transfer window nears, the rumors have started to heat up. Here’s the latest:

Bruma Still Being Tracked

16-year-old Portuguese starlet, Bruma, is reportedly still being tracked by Manchester City and Chelsea. Already a regular for the Portuguese Under-19 Team, Bruma has made a name for himself as the next of the talented youngsters to come out of the academy. After signing a pro-contract last week, interest in the player was thought to be diminished, but Tottenham has now joined Chelsea and City in the race for his signature.

Liverpool Watching Coentrao

English giant Liverpool are reportedly tracking Benfica winger Fabio Coentrao. Coentrao was of the few players who actually impressed for the Seleccao at last summer’s World Cup. Since then, he has become a regular for both the Portuguese National Team, and Benfica. Coentrao would be the second Portuguese at the club, after Raul Meireles. Would he be joining a “sinking ship?”

Juventus and City Tabling Bids

Sporting captain Daniel Carrico is currently being tracked quite closely by Manchester City and Italian giants, Juventus. Carrico has been tracked for some time now by top clubs, most recently by Spartak Moscow, but has pledged his future to the club. Delneri, the Juventus coach, spoke of Carrico, saying: “Carriço is a fantastic player with great potential, which we followed for some time. Juventus is always attentive to the great values that stand in world football and a player Carriço is very interesting, still relatively young”

Portugal Push Aside Iceland


Portugal made it two wins from two for Paulo Bento. Goals from Ronaldo, Raul Meireles, and Helder Postiga gave the visitors a comfortable 3-1 victory over minnows Iceland. The Seleccao put in another assured performance, with Ronaldo, Meireles, and Moutinho at the heart of most of it. Ronaldo put the visitors ahead with one of his trademark free-kicks. I believe it was the first free-kick goal he has scored for Portugal. Nevertheless, it was quite spectacular. After the goal, Portugal continued to dominate, most notably with Hugo Almeida shooting wide. Soon after, some nervous hand from Eduardo let Helguson’s shot in, but that was about the extent of Iceland’s attacking all night. Portugal then made it 2-1 when Raul Meireles picked up a poor clearance from an Icelandic player and smashed the ball into the back of the net. His thunderous drive is a thing to behold. I suggest Youtube-ing it. Substitute Helder Postiga, who is new to the Portugal setup after a two year absence, picked up Portugal’s third after he pounced on a rebound from the Icelandic keeper.

What we learned from this game: 1. Meireles is in great form for Portugal at the moment. 2. Paulo Bento knows what he is doing. 3. Ronaldo is finally being used to his fullest, no doubt because Bento is smart.,

Eduardo, Pereira, Carvalho, Pepe, Coentrao, Meireles, Nani (Danny), Carlos Martins (Tiago), Joao Moutinho, Ronaldo, Hugo Almeida (Postiga)

Portuguese Transfer Rumors – 10/12/10


Despite it being quite far away from any transfer window, the rumors are still heating up. So, here are the major stories:

1. Ruben Pinto Tracked by Arsenal

The Portuguese Under-19 captain is currently being tracked by Premier League giants Arsenal. Pinto, who models his style of play after Rui Costa, has recently turned down other offers to the Premier League. He has, however, a contract tying him down to Benfica until 2012, so a move probably won’t be likely. Ruben has fancied a move to the Premier League for some time now, and with his heroics against Spain in this last Euro U-19 tournament, maybe that move can finally happen.

2. Milan Keeping Tabs on Coentrao and Periera

Italian giants A.C. Milan are allegedly watching Portuguese National Team fullbacks Joao Pereira and Fabio Coentrao. Coentrao was a bright spot in Portugal’s muddy World Cup campaign, and has since become a vital player for Benfica. He currently is tied to Benfica with a release clause of 30 million pounds. Joao Pereira moved from Braga to Sporting Lisbon earlier this year, and has since impressed enough to earn a call-up to the National Team.

3. Juventus in Miguel Veloso Swap Deal

Juventus are supposedly making a deal with Genoa for the trade of Sissoko and Miguel Veloso. The deal would see Miguel Veloso leave Genoa, who he joined in the summer, and meet up with Juventus, who was tracking him earlier this year. I do not foresee this move happening.

4. Pedro Marques to Make Portugal Switch

Real Madrid C midfielder Pedro Marques is reportedly being watched by Olhanense. Olhanense are currently third in the Liga Zon Sagres, having enjoyed an impressive start to their second consecutive season in the Portuguese top-flight. Marques has been playing in Spain for some time now, but it has been speculated that Olhanense want his services.

5. Chelsea Want Pepe in 2012

Following Pepe’s statement that he plans to leave Real Madrid in 2012 whan his contract is up, Chelsea have come out and said that they want him for free in 2012. Pepe has been rock-solid in his partnership with Ricardo Carvalho not only at Real Madrid, but also for the Seleccao.