Portugal Blow Away Cyprus

Euro 2012 Qualification Group H

Cyprus 0-4 Portugal

Portugal look to be on the right track in Euro 2012 qualification after a comprehensive 4-0 win over “minnows” Cyprus. Minnows is exactly what everyone thought they were this time last year, before the two teams met. That game ended 4-4, much to the surprise of everyone. Now, with a new (and much better) coach, we waltzed to a comfortable 4-0 victory. The game started off well, with Joao Pereira and Pepe coming close just minutes after the game commenced. The deadlock was broken on 34 minutes, when a Cyprus defender handled the ball in the area. The referee awarded a penalty, which Ronaldo slotted away with ease. The two teams soon after went into the locker rooms at half time, with the score at a comfortable 1-0 for Portugal. The Portuguese came out in the second half slightly on the backfoot, with Cyprus looking stronger. Portugal silenced any whispers of a Cyprus comeback when Ronaldo played a one-two with Nani, juked out a defender, and finished strongly with his left foot to make it 2-0. That goal is Ronaldo’s sixth under coach Paulo Bento’s one-year reign to date, as compared to just two he scored in the two-year Carlos Quieroz era. Just a couple minutes later, Portugal scored again, this time through Hugo Almeida. Ronaldo broke free on the left and cut the ball back for Almeida, who finish was as simple as they come. But the scoring didn’t end there. Portugal added to Cyprus’s misery once more when Danny broke free on the left, out-muscled a defender, and slotted the ball away coolly to make the final score 4-0.

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


Player Ratings: Portugal 4-4 Cyprus

One of the biggest upsets ever in European Championship history happened on Friday and, of course, Portugal were at the wrong end of it. Here’s how the individuals stacked up.

Eduardo– 5.5 -Not the strongest performance by the Genoa shot-stopper. Although he let in four goals, not all of them were his fault. Should have done better with Cyprus’s first.

Bruno Alves– 5.5-The Zenit man had some good tackles, but overall was uncharacteristically sleepy at times.

Ricardo Carvalho– 6.5 -I would have given the center-back a higher rating if it wasn’t for him letting in four goals. He wore the armband with distinction, constantly making crucial tackles and smartly venturing forward.

Miguel– 4 -The Valencia full-back lacked inspiration when he had the ball. Was completely at fault for Cyprus’s first after blatantly failing to mark Anoleftis. Not a good game from him, which we have kind-of gotten used to.

Fabio Coentrao– 6 -Was solid enough at the back. He ventured forward smartly like usual, and was rewarded with some opportunities.

Manuel Fernandes– 7 -Brought a certain amount of energy to the Seleccao, which was desperately needed. You could tell that when he got the ball, he was looking for an opening. Capped off a great performance with an even better goal.

Raul Meireles– 6 -The Liverpool midfielder’s mistake gave the hosts a goal, but he soon made up for it with a vicious left-foot drive. Overall, a mediocre performance.

Danny– 5 -He just hasn’t lived up to his heroics from the pre-World Cup games. Scored a goal, but overall, did not have a good game.

Nani– 8 -The Manchester United winger has grown into an exquisite player capable of the unexpected, and that’s exactly what he showed us. Provided the cross for Hugo Almeida’s opener. Man-of-the-match for me.

Quaresma– 8 -Had a quiet first-half, but absolutely exploded in the second half. Folks, he’s back and he’s better than ever. Quaresma proved that he is capable of dribbling through anything and anyone. He has also learned how to use his left foot.

Hugo Almeida– 7 -Couldn’t do much, but the chances he got, he made the most of. Scored a deft header, and almost scored a cheeky back-heel after some magic from Quaresma. Has pretty much cemented his place in the starting eleven for Portugal, in my opinion.

Moutinho– 6 -Didn’t do much, but it is nice to see Moutinho in possession again for Portugal

Liedson– 7 -Showed the caliber of player he is after he controlled a cross in the second-half, turned, and shot into the post.

Yannick– N/A -Late debut for the Sporting forward.

Ronaldo Out, Quaresma In; Varela Questionable

Quaresma will replace the injured Cristiano Ronaldo for the Seleccao’s upcoming Euro 2012 qualification matches. Portugal will face Cyprus first (at home), then Norway (away), and they will have to do it without their captain. Quaresma, who was one of the three reserves, has been called into action to replace the injured captain. Ronaldo was injured in Real Madrid’s 0-0 draw against Mallorca in the Spanish League on Sunday and is expected to be out for up to three weeks. Meanwhile, Silvestre Varela was withdrawn from the Porto-Rio Ave game due to an injury. The Porto medical staff says that they’re still assessing the extent of his injury. In the event that he is withdrawn from the squad, Paulo Machado will be his replacement.

Nuno Coelho and Silvio Receive Call-Ups

The Portugal squad for their upcoming Euro 2012 qualification match on September 3rd has been released, and Nuno Coelho and Silvio both have the opportunity to make their international debut. Nuno Andre Coelho came as somewhat of a surprise, but Silvio’s call-up was expected and well worth it after scoring a spectacular long-range goal for Braga. Manuel Fernandes, who hasn’t featured for the Seleccao since 2008, also recieved a call-up. 20 players were called up, instead of the usual 23. THis is due to UEFA’s new rule only allowing 20 to be called up, with an additional three “stand-by” atheletes. I may be wrong, but that is what I could understand. Here’s the full list:

Atletico Madrid – Tiago
FC Porto – Beto, Rolando, Joao Moutinho, Varela
Genoa –  Eduardo, Miguel Veloso
Liverpool – Raul Meireles
Manchester United – Nani
Real Madrid – Ricardo Carvalho, Cristiano Ronaldo
Sporting CP – Nuno André Coelho, Liedson
SL Benfica – Fábio Coentrão
SC Braga – Silvio
Valencia – Miguel, Manuel Fernandes
Werder Bremen – Hugo Almeida
Zenit St Petersburg – Bruno Alves, Danny

Stand-by Players:

Besiktas – Ricardo Quaresma
Sporting – Rui Patricio
Toulouse – Paulo Machado

Dates Set for Euro 2012 Qualification

Uefa released today the schedule for the qualification matches for Euro 2012. Portugal were earlier drawn with Iceland, Denmark, Cyprus, and Norway. Here is the Seleccao’s schedule:

3 September 2010
7 September 2010
8 October 2010
12 October 2010
4 June 2011
2 September 2011
7 October 2011
11 October 2011

Portugal Given Simple Euro 2012 Qualifying Group

It looks as if Portugal will have an easy go at it for qualification for Euro 2012…..of course, thats what we thought abouth WC 2010 qualification. Portugal are in Group H with Denmark, Norway, Cyprus, and Iceland. Our biggest opponent in the group will certainly be Denmark, who we lost once and tied once during WC 2010 qualification. The next hardest will probably end up being Norway. The last time we met Norway was in 2003(in a friendly match), here we beat them 1-0, thanks to a Pauleta goal. I forsee our next opponent, Cyprus, as being tricky. Cyprus narrowly lost to Italy two times during WC 2010 qualification. What Cyprus has is a strong attack, but a leaky defense. Next is Iceland. What can I say. They’re the Malta of this group.

I think (and hope) that Portugal will not take this group lightly, because if we do again, then we might not be making an appearance in Euro 2012.