Following three successive wins, the Portuguese Under-19 team has qualified for the Elite Qualification round for next summer’s UEFA U-19 European Championship. Led by rising stars such as Renato Sanches, Gil Dias, and Goncalo Guedes, the team qualified with relative ease, which shows just how strong Portugal’s youth system is at the moment. Should Portugal qualify for next summer’s tournament, it will be the fourth year in a row that the team has managed an appearance in the competition. That statistic is encouraging, and with players such as Marcos Lopes, Bernardo Silva, Andre Gomes, Joao Mario, and Bruma in recent years, there is every reason that this current group of U-19s is destined for success. Continue reading
It was an exciting week in Portuguese Football with the National Team in the limelight to start. Definitely many a headline made for Ronaldo and his team mates. We covered the National Team news daily here at PortugalFutbol during the week, also os Tres Grandes made many a headline in the English press, so let’s round-up the week’s news. Continue reading
Portugal (FPF) had a lot of questions to answer during this International break for Euro qualification & Friendlies, with the exile of Paulo Bento the stubborn hard-headed Manager at the helm of Portugal’s recent Selecao headaches, and the entrance of the suspended Fernando Santos as new Portugal senior team Manager. Continue reading
It took a very late goal from Cristiano Ronaldo to do it, but, Fernando Santos’ new-look Portuguese National Team picked up their first victory and first three points of Euro 2016 qualifying in Copenhagen on Tuesday, defeating Denmark 1-0. Continue reading
With the International break upon us the Primeira Liga was on hiatus this week, with the players joining their national squads for some important fixtures. Here is a review of what hit the headlines this week in the World of Portuguese Football. Continue reading
The Portuguese National team face a difficult away trip to Denmark tomorrow, as they look to turn their Euro 2016 qualification campaign around. The team lost to Albania in their first qualification match, which led to Paulo Bento’s departure as coach of the team. With Fernando Santos now in charge, the team looks revitalized, as was shown in their 2-1 loss to France two days ago. That France game was a good test for tomorrow’s match in Denmark, as both are very difficult teams to play away from home. Continue reading
UEFA announced the other day the qualifying groups for Euro 2016. Portugal were drawn with Denmark, Serbia, Armenia, and Albania. Portugal will be wary of facing Denmark and Albania again, having had trouble with the two in previous qualifying campaigns.
It is worth noting that qualification for Euro 2016 will be much easier than in previous tournaments. Euro 2016 will be the first European championship where the number of participating teams is 24, having been expanded from 16 in 2012. This translates into the top two teams in each group qualifying directly, while the third-place in each group qualifies for a playoff.
Portugal faced Denmark in qualification for the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. The Danes proved to be worthy opponents, topping the group each time, and forcing Portugal to qualify via the play-off. In the four times Portugal and Denmark met in the two qualifying phases, Denmark won 2, Portugal won 1, and the teams drew once. It is evident that Denmark is not a team to take lightly. Though their momentum has slowed as of late (the team failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup), Denmark still packs a punch.
Serbia is another team that has the potential to cause problems for Portugal in qualification. Combining proven stars like Branislav Ivanovic, Aleksandar Kolorov, Nemanja Matic, and Adem Ljajic with up-and-coming talents such as Lazar Markovic, Milos Jojic, and Aleksandar Mitrovic, Serbia is also not a team to be taken lightly. The Serbia U-19 team was victorious last summer at the 2013 UEFA U-19 European Championships, and a few of the players from that tournament have made the move to the full national team. This mix of established, world-class stars and up-and-coming youngsters give Serbia an air of unpredictability. Though they have fallen short in recent qualification tournaments (the last tournament they qualified for was the 2010 World Cup), Serbia are a much different team now.
Armenia are somewhat of an unknown entity. Armenia is a small country of barely over three million inhabitants, bordered by Iran, Turkey, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. The team has never qualified for a major tournament, and, frankly, has hardly ever come anywhere close to qualifying. That is, until the 2014 World Cup. Armenia was drawn with Italy, Czech Republic, Malta, Bulgaria, and Denmark. The team started off slowly, losing to Bulgaria, Italy, Czech Republic, and Malta, but absolutely stunned Denmark, winning 4-0 in Denmark. The team then managed to defeat Bulgaria and Czech Republic before rounding off their campaign with a 2-2 draw in Italy. Though Armenia didn’t come very close to qualifying, they turned some heads with their impressive performances against Denmark and Italy, two of Europe’s top sides.
Portugal last met Albania in 2010 World Cup qualification, and though the team did not offer much competition, the Seleccao still only managed two draws (including one last-gasp 2-2 draw to keep their qualification hopes alive). Portugal tend to play down to their opponents level, which is why the team has had problems with Albania in the past. If the Seleccao can manage to play well, Albania should be no match.
With the qualification stage completed for Euro 2012, it was time to see how the teams in the tournament itself would be divided. The group stage draw happened on Friday, and Portugal were drawn in one of the hardest European Championship groups they have ever been in. Germany, Netherlands, and Denmark all join the Seleccao in Group B. You heard me. Germany AND the Netherlands. The average world ranking for our group? 6. The Netherlands and Germany currently sit at 2nd and 3rd, respectively, while Denmark is not too far behind at 11. Now, if we were to take a look at Group A, we would see that their average world ranking is 32. Poland is not even in the top fifty, while Czech Republic isn’t in the upper thirty. Needless to say, these groups are not even, but regardless, Portugal have a difficult group on their hands. The team undoubtedly has the talent to vanquish Denmark, and possibly the Netherlands, but Germany will be a different story.
Denmark 2-1 Portugal
The Portuguese National Team put in a sub-par performance and were punished as Denmark ran out easy 2-1 winners. Portugal’s loss placed Portugal at second in the group, with Denmark winning the group and thus qualifying for Euro 2012. Throughout the match, Denmark controlled the tempo, constantly forcing the Portuguese team into making mistakes, mistakes that they would pay for. This game was tough to swallow for me. Despite the 3-1 scoreline from the last time the two teams met, this was always going to be a tough game for the Portuguese. The Danish team plays all of their matches in the Parken Staduim, in Copenhagen. Teams typically have a hard time earning points in this stadium, for some reason. It is a bit like Stoke City, who has a reputation for their imperious home form. The Danish coach, Morten Olsen, stated before the match that Denmark had a plan for dealing with Portugal. Oh how he was right.
The game started off in Denmark’s favor, with the Danes having a goal disallowed after it was adjudged offside. That should have been a wake-up call for Portugal, but unfortunately, it really wasn’t. Denmark then proceeded to take the lead after a Michael Krohn-Dehli shot took a slight deflection off the face of Rolando. Denmark were ahead, and so far, they deserved it. Soon after, however, Rolando had a golden opportunity to redeem himself and open his account for Portugal. Carlos Martins swung a free kick in from the left, which fell to an unmarked Rolando, whose side-footed shot scooted wide. Portugal began to find their feet in the match after Rolando’s miss, most notably shown through Carlos Martins and Ronaldo’s shots, which were easily held by the keeper. A quickly taken free kick was passed to Joao Moutinho, whose pass to the middle for an open Helder Postiga was snuffed out by a Danish defender. After the half, Denmark pounced slightly out of the blue. Some lax defending from Eliseu and Rolando allowed a perfect split ball to be played, which was then squared expertly for Bendtner to finish to give Denmark a 2-0 lead. The Danish continued to go close and Portugal continued to disappoint. Finally, in extra time at the end of the game, Portugal were rewarded for what they didn’t deserve. Ronaldo hit a marvellous free-kick to give Portugal a consolation goal and to make the final score 2-1 Denmark.
Portugal will now play in the play-offs, which will occur in November and will be a two-legged match system.
Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Eliseu(Quaresma), Rolando, Bruno Alves, Carlos Martins(Miguel Veloso), Joao Moutinho, Raul Meireles, Nani, Ronaldo, Helder Postiga(Nuno Gomes)
With this game, Ronaldo has moved into the top five in the list of all-time appearances. Also, with his goal, he has moved to fourth in the all-time goals list.
Man of the Match: Nani
Crutch of the Match: Rolando/Carlos Martins
Brand-new Portugal Under-21 team coach, Rui Jorge, has scheduled a set of friendlies for next year. The Portugal Under-21 team has struggled in the past few years, which has puzzled many fans of the team because the team has so much talent. There is new hope with Rui Jorge,who was a seasoned National Team veteran. The team will face Sweden on February 9th. Following that game, the team will face two back-to-back games against Romania and Denmark, on March 25 and 28, respectively. The team will then end the season with games against Germany on May 31 and Austria on June 3.