Portugal maintained their impressive, but accurate, status of eighth best in the world, according to the FIFA World Rankings. Portugal recently defeated Denmark and Iceland, both by a 3-1 scoreline, so I have to admit that I was quite disappointed when I saw that the Seleccao were only eighth. Spain maintained number one, with Holland coming in right behind them at second. Brazil overtook Germany for third spot, and the Germans got fourth. After the top four, I don’t know what FIFA is thinking. Argentina fifth? That’s silly. They should be more like eighth or ninth after their recent performances. England then came in as sixth. I agree that this English team should be in the top ten, but not sixth. Uruguay followed England for a well-deserved seventh place. Portugal, Croatia, and Russia the followed in that order.
Head on over to the National Team section to see the top ten.
OK, so maybe Portugal didn’t exactly obliterate the Danes, but they certainly controlled the game from start to finish. The Portuguese team that deafeated Denmark four days ago played completely differently than the one that fell to Norway. The performance put in by this Portuguese team is reminiscient of the 2004 era. Nani simply stole the show. He scored two and set up another. His performance was marvelous, so Ryan Giggs saying that Nani is the new Ronaldo may be quite accurate. So, the game went like this: Ronaldo smartly crossed on the ground for Nani, who calmly finished past the Danish goalkeeper. Denmark then kicked off right after the celebration, but failed to even keep simple possession. Nani pounced on an error from a Danish player, drifted in from the right, and sent an unstoppable shot with his left foot past the keeper. Ricardo Carvalho then scored an unfortunate own goal, which was all Denmark can take away from the game. Ronaldo capped off a promising performance after he was set up smartly by Nani on the counter-attack.
What can we take away from this match?
1. Paulo Bento knows how to play different players to their fullest: i.e. Ronaldo, Moutinho
2. Ronaldo is back. The Real Madrid man was full of confidence, which has been holding him back as of late. This is no doubt due to the coaching switch.
3. Nani may very well the new Ronaldo for Portugal, and with Ronaldo back, there is the possibility that we could have two. I know, I’m excited too.
Eduardo, Joao Pereira, Ricardo Carvalho, Pepe, Fabio Coentrao, Raul Meireles, Joao Moutinho, Carlos Martins (Tiago), Nani (Varela), Cristiano Ronaldo, Hugo Almeida (Postiga)
Paulo Bento has released a list of 23 for Portugal’s upcoming games against Iceland and Denmark. This is Bento’s first set of call-ups since taking over the role of Portugal National Team Head Coach. Some notable inclusions are Joao Pereira (who has been impressing for Sporting Lisbon lately), Paulo Machado (who has made a name for himself this season for Toulouse), and Carlos Martins (who many feel should be a regular for the National side). One more notable inclusion is Helder Postiga, who has been revitalized under new Sporting Lisbon coach Paulo Sergio (as evidence with the goal he scored yesterday). Here’s the full list:
Goalkeepers: Beto, Rui Patricio, Eduardo
Defenders: Bruno Alves, Fabio Coentrao, Joao Pereira, Ricardo Carvalho, Silvio, Rolando;
Midfielders: Carlos Martins, João Moutinho, Pepe, Miguel Veloso, Paulo Machado, Raul Meireles, Tiago;
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Danny, Helder Postiga, Hugo Almeida, Liedson, Nani, and Varela.
Probable Starting lineup:
Subs: Rui Patricio, Danny, Helder Postiga, Varela, Pepe, Rolando, Joao Pereira
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
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.