Rony Lopes Loaned to Lille


Marcos Lopes - Portugal U19

Marcos Lopes

Manchester City to Lille (loan)

Manchester City wonderkid Rony Lopes, also known as Marcos Lopes, has joined Lille on a one-year loan deal. Still only 18, Lopes’ impressive performances for Manchester City’s U19 team, which he captained, earned him some time in City’s first team last season. Though only confined to a handful of matches in the League Cup and the FA Cup, Lopes impressed greatly. In the FA Cup tie against West Ham, many would argue that Lopes was Manchester City’s best player, assisting two goals. Not only has he made a name for himself at City, but Lopes is making waves in Portugal’s youth teams. Currently captain of Portugal’s U-19 team, he will lead the team into this summer’s UEFA U-19 European Championship. And it won’t be the first time either. Lopes played in all four of Portugal’s matches last summer, as the team was knocked out in the semifinals of last year’s edition by eventual winners Serbia. Having already made an appearance for the Portugal U-21 team at only 18, Lopes has shown that he is playing on a different level than most his age.

So, in order to provide more playing time and thus more opportunity for development, Manchester City is shipping Rony Lopes off to France. The loan is set to last all season, and with Lille finishing third last season, Champions League football is a possibility, provided they progress through the qualifying rounds. It is not announced whether the loan will have an option for Lille to purchase Lopes, but that seems very unlikely, due to his huge potential. Manchester City certainly don’t want him to go. And Lopes seems very excited about the possibility of playing regularly for a team, saying he is “eager to work hard and return stronger next year!” Here’s his full tweet:

 

Portugal Impress at Toulon


Portugal U-20s Third Place Toulon 2014

photo courtesy fpf.pt

Portugal Under-20 Team

Toulon Tournament

Third Place

The future of Portuguese football looks bright. The Portuguese under-20 team defeated England 1-0 yesterday to claim third place in this year’s edition of the Toulon Tournament. The tournament is set up for youth teams to participate, with most teams sending under-21 squads. Portugal typically sends an under-20 side, and has used the tournament as a way to prepare for the U-20 World Cup.

The team has had varying degrees of success in the past, finishing fourth last year and failing to leave the group in 2011 (just before reaching the final of the U-20 World Cup). This year, the team surprised everyone, finishing third. Let’s look at how they made it there.

The team was coached by Ilidio Vale, who has been at the helm since 2010, guiding the team in two U-20 World Cups and two Toulon Tournaments previous to this tournament. The coach chose commanding Sporting Lisbon defender Tobias Figueiredo as the team’s captain. Other notable players included in the squad were Ruben Vezo, who squeezed his way into Valencia’s first team at the end of the season, Joao Cancelo, who made his debut for Benfica’s first team at the end of the season and is a regular for Benfica B, Ricardo Horta, who played a vital role in Vitoria Setubal’s impressive run this season, and Bruno Fernandes, who made 23 first team appearances for Udinese this season. And indeed it was these players who performed well for Portugal at the tournament, each playing a role in the third place finish.

Portugal were grouped with Mexico, Chile, France, and China in Group A. After duly dispatching Mexico with two deflected goals from Joao Teixeira and Helder Costa, the Portuguese continued their march on with another impressive victory, this time over Chile. Goals from Leandro Silva, a beautiful individual effort from Helder Costa, and Bruno Fernandes ensured the team defeated Chile 3-1. Next, the team faced a Chinese side that tied hosts France 1-1. Not thinking twice, Portugal defeated China 4-1, with Ricardo Horta scoring twice and Ruben Semedo and Helder Costa picking up the other goals. To qualify for the final, Portugal needed to defeat France in their final Group A game, and despite their best efforts, Portugal fell 2-1 to France, thus finishing second in the group, qualifying for the third-place match.

England were the other second-placed team in the tournament, meaning that they would be Portugal’s opponents in the third-place match. Portugal and England have a long footballing rivalry, with both the countries’ senior teams meeting in Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup. On both of those occasions, Portugal came out on top of the rivalry, and this time out, Portugal managed a win again. Ricardo Horta scored the only goal of the game, which was enough for Portugal to edge out England 1-0 and claim third-place for the 2014 Toulon Tournament.

Yannick Still Club-less


Portuguese forward Yannick Djalo, who has recently been caught in the middle of a mess regarding his summer transfer to Ligue 1 outfit OGC Nice, is still without a club after his trial with Aston Villa fell by the wayside. The striker had announced through Facebook that he was poised to go on trial with Premier League club Aston Villa early in December. Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish has pulled the plug, however, stating that the loose ends regarding his contract mess between Sporting and Nice are the reason for the collapse.

U-21s Edge France


The Portuguese Under-21 team picked up an impressive win over France today, in a U-21 friendly. The final score was 1-0, with Wilson Eduardo grabbing the only goal of the game. That goal was the first chance of note for Portugal in the game. A neat interchange between Rui Fonte and Diogo Rosado was cleared by a French defender, only for the clearance to fall for Eduardo, who volleyed with his right foot. That shot was saved, but the goalkeeper couldn’t keep out the forward’s acrobatic left foot shot. The rest of the game was largely uninteresting, with Portugal controlling the match.

Anthony Lopes (Cristiano), Cedric, Joao Pereira (Nuno Reis), Pedro Mendes, Mario Rui, Andre Martins (Salvador Agra), Diogo Amado (Pele), Diogo Rosado (David Simao), Josue (Julio Alves), Rui Fonte (Caetano), Wilson Eduardo (Joao Silva)

 

Portugal Overcome France


Portugal 2-0 France

Portugal strolled to an easy 2-0 win over a strong France side to book a place in the final of the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Portugal got off to a great start when Danilo towered over the French defense to head home an Alex corner kick. France had their opportunities, but Portugal’s solid defense stood firm. Portugal doubled their lead soon after, when Nelson Oliveira converted his penalty kick. The Seleccao never looked back, and came out with a 2-0 win, and their goals conceded tally stay at zero.

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

HIGHLIGHTS HERE

Paulo Machado’s Season Off to a Flyer


Playing at Saint EtienneThe French league officially began today, and Toulouse and Portuguese National Team midfielder, Paulo Machado, started on a high note. Machado currently plays for French side Toulouse, and was impressive in their win against Ajaccio. Machado had some good runs, but the best was saved for last. The Portuguese midfielder picked up the ball on the edge of the box and unleashed a ferocious shot into the upper right hand corner of the net. That goal sealed the win for Toulouse as they aim for a Europa League spot this season.

Click here for the goal.

Portugal to Face France in Friendly Showdown


According to A Bola, Portugal and france have apparently agreed to a meet on March 29 for a friendly game. This game will be four days after Portugal face Chile, and after the friendly with Spain next month, the Seleccao are going to get a taste of some of the best teams in the world. Portugal has only played France three times in its history, and all three have gone in favor of the French. The last time that France and Portugal met was at the 2006 World Cup, which ended in France winning in that encounter. Mind you, that France team is world different than the current one. I firmly believe that Portugal has a chance against France. The current French team is in a recuperation period, but Portugal are on the rise. My predicted score is 3-1 Portugal.

Portugal Draw With France in Friendly


The Portuguese Under-20 team drew 3-3 in a goal-filled game in France. France won the UEFA U-19 Championship this last summer, beating the likes of Croatia, Holland , and Spain in the process. That team was obviously no pushover. Many of the players that featured for France in last summer’s triumph played on Thursday. So, the fact that Portugal drew with them, while scoring three goals in the process, speaks wonders for this team. France were leading 2-0 at half-time, thanks to goals from Lacazzete and Bakambu. Portugal came out in the second half raring to go, scoring three goals to make the score 3-2 in favor of Portugal. Those goals were scored by Nelson Oliveira (2) and Alex (1). France scored their equalizer, however, through Grenier. That was how it ended. The Portuguese Under-20 team is currently preparing for next summer’s U-20 World Cup.

Portugal Handed Group of “Death”


The Portuguese Under-17 team is pitted against Spain, France, and Switzerland in this May’s 2010 UEFA Under-17 Championship. Liechtenstein host the finals tournament, which will be held between the 18th and the 30th of May. Spain won the 2007 and 2008 editions of the tournament, so they’re going to be our biggest threat. Switzerland reached the semi-finals last year, and France was in the 2008 final, so that is why the Portuguese Under-17 coach appropriately dubbed our group the group of death. But even if we don’t do well, this is the first UEFA Under-17 championship we have qualified for since 2004, so that in itself is an accomplishment.