Two-time Portuguese league champion and former free agent Vitor Pereira has reached an agreement with the Greek powerhouse. Formerly at the helm of Saudi club Al-Ahli, and more famously FC Porto, the much coveted tactician is set to sign the dotted line this Wednesday for Greek Champions Olympiakos Piraeus after reports linking him with the Crystal Palace job. Continue reading
The Portuguese Football Federation announced this week the appointment of Fernando Santos as the Selecao’s head coach. Santos has filled the position left vacated by the departure of Paulo Bento, the team’s previous coach. Bento was known for his stubbornness, which resulted in stagnant team selections, as well as some players being exiled from the team. With Santos now in charge, there is a natural hope for a renewed team; one that is open to any player deemed worthy to represent it. Let’s take a look at what we can expect from Fernando Santos, in terms of player selection and tactics. Continue reading
The Portuguese Football Federation announced today that Fernando Santos is the new coach of the Portuguese National Football Team, following the dismissal of Paulo Bento earlier this month. Santos had been a favorite for the job, but there was much speculation surrounding the open position, with the likes of Roberto Mancini and Vitor Pereira also touted for the job. Santos will take over the team immediately, but there are some uncertainties, as he is currently in the midst of an eight-match ban as a result of his antics while coaching the Greek National Team at this summer’s World Cup. Continue reading
Olympiakos to Dinamo Zagreb
(4.5 million euros)
For a fee of around 4.5 million, Paulo Machado is swapping Greece for Croatia. According to multiple reports, the Portuguese midfielder has signed for Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb, where he will join fellow compatriots Ruben Lima and Ivo Pinto. Machado joined Olympiakos in 2012, and has enjoyed success at the Greek Club, twice winning the Greek SuperLeague title. In and out of the national team setup, it will be interesting to see how this move affects Machado’s playing time for the Seleccao. My first thought is that it will do more harm than good.
Portugal 0-0 Greece
It’s been 18 years since Portugal last defeated Greece, and it seems they may just have to keep waiting. The Greeks have formed quite a reputation for having one of the toughest defenses in Europe, and it showed today. All Portugal could manage was a scoreless stalemate in the team’s send-off before leaving for Brazil. I would be remiss to mention that a bore draw from Portugal is to be expected. Typically in pre-tournament friendlies, the issue of utmost importance is that of team cohesion. The result doesn’t matter as much as the teamwork that is fostered and developed in the trivial games. This teamwork will prove very useful when the results begin to matter. Though there were no goals, there were some points of interest.
Prior to the match, the fitness of Real Madrid duo Pepe and Ronaldo was in doubt, and Bento confirmed that the two would sit the match out. This, coupled with a new formation from Bento, created a very interesting lineup. Portugal have grown accustomed to playing a 4-3-3 formation, which is a very attack-minded and balanced formation. This formation also fits the team’s strengths well, and it has shown under Bento. The fluidity in attacking is greater than anything the team managed under Bento’s predecessor Carlos Quieroz. But tactical flexibility is what separates good coaches from great coaches and good teams from World Cup winning teams, so competence in another formation is a must. Bento started the troops in a 4-4-2, with regulars Joao Pereira and Bruno Alves joined by Andre Almeida and Ricardo Costa in defense. In midfield, the team played with two center midfielders and two wingers. William Carvalho and Miguel Veloso played centrally, while Nani and Varela occupied space on the wings. Up top were Helder Postiga and Eder, with Eduardo in goal. The new formation and patchwork lineup made it clear that this match would be used to experiment.
Portugal began the match brightly, with Nani and Eder almost connecting marvelously within the first two minutes. And indeed it looked as if the 4-4-2 suited Portugal well. Nani was playing surprisingly well on the right (considering his lack of playing time at Manchester United this season), and the team still had its natural flow. Eder tended to drop back more often than Postiga, helping link the midfield to the forwards or to spray the ball out wide to Varela or Nani. William Carvalho and Veloso both looked comfortable in the middle of the park, and though they are typically played in defensive-minded roles in midfield, they proved well versed in attacking football. The game ended with few chances, and although Portugal did not score, the team looked very bright at times.
Portugal will now travel to the United States for the remainder of their pre-World Cup tour, facing Mexico on the 6th and the Republic of Ireland on the 10th.
Eduardo(Beto), Joao Pereira, Andre Almieda, Bruno Alves, Miguel Veloso, William Carvalho(Neto), Nani(Rafa), Varela(Vieirinha), Eder(Ruben Amorim), Helder Postiga(Hugo Almeida)
The Portugal National Team will face Cameroon and Greece in the months before this summer’s World Cup. Portugal are slated to face the United States, Germany, and Ghana in Group G, one of the toughest groups of the tournament. Typically, pre-tournament friendlies are scheduled based on tournament opposition. Portugal will face Ghana, so they have scheduled to face a similar team in Cameroon. Greece play a tough defensive style, which is very similar to Germany’s strong defensive backbone. There are still a couple of spots open for pre-World Cup friendlies, and one can expect a similar team to United States to be scheduled soon.
PAOK to Wolfsburg? Yeah, probably
According to reports coming out of everywhere, PAOK winger Vieirinha has completed a move to Bundesliga side Wolfsburg pending a medical. On their website, PAOK made a one-sentence announcement that said that Vieirinha has signed for the German team. Reports coming out of Portugal believe the fee to be around 4.5, 1.3 of which goes to Porto because of a future transfer clause. This move comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever watched or followed the Greek league. Vieirinha has been voted the league’s best player twice in a row, and his performances in the Europa League have silenced any doubters. According to the winger’s agent, the contract runs for 3.5 years.