Portugal Ties Gabon


Gabon 2-2 Portugal

In what turned into quite a strange game, Portugal left the African continent with only a tie against Gabon. Pizzi and Hugo Almeida both scored for the Seleccao, but the team was unable to come away with a victory against their African opposition. Many November friendlies are rarely taken seriously. These friendlies are mainly concerned with testing new players into the national team setup, which may result in sub-par results. This, along with questionable refereeing, heat, and an uneven pitch, is what happened against Gabon.

The game started in a choppy fashion, with both teams attempting to find their feet. Gabon appeared to find theirs first, most likely due to being used to the heat and their home pitch. Only an inaccurate shot spared Portugal’s blushes in the 26th minute, as Gabon came extremely close to scoring. Gabon got their goal soon after, however. The ball was crossed in, and a clumsy tackle from Silvio brought down a Gabonese player, although the contact looked to be minimal. Nevertheless, the referee awarded a penalty, which Gabon slotted past Beto to make the score 1-0 in their favor, and stun Portugal. Portugal was stunned into action, and responded immediately. Eder was pulled down in the box, and the referee did not hesitate to award a penalty for Portugal, just two minutes after Gabon’s. Debutant Pizzi stepped up confidently, and easily slotted the ball past the Gabonese goalkeeper to level the scores. Not much more happened before halftime, and Portugal went into the locker room wondering what was happening.

Soon after the restart, Bruno Alves came close from a speculative long-range cross-shot, but nothing came of it. Portugal continued to press, and were rewarded on the hour mark. A neat one-two between Nelson and Varela left the former to square the ball to the wide-open Hugo Almeida, who tapped the ball into the empty net. But alas, Portugal’s woes were far from done. Gabon scored less than 10 minutes later, to level the scores at 2-2. From then on out, it was one-way Gabonese traffic, with the hosts controlling the flow of the game, as Portugal stepped off the gas due their large number of substitutions.

Beto, Nelson, Ricardo Costa, Pepe(Bruno Alves), Silvio, Custodio(Helder Barbosa), Joao Moutinho(Hugo Viana), Ruben Micael(Ruben Amorim), Varela(Paulo Machado), Pizzi, Eder(Hugo Almeida)

Highlights Here

Hugo Vieira Loaned to Sporting Gijon


Hugo Vieira – Benfica to Sporting Gijon (loan)

Benfica youngster Hugo Vieira  has joined Spanish second division side Sporting Gijon on loan from Benfica for the entire season. The forward impressed for Gil Vicente last season in the Liga Zon Sagres, and Benfica promptly snapped him up in the off-season. First team opportunities look quite limited at Benfica, especially after the Eagle’s purchase of Argentina international Salvio. With a spot in the B team not an option, the forward has opted to go out on loan in Spain.

Wonder Goals Push Portugal Past Panama


Portugal 2-0 Panama

Two finely-taken goals, one from Cristiano Ronaldo, and the other from Nelson Oliveira, sealed a 2-0 win over an inferior Panama side. Portugal had chances aplenty, but had a hard time finishing off those chances, with Hugo Almeida particularly suspect. Nevertheless, the Seleccao’s play oozed class, and the performance was encouraging.

The game started off brightly for the hosts. Joao Moutinho was the first to have a shot at goal. The live-wire midfielder cut the ball onto his left foot, but couldn’t keep his shot low enough. The deadlock was broken twenty minutes later. Young striker Nelson Oliveira received a pass from Miguel Lopes, side-stepped multiple Panama defenders, and unleashed a left-footed shot into the upper left-hand corner of the goal. With the score 1-0 in Portugal’s favor, the team continued to press. Oliveira and Ronaldo both tested the Panama goalkeeper with deft efforts, and were unlucky to have not scored. The opposition goalkeeper was proving to be the hero for his team, and after he parried an excellent Nani shot, he was looking better by the minute. The first half ended that way, at 1-0.

The second half started perfectly for the Seleccao. Raul Meireles lobbed a ball for Ronaldo, who chested down the pass, and unleashed a fierce volley into the bottom right-hand corner. It was what we have come to expect from the second-best player in the world, but it was nevertheless impressive. With the score at 2-0, Portugal still continued to press the opposition. Rolando had a brilliant header saved by Panama’s goalkeeper. Then came the Hugo Almeida farce show. Minutes after Rolando’s header, a header from Ricardo Costa was saved by the opposition goalkeeper, who parried it directly into Hugo Almeida’s path. Somehow, Almeida whiffed the ball, and it rolled slowly out for a goal kick. It was disappointing from the striker, and he failed to put away a further chance later in the game, sending his header well wide of the Panama goal. That was how the game ended: 2-0.

Eduardo(Beto), Miguel Lopes, Rolando, Ricardo Costa, Fabio Coentrao, Hugo Viana(Ruben Micael), Joao Moutinho(Carlos Martins), Raul Meireles(Miguel Veloso), Nani, Ronaldo(Varela), Nelson Oliveira(Hugo Almeida)

Highlights Here

Who should make the Portuguese team for Euro 2012: Goalkeepers


As is the case before any major tournament, a number of players are vying for a limited amount of spots for their respective national teams. The Portuguese team is no different. Many Portuguese players are enjoying stellar seasons for their clubs, and are certainly hoping for a call to represent their country at this summer’s Euro 2012. We’ll break down these candidates position-by-position, in an effort to predict how Paulo Bento will choose the final squad. First up is the goalkeepers.

Goalkeepers

Definites: Rui Patricio (Sporting)

Maybes: Eduardo (Benfica), Beto (CFR Cluj), Quim (Braga)

Outsiders: Ricardo (Vitoria Setubal), Hugo Ventura (Olhanense), Daniel Fernandes (Twente)

 

The goalkeeping position is rarely a problem for the Portuguese team. There has always seemed to be a strong goalkeeper at the start of every major tournament. For the 2002 World Cup, Vitor Baia was the undisputed choice. For Euro 2004, the 2006 World Cup, and Euro 2008, Ricardo was between the sticks, and for the 2010 World Cup, Eduardo was first-choice. These keepers certainly met all expectations, and have established the fact that the goalkeeping position is consistently one of the strongest on the Portuguese team.

This time around, Rui Patricio is our man. A major part of Sporting’s success in the Europa League this season is down to his heroics in goal. It’s not just for Sporting, however. Patricio has emulated his club form on a national stage for Portugal. Our former stalwart is Eduardo. Arguably just as talented as before, a lack of playing time has been Eduardo’s main problem. After lackluster performances last season for Genoa, Eduardo was shipped off to Benfica for a season-long loan. Unable to dislodge Artur Moraes as first choice, Eduardo has been warming the bench ever since joining the club. Although his playing time has been scarce, his proven ability in the past will most likely win him a place on the team at Euro 2012. Another goalkeeper that has been loaned this season is Beto. Beto was the standout performer in the 2008-2009 season for newly-promoted Leixoes. His performances caught the eye of Porto, who snapped him up for a nominal fee. Despite possessing proven talent, Beto has never earned a starting spot over first-choice Helton. This season, in search for regular playing time, Beto was loaned to Romanian side CFR Cluj. Since then, he has played regularly, and a call-up to Euro 2012 may not be too unrealistic. Braga has continued to establish itself as one of Portugal’s top teams, and right at the heart of it all is Quim. Formerly the undisputed first-choice at Benfica, and even earlier at Braga, Quim has played a pivotal role in Braga’s surge to third-place this season. Although he has amassed 32 caps for the Seleccao, he has only appeared once at a major tournament. His performances this season show that he still has it, even at 36, but will that be enough for Paulo Bento? The outsiders looking in at a spot at Euro 2012 with Portugal are Daniel Fernandes, Ricardo, and Hugo Ventura. None of the three have appeared very much, if at all for Twente, Vitoria Setubal, and Olhanense respectively, and a spot on the Portuguese bus to Euro 2012 looks unlikely.

 

Probable bus-riders: Rui Patricio, Eduardo, Beto

 

Name

Club

Age

League Apps

Cup

Apps

Continental

Apps

Total

Apps

Rui Patricio Sporting

24

25

5

12

42

Eduardo Benfica

29

0

8

0

8

Beto Cluj

29

21

0

0

21

Quim Braga

36

26

2

10

38

Ricardo Setubal

36

3

3

0

6

Daniel Fernandes Twente

28

0

0

0

0

Hugo Ventura Olhanense

24

0

0

0

0

Portuguese in Europa League


There were many Portuguese players involved last week in the opening Group stage games of this season’s Europa League. Hugo Almeida, Manuel Fernandes, Helder Barbosa, and Vieirinha were the ones who caught the headlines, so here is the entire coverage of every Portuguese player in the Europa League.

Group A

PAOK’s 0-0 home draw against Tottenham Hotspur put the two teams tied for second place. Vieirinha played a full 90 minutes and was one of the game’s brightest players, according to Goal.com. The winger has been in fine form for the Greek team over the past couple of years, and many have called for a Senior Team debut. It hasn’t happened yet, but it surely will in the future.

Group B

Many were surprised when Hannover 96 drew Standard Liege at home 0-0. With the German team one of the favorites to win the group, the 0-0 draw came as quite a surprise. Sergio Pinto started and played for 75 minutes, while Carlitos is still out injured.

Group C

Rapid Bucharesti took away a narrow win from Israel after they defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv 1-0 to secure top spot in the group. Rui Duarte played the entire match, and Filipe Teixeira came on in the dying minutes.

Group D

Hugo Luz was nowhere to be seen for Valusi in their 2-2 draw with Italian giants Lazio.

There were, however, five Portuguese players involved in the Sporting Lisbon-Zurich encounter. Sporting ended the game winners after scoring two unanswered goals in the first half. Jorge Teixeira played the full 90 minutes for Zurich. For Sporting, Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, and (surprisingly) Bruno Pereirinha played the entire game. Andre Santos was substituted in on the hour mark.

Group E

The Portuguese contingent was strong for Besiktas as they recorded a thumping 5-1 victory over Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv. Hugo Almeida, Manuel Fernandes, Simao, and Quaresma all started for the Turkish team. Hugo Almeida picked up a brace, Quaresma an assist, and Manuel Fernandes two assists. Bebe looks set to miss at least the first half of the season with an injury, and Julio Alves was nowhere to be seen.

Group G

Yago Fernandez was an unused substitute in Malmo’s 4-1 away loss to AZ.

Group H

Four Portuguese players were involved in Braga’s 3-1 win over Championship side Birmingham. Quim, Hugo Viana, Nuno Gomes, and Helder Barbosa all started for the Portuguese team. Quim and Hugo Viana played the entire game with Nuno Gomes and Helder Barbosa being substituted out in the 73rd and 89th minute, respectively. Helder Barbosa continued his fine form with a brace, and was certainly Braga’s finest players on the night.

Group I

Tiago played the last six minutes for Atletico Madrid as they defeated Celtic 2-0. Pizzi was an unused substitute, while Silvio was nowhere to be seen.

Group J

Geraldo Alves, brother of Julio and Bruno Alves, played a full 90 minutes for Steaua Bucharesti as they drew Schalke 0-0.

Group K

Orlando Sa was an unused substitute for Fulham in their 1-1 draw with Dutch giants Twente. Orlando Sa has also been handed the heralded “number 9” jersey at Fulham.

Group L

Following their 3-2 win over Zenit, Lokomotiv Moscow defeated Sturm Graz 2-1 away from home. Manuel da Costa was nowhere to be seen for the Russian side.

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)

HIGHLIGHTS HERE

Besiktas Interested in Pizzi


Due to the recent injury of Bebe, Besiktas are now looking at Braga’s young winger, Pizzi, as his replacement. Bebe joined Besiktas on loan from Manchester United, where he had failed to make the grade, but a recent injury has ruled him out for six months. Besiktas now move their attention to Pizzi, who shone for Pacos Ferreira last season. Pizzi is now with Braga’s first team, with a starting spot likely. According to reports in Portugal, the required fee is around 5 million euros. If the move does materialize, Pizzi will join up with fellow Portuguese players Simao, Bebe, Hugo Almeida, and Manuel Fernandes.

Almeida Proud of Real Madrid Interest


Hugo Almeida, who is currently locked in contract negotiations at Werder Bremen, is reportedly ‘proud’. Almeida has not been contacted by the club, according to him, but he is still proud, nevertheless, of the interest. Real are searching for a replacement for Higuain, who will be out injured for some time. Panathinaikos and Lazio are also interested.

Diego Lauds Almeida


Hugo AlmeidaFormer Porto, Werder Bremen, and Juventus midfielder Diego has laid heaps of praise on Portugal National Team and Werder Bremen striker Hugo Almeida. Diego, who currently plays for Wolfsburg, is glad that Almeida is not to play when Wolfsburg and Bremen meet this weekend. “Hugo Almeida is one of the best strikers in the league,” stated the Brazilian. Almeida is currently under speculation regarding a move away from Bremen this winter, with Lazio, Juventus, and Real Madrid all interested.

Portugal 4-0 Spain – Match Report


Three words describe how I feel: In Your Face. I don’t want to sound aggressive, so I am sorry if I come across that way. I have a friend who is an avid Spain fan. He always gives me grief after the Seleccao under-perform. So, as you can gather, I was quite giddy with this win. What Portugal fan wasn’t? This was quite possibly the greatest performance from the Portuguese National Team. The game started off well, with Portugal enjoying most of the ball. Portugal showed quite a will to win, something that Spain did not show. That was the difference. As stated earlier, Portugal started off well, and were the first to make the difference. Too bad it didn’t count. Carlos Martins fed the ball to Ronaldo, who was allowed space to run. Ronaldo easily tricked Pique(I think) and after producing another neat step-over, lobbed the ball to the goal. The ball was about to go in when Nani flew in and headed it into the goal. The linesman incorrectly said that Nani was offside when Ronaldo lobbed the ball, and the goal did not count. This was a huge disappointment, but it was also a sign of thing to come. The first goal duly came soon after wards after Carlos Martins played Ronaldo to the corner. After the Real Madrid man juked-out the Spanish player, his shot was punched away by Casillas. Helder Postiga redirected the rebound to the onrushing Carlos Martins, who made no mistakes with his finish. With Portugal continuing to dominate, they added a second just minutes later. Good movement between Raul Meireles, Joao Moutinho, and Joao Pereira left Moutinho clear in the box. He squared the ball to Helder Postiga, who cleverly backheeled the ball into the back of the net. That was how it ended for the first half. Spain were threatening, but they were also finding it difficult to weather the storm that was Portugal’s attack. The second half started well, and Helder Postiga added another goal to Portugal’s tally after Moutinho smartly back-heeled the ball to him. Spain were in a state of shock, but were still not playing with any conviction. It looked as if Portugal were going to walk away with a comfortable 3-0 victory, but after Pepe played Almeida through in stoppage time, the scoreline was increased to a staggering 4-0. That was how it ended. Both Portuguese and Spanish fans alike were astounded. This victory will go down as one of the Seleccao’s most famous. Spain, who are World champions, were just beaten by four goals to nil. That’s right Portuguese fans, bask in it.

Eduardo(Rui Patricio), Bosingwa, Joao Pereira, Bruno Alves, Ricardo Carvalho(Pepe), Joao Moutinho, Raul Meireles, Carlos Martins(Manuel Fernandes), Nani(Paulo Machado), Helder Postiga(Hugo Almeida), Ronaldo(Danny)

Rui Patricio and Paulo Machado also made their debuts for the Portuguese Senior Team.

Match Highlights