With much of the media coverage pointed towards the Portuguese senior team’s match against Serbia tomorrow, Portuguese youth matches have flown largely under the radar. On Thursday, the Portugal U-21 team faced Denmark in a friendly match, and just a day later, the Portugal U-20 team faced Uzbekistan. Both teams are preparing for participation in major tournaments this summer. The U-21 team will be in the U-21 Euro for the first time since 2007, while the U-20 team will compete in their third consecutive U-20 World Cup. Both teams are oozing with talent, and while these friendly matches don’t mean anything on paper, the opportunity for team growth and improved cohesion was invaluable. Continue reading
Portugal 1-0 Argentina
A last-minute goal from 20 year-old left back Raphael Guerreiro was enough to give Portugal a narrow 1-0 win over Argentina in a match played at Manchester United’s home ground, Old Trafford. The build-up to the match was predictably centered around the Messi vs Ronaldo rivalry, but neither player influenced the game too heavily, and both exited play at half time. Overall, many would probably agree that the final scoreline did not reflect the way the game unfolded, but Fernando Santos and co. surely won’t complain. Continue reading
France 2-1 Portugal
The Fernando Santos era of the Portuguese National Team kicked off with a 2-1 friendly loss on Saturday, as goals by Karim Benzema and Paul Pogba were enough to ward off a Ricardo Quaresma penalty strike at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis. 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
Benfica 1-1 Sporting
The Lisbon Derby between Benfica and Sporting at Estadio da Luz on Sunday ended in a 1-1 draw.
Benfica as well as Sporting came into the match undefeated in the early stages of the Primeira Liga and both teams got a point out of the game to ensure their unbeaten records stayed intact.
Both teams have amassed 51 Liga titles (Benfica 33, Sporting 18) between them, so it is usually a very intense derby with title implications, and this game was no different with the action starting early: Slimani’s header just missed from a dangerous Jefferson corner kick in the 3rd minute that had everyone beat.
In the 5th minute Rui Patricio made a great save tipping a well struck Talisca free kick over the bar, in a subsequent play Patricio comes up big again as Luisao’s hard shot off a corner gets pushed out at the far post.
The first goal in this clash of titans came early as Maxi Pereira linked up with Salvio on a give-and-go that fed Gaitan at the top of the box for a Benfica goal. It is one of the prettier goals so far in the young season as Salvio’s incisive run to the box, and Maxi’s quick follow-up caught the Sporting defence on the back foot, besides Patricio’s agility to get his hand on the Gaitan wonder strike, he had no chance and was beaten to the near post in the 11th minute.
Sporting fought back and with great pressure caused Artur to make an unforced error when Eliseu’s back pass was literally that a mishit off of Carillo’s backside (who charged down the ball) to hit an open Slimani in front of goal. Slimani made sure to penalize the Goalkeeper by heading it in off of the line for the tying goal making the scoreline level at 1-1.
Benfica along with Sporting traded chances to close out the first half with Eliseu hitting a bomb that went over the bar in the 26th minute, as well as Slimani getting a couple of good chances one in the 28th that he hit weakly towards Artur, and in the 42nd when he deflected a ball that Artur made a great save on (the Ref called the play back on an offside).
Second half started quickly with Gaitan chipping Patricio but the effort went over the bar in the 47th minute, then he turned provider when his cross to Salvio at the top of the box who shot just wide of the right post (48’).
Benfica kept the pressure on and had the better chances in the second half, with Talisca’s dangerous shot on goal in the 61st minute ricocheting off of Mauricio wide right (it almost caught Patricio out), which led to a threatening strike from outside the box by Enzo Perez that just evaded the far post (61’).
Salvio was then fed all alone in the heart of the box by a clever pass from Lima on the byline, but he could only muster a direct strike at Patricio who easily pushed it from harm’s way (62’). The action didn’t stop there as a great corner from Talisca found Andre Almeida’s powerful header in the box, forcing Patricio to make a spectacular flying save on the Portuguese International (64’). Lima then again made a dangerous run off of a Gaitan diagonal and found Salvio open at the back post (66’), but Salvio could only hit the side netting from the deadly cross.
Although Benfica had the Lion’s share of chances (excuse the pun) Sporting was never out of this game and a menacing free kick from Jefferson in the 71st minute forced Artur to make an acrobatic save to keep the match tied. Nani then headed easily right at Artur (73’) from a good cross from Capel.
Gaitan got Benfica back in the action in the 79th minute off of an Eliseu corner, when he rose above everyone in the box and just missed the near post with a powerful header.
SportingCP got the final good chance of the game when Nani delivered a dangerous cross to Slimani in the box, which forced an instinctive reflex save out of Artur to keep things level.
In the end both sides dropped points in the title race, but are still undefeated.
The Portuguese Under-21 team has gotten off to an excellent start in their 2013 Euro U-21 qualification campaign. Goals from Joao Pereira and Rui Fonte gave the Seleccao a much-deserved 2-0 win over their European counterparts. Cedric and Pele, who both starred for Portugal at the recent U-20 World Cup, made their debuts for the U-21 team. Rui Fonte, who captained the side on the night, came close with a header, which cannoned off the crossbar. Soon after, Joao Pereira headed in a cross from the left to give Portugal the lead. Portugal came close on a few occasions, but they failed to capitalize on their chances until stoppage time at the end of the game. Diogo Viana struck a free kick, which the Moldovan keeper could just punch straight at Rui Fonte, who simply tapped the ball into the net. That was how the game ended, with Rui Jorge’s men gaining a victory that they can now build on.
Anthony Lopes, Cedric, Pedro Mendes, Joao Pereira, Ruben Ferreira, Andre Almeida, Andre Martins (Diogo Viana), Josue, Diogo Rosado (Pele), Wilson Eduardo (Joao Silva), Rui Fonte
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.
Portugal edged China on Wednesday, with the typical great first-half showing, and the abysmal second-half showing. Goals were scored by Hugo Almeida and Liedson. Porto winger Varela debuted for the Seleccao, who were sporting their brand-spanking-new World Cup away jerseys. Henrique Hilario also made his national team debut, coming on for Eduardo.
Portugal started off the game looking confident, with Nani and Almeida both coming close to breaking the deadlock, but just after the 30 minute mark, Cristiano Ronaldo won the ball at half-line, and threaded his pin-point pass to Hugo Almeida, who blasted it into the back of the net. Soon after, Duda’s beautifully taken free-kick ricocheted off of the crossbar. Portugal were not really searching for that second goal. The second half was hard to watch. Due to all of the substitutions, Portugal failed to really find their flow, and with Tiago having been substituted out, Joao Moutinho and Raul Meireles were not filling the void well. The best chance of the second half fell to Raul Meireles, who sent his powerful shot into the post after some nice wing play from Varela left him with a shot. With the final minutes ticking away, it looked as if the score would stay at 1-0. In the 94th minute, however, a Raul Meireles corner kick was headed to Moutinho, whose long shot was deflected into the goal by Liedson, making the final score 2-0 Portugal.
Overall it was a decent showing, but Portugal have a lot of work to do if they wish to advance out of their World Cup group.
Eduardo (Hilario, 46), Paulo Ferreira, Rolando, Bruno Alves (Tonel, 63), Duda (Miguel, 46), Raul Meireles, Tiago (Pedro Mendes, 46), Simao (Joao Moutinho, 46), Cristiano Ronaldo (Liedson, 46), Hugo Almeida, Nani (Varela, 62)
Lately, the Portugal Under-21 Team has started to impress, most notably with their 2-1 win over Greece. I was quite optimistic about this game, and was getting more optimistic about the team. But, for some reason, the Portuguese youth teams somehow manage not to impress, even with the talent-packed teams they have. I rushed home today expecting to find a 1 or 2-0 win for Portugal. Oh how I was disappointed.
Portugal were on the front foot starting this game, with Fabio Faria and Adrien Silva both failing to capitalize on their chances. Soon after, Ukra created some space for a cross with a series of beautifully executed step-overs; however when he crossed it in, Bruno Pereirinha wasn’t able to keep his header down. Later, Pereirinha tried his luck with a right-footed shot, but the ball glided wide of the goal. Next, Ukra received the ball on the edge of the box and cut in, but his curling shot was just wide. Sweden broke the deadlock when Fejzullahu finished off a flawless cross. Candeias, trying to get Portugal back in the game, lifted his shot over the bar. Just after, Sweden made it two when Avdic headed in from the corner.
Portugal:Ventura(Diego Silva), Joao Goncalves(Candeias), Miguel Vitor, Andre Pinto, Fabio Faria(Ruben Lima), Adrien Silva, Castro(Pedro Moreira), Andre Santos(Rui Pedro), Rabiola(Diogo Salomão), Perierinha, Ukra(Yazalde)
An eighteen-player list was released today for the Portuguese U-23 Team’s upcoming clash with Wales. They are currently playing in the International Challenge Trophy, a U-23 tournament. Surprisingly, Fabio Coentrao and Ruben Micael were included on this squad, not the Senior squad list. Carlos Queiroz stated today that he intends today to call-up a number of these players on Monday(after their game). He hinted that the likes of Rui Patricio, Yannick, Ruben Micael, and Fabio Coentrao could get the nod, depending on their fatigue. Here’s the list for the Portugal U-23 vs Wales U-23 clash on March 3: