Portugal Roll Past Luxembourg


Nani and Varela - Portugal vs Luxembourg

Portugal 3-0 Luxembourg

2014 World Cup Qualification

Portugal clinched a play-off berth last week as they defeated Luxembourg 3-0. The Seleccao were clear favorites coming into the match, and played up to expectation. The flow of the match was in Portugal’s favor for the majority of the match, and the score could have easily been greater than 3-0. Portuguese goals came from Varela, Nani, and Helder Postiga, with Joao Moutinho the clear man-of-the-match.

The game started brightly for the Seleccao. Fabio Coentrao and Helder Postiga had resumed their places in the starting lineup, but it was Joao Moutinho and Nani who were the main instigators for Portugal. The first real chance of the game came in the 8th minute, when a fierce Nani shot was palmed directly into the path of Helder Postiga. The striker managed to get a shot off, only for the goalkeeper to save yet again. Soon after, Portugal came desperately close to opening the scoring. A magnificent ball from Andre Almeida (who kept his starting spot at right-back) found an unmarked Fabio Coentrao, whose header thundered back off the crossbar. On the 27 minute mark, however, Portugal’s job got much easier. A Luxembourg player went into a tackle on Andre Almeida studs-up, and was shown a straight red card. That was exactly the catalyst that Portugal needed. Just two minutes later, Joao Moutinho sent a beautiful defense-splitting pass into the path of Varela, who rounded the keeper and finished into the back of the net. And just minutes later, more Joao Moutinho magic added to the scoreline. Nani picked up the ball on the right hand side of the field, passed it to Moutinho, who promptly back-heeled the ball into the path of Nani. The winger made no mistake, drilling the ball into the top left hand corner of the goal. It was a goal of great beauty for Portugal; a goal that represents Moutinho’s importance in the team. That was how the first half ended: 2-0 in favor of Portugal.

The second half began without much incident. Ricardo Costa came off injured around the hour mark, and was replaced by Sereno, who made just his second appearance for the team. Ten minutes later, a corner kick from Josue (who made his debut) found the head of Nani, whose header was well saved by the opposition goalkeeper. Minutes later, a beautiful lofted ball from Josue was headed into the path of Helder Postiga, who made no mistake with his finish. That goal put Helder Postiga at number 6 in Portugal’s all-time goalscorers. Just minutes later, Portugal almost added further to the scoreline. A split ball put Andre Almeida free in the box. Almeida squared the ball perfectly to Hugo Almeida, who cannoned the ball onto the crossbar. It was a shocking miss, one that unfortunately has defined Hugo Almeida’s career with the Seleccao. That was how the game ended: 3-0 in favor of Portugal. Now, the team waits to hear who they will face in the play-off in November.

Rui Patricio, Andre Almeida, Fabio Coentrao(Antunes), Neto, Ricardo Costa(Sereno), Miguel Veloso(Hugo Almeida), Joao Moutinho, Josue, Nani, Varela, Helder Postiga

HIGHLIGHTS HERE

U-20s to Play Norway


The Portuguese Under-20 National Team has scheduled their first friendly of 2011, which will be against Norway on February 8th. The U-20 team will participate in the U-20 World Cup next summer, which the team last appeared in back in 2007. Right before the World Cup next summer, the team will participate in the Toulon Tournament, which the team missed out on this year.

Portugal to Play Argentina in February?


According to the newspaper Ole, Portugal could square off with Argentina on February 9th of next year. Argentina were to play England on that date, but due to some complicated complications, Argentina is exploring other options, such as Nigeria or Portugal. If Portugal end up playing Argentina, it will be the third world-class team the Seleccao would play in the span of just over a month (the others being Chile and France).

Ukra and Castro to Play for Dragons


Castro in foreground, Ukra in back

Olhanense starlets Ukra and Andre Castro have been told that they will be part of F.C. Porto’s main team for the 2010-2011 season, not be loaned out again. Ukra, who has recently been courted by Newcastle and Fulham, has enjoyed an absolutely spectacular season, along with fellow compatriot Andre Castro. These two players were the backbone of the team.

FC Porto has a number of promising young players that they loan out every season. They have created a flawless system: If a player begins to show promise at a young age, they buy him for cheap and loan him out to gain experience and grow as a player. When has shown his worth as a player, they can sell him for the big bucks, or recall him to the main team.

Prime examples:

Vieirinha at Porto

Playing at Saint Etienne

1. Vieirinha – was loaned by Porto to Greek outfit PAOK. He enjoyed so much success in that season, that he was sold to the Greek team. Last season, still playing for PAOK, he was voted “Most Valuable Player” by the fans.

2. Paulo Machado – The former Portugal U-21 international was loaned out to Saint-Etienne for the 2008-2009 season. He held down a starting spot and impressed enough to be sold by Porto to another French team, Toulouse, for the 2009-2010 season. He has since thrived at his new team.

Andre Castro and Ukra are prime examples of the flawlessness of Porto’s youth cycle. Being regulars on the Portugal U-21 team, I have no doubt that these two players will thrive at Porto. Expect to see them soon.