Opinion: 10 Players Who Could Break Out This Season


We could see big things from Carlos Mane this season.

We could see big things from Carlos Mane this season.

Portugal’s performance at the FIFA U20 World Cup and UEFA U21 European Championships strengthened the perception that Portuguese football is on the ascendency once again.

Andre Gomes, William Carvalho and Bernardo Silva are just some of the players that have established themselves over the past few seasons. The editors of FutebolFactory.com and PortugalFutbol.net have compiled a list of ten players who they think could make a big breakthrough this season. Continue reading

Five-Star Portugal Coast Past Germany


Portugal's Ivan Cavaleiro celebrating his goal. Photo: Lusa

Portugal’s Ivan Cavaleiro celebrating his goal. Photo: Lusa

Portugal 5-0 Germany

2015 UEFA U-21 European Championship Semi-Final

A comprehensive performance from the Portuguese under-21 team pushed them past Germany in the semi-final of the 2015 U-21 European Championship to book a place in the tournament’s final. Goals from Bernardo Silva, Ricardo Pereira, Ivan Cavaleiro, João Mario, and Ricardo Horta gave Portugal an emphatic and entirely unpredicted 5-0 win over the Germans. The Portuguese will now face Sweden in the final, to be played on Tuesday.  Continue reading

MID-SEASON REPORT: 10 Portuguese Players Who Could Break Out This Season


Andre Gomes has been a revelation this season for Valencia. Photo: John Sibley / Reuters

Andre Gomes has been a revelation this season for Valencia. Photo: John Sibley / Reuters

There is no question that the Portuguese national team is in a transitional phase. The Selecção’s group stage exit in Brazil just reinforced the claim that the squad will look very different in the next few years. There has perhaps never been a time in recent memory when the country has had so many promising young players.

In the summer, we chose ten that we thought would be able to make a positive impact at club level this season. Since then, four of these players have made their debuts for the senior Selecção, to go along with André Gomes and Bruma who had been selected before. This article will look at the progress of each player and will assign them a grade based on their development so far. Continue reading

U-21s Qualify in Rollercoaster Match


Portugal U21 - After Playoff with Netherlands for 2015 U-21 Euro qualification

Portugal 5-4 Holland

2015 U-21 Euro Qualifying Playoff Leg 2

The Portuguese Under-21 team defeated the Netherlands yesterday 5-4 in the second leg of a playoff for qualification to the 2015 UEFA U-21 European Championship. With the 2-0 victory in the first leg, Portugal qualified comfortably by a margin of 7-4. Goals yesterday came from Ricardo (2), Ruben Vezo, Ruben Neves, and Bernardo Silva, and although the scoreline appears close at 5-4, the match was much more one-sided (as was the case in the first leg). Continue reading

Fernando Santos: What Can We Expect from Portugal’s New Boss?


Portugal Cyprus Euro 2012 Qual

Could we see Ricardo Carvalho back in the team?

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

Portugal Are Going to the Final!


Joao Nunes - Serbia V Portugal - 2014 U19 Euro

Portugal 0-0 Serbia (4-3 on penalties)

2014 UEFA U-19 European Championship

Semi-Final

The Portuguese Under-19 team has accomplished something that has not been done in some time by the team. The U-19s edged out Serbia in an exciting semi-final encounter of the U-19 European Championships on Monday, booking a meeting with Germany in the final. This will be the first time the Portuguese have been in the final of a U-19 Euro since 2003, when a Portuguese team containing both Joao Pereira and Hugo Almeida fell 2-0 to Italy. There is every reason to be excited for this crop of players, with many feeling that the team has all the tools at their disposal to displace Germany on Thursday and capture the title. Let’s take a quick look at the match against Serbia:

The Portuguese were likely seeing red before the match, as it was Serbia who knocked Portugal out in last year’s edition of this competition. Portugal had a point to prove, but they knew that this Serbian team was no push-over, having impressively drawn Germany 2-2 in the group stage. Serbia was a team that had apparent quality, which was something that Portugal had not truly faced. In their final match of the group, Portugal faced Austria, and while Portugal did struggle to win, it should also be noted that many of Portugal’s starters were being rested, such as Gelson Martins and Marcos Lopes. This time out against Serbia, however, Portugal was at full strength.

Andre Moreira resumed his starting position in goal, with the usual four suspects in front of him: Domingos Duarte and Joao Nunes in the middle and Rafa and Mauro Riquicho on the left and right, respectively. In the midfield, Marcos Lopes returned and was joined by Francisco Ramos and captain Tomas Podstawski. On the wings were Ivo Rodrigues on the left and Gelson Martins on the right, and were both joined by Andre Silva up front. It was the strongest lineup Portugal could field, and one that has brought the team success thus far in this tournament.

As would be expected, both teams were largely even during the match. Portugal continued to change their style of play between direct (long-passes and deep crosses) and short (tiki-taka style quick passing), much the same as during their previous match against Austria. The game ebbed and flowed, with Serbia dominating for a period, then Portugal for a period, and so on and so forth. This was how the rest of the match played out. Both teams came very close to scoring, but neither did. This evenness and lack of scoring brought the game into extra time, where Portugal raised their intensity. The Portuguese were the team that was playing for the win, while Serbia looked content to simply bide their time until penalties. Portugal were unable to break the deadlock and Serbia got their wish: penalties.

Andre Moreira had sustained an injury during extra time, so the team’s back-up keeper Tiago Sa was Portugal’s goalkeeper for the dreaded penalty shoot-out. Marcos Lopes was the first to step up, coolly slotting his penalty home. Just after, Serbia’s no. 10 sent his penalty very high and wide, giving Portugal an advantage. After that, both Serbia and Portugal converted their next two penalties, with Andre Silva and Raphael Guzzo scoring for the Portuguese. But then Portugal captain Tomas Podstawski took a nervous penalty that was easily saved by the Serbian goalkeeper. Just after, Serbia scored their penalty, and the two teams were level again at 3-3. Ivo Rodrigues scored the next penalty for Portugal, and it all came down to Serbia’s final penalty. The Serbian shot, and Tiago Sa guessed the correct way, expertly saving the penalty, thus giving Portugal the win and booking a place in the final. There were wonderful scenes, as the players stormed the field. Portugal were through to the final.

Portugal will now face a very impressive and dominant Germany side, who defeated Austria 4-0 in the semi-final to reach the final, the same team that Portugal scraped past 2-1. It will be a very difficult game for the Portuguese, who will need magic from their talisman Marcos Lopes, leadership from their captain Tomas Podstawski, and goals from their target man Andre Silva.

Andre Moreira(Tiago Sa), Joao Nunes, Domingos Duarte, Rafa, Mauro Riquicho, Tomas Podstawski, Francisco Ramos(Raphael Guzzo), Marcos Lopes, Gelson Martins(Romario Balde), Ivo Rodrigues, Andre Silva

HIGHLIGHTS HERE

Orlando Sa Off the Mark


Fulham striker Orlando Sa has finally broken his goal drought on Saturday when he scored Fulham’s goal in the team’s 1-1 draw against Norwich. Sa was given the number nine jersey, a number that typically represents the goal-getter in the team, at the beginning of the season, but had yet to score this season up until yesterday. The goal surely comes as a relief to not only the player, but also Fulham boss Martin Jol. Orlando Sa was touted to be a star during his days at Braga, but injuries and an ill-advised move to Porto have stalled his development since then. His talent is undeniable, however, as is evidenced with his expertly taken goal.

Orlando Sa Shines on Debut


Fulham’s new number 9, Orlando Sa, made his debut in a Carling Cup clash with English giants Chelsea, which Fulham lost on penalties. Orlando Sa was handed a starting spot alongside Bryan Ruiz up front, and did not disappoint. Orlando Sa showed great control and movement throughout the game. It appears that the forward has formed a great partnership with Bryan Ruiz, which will certainly pay dividends in the future. Goal.com gave Sa a 7.5/10 rating, one of the highest of the game. Orlando Sa has surprisingly been given the number 9 shirt ahead of the likes of Bobby Zamora and Moussa Dembele, which certainly shows the faith that Fulham coach Martin Jol has in the striker.

HIGHLIGHTS HERE

Fulham Snap up Orlando Sa


Orlando Sa

Porto to Fulham

Fulham FC have announced, via their website, the signing of none other than Orlando Sa. The Porto striker has found life quite hard at F.C. Porto, where he played for two seasons. Sa started off his career at Braga, rising up through the youth ranks. Soon after he was promoted into the first team at Braga, he earned his first call-up to the Portuguese Under-21 team. Orlando Sa really came of age during a U-21 friendly match against Spain. The striker, who was virtually unknown, scored an impressive hat-trick to help seal the 4-1 thumping. The scoring did not stop there however. Sa brought the scoring back to Braga, and though he was not nearly as prolific, he was making headlines. His performances both for Braga and the Portuguese Under-21 team were impressive enough for Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz to call him up to the Portuguese National team for a friendly against Finland. Sa was substituted on in the second half and won a penalty for his team. A number of clubs were soon interested in acquiring his services, most notably Chelsea, but F.C. Porto swooped in and sealed the deal in June of 2009. Sa has since found playing time hard to come by, only grabbing minutes away from Porto, on loan at Nacional.

This may prove to be a big step in Orlando Sa’s career. Aged just 23, the strike still has a career ahead of him. Whether that career is successful or not remains to be seen, although his body build is suitable to the Premier League.

“I am happy to have completed my transfer to Fulham and the Premier League today.

“This is an enormous opportunity for me and I’m looking forward to joining the team and entering the next phase of my development.

“It’s a wonderful challenge for me and I am keen to bring my qualities to Fulham and the Premier League.”

Ribeiro and Sa Called Up Early


Portugal National Team coach Paulo Bento has called up Joao Ribeiro and Orlando Sa early for the Seleccao’s upcoming game against Spain. Joao Ribeiro has been in top form for Vitoria Guimaraes, attracting the attention of clubs like Fulham and CSKA Moscow. Orlando Sa, who is currently on loan at Nacional from Porto, has also been impressing in the Liga Zon Sagres. If you will recall, Orlando Sa scored a hat-trick three years ago for the Portugal U-21 team against Spain. Maybe Bento is hoping for more of the same. Portugal face Spain in a friendly match on November 17 in an effort to strengthen their joint 2018(I think) World Cup bid. Vieirinha and Andre Santos are two other player who I think deserve call-ups, just in case you guys were wondering…