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Wednesday, 06 February 2013 17:20

Seleção made to pay for defensive frailties

Portugal 2-3 Ecuador

An entertaining game in portugal-ecuador-20130306.jpgGuimarães ended in disappointment for Portugal as they were beaten 3-2 by an impressive Ecuador. Valencia gave the visitors an early lead, but Ronaldo and Postiga struck either side of half time to turn it around. But straight after taking the lead Portugal conceded a comical equaliser through a João Pereira own goal, and Caicedo scored the winner for the South Americans.

Portugal almost scored in the very first minute, with Ecuador goalkeeper Banguera doing well to deny Ronaldo and Postiga. Play immediately broke to the other side of the pitch where Montero turned João Pereira inside out and his cross caught out both Eduardo and Coentrão, who allowed Valencia to steal in for the simplest of headers to put Ecuador ahead.

The electric start to the match set the tone for a highly entertaining first 30 minutes, in which both teams might have scored more goals as attack dominated defence. It was Portugal who got the equaliser with a wonderfully worked and exquisitely finished goal. A slick passing move ended with Coentrão audaciously back-heeling the ball to his Real Madrid team-mate, Ronaldo, who beat his man with a perfect touch before drilling the ball unerringly across Banguera and into the net.

The pace of the game slowed somewhat for the second 30-minute segment either side of half time, before Postiga's goal after being well set up by Nani triggered another frenetic final half hour.

Back four at sixes and sevens

Portugal's defence had looked none too secure all night, despite a promising debut from new Zenit centre-back, Luís Neto, and Ecuador's equaliser exemplified the porous nature of the Seleção's back line. João Pereira and Eduardo got their wires horribly crossed, resulting in the defender's back-pass dribbling past the goalkeeper and agonisingly into the net.

Worse was to come for Portugal as a fine passage of Ecuador passing saw the ball transported to Caicedo, who drilled a powerful shot into the corner of the net from 20 yards. 

With the usual slew of substitutes typical of international friendlies making for an even more haphazard closing period, Ecuador had several glaring chances to inflict further embarrassment on Portugal, none more so than Benitez, who amazingly shot wide of an open net. Portugal almost grabbed a late equaliser as Custódio's header crashed back off the bar.

Paulo Bento may have correctly pointed out that Portugal showed plenty of positive play in this, their final match before resuming World Cup qualification, but defensive issues need to be addressed urgently if the Seleção are to get back on track on the road to Brazil.

Eduardo, João Pereira (Ruben Amorim), Bruno Alves, Neto, Fábio Coentrão Miguel Veloso (Custódio), João Moutinho, Raul Meireles (Nélson Oliveira), Nani (Danny), Hélder Postiga (Éder), Cristiano Ronaldo (Varela)

Banguera, Paredes, Achillier, Erazo, Bagüí Castillo, Valencia (Morante), Noboa (Quiñonez), Jefferson Montero (Saritama) Christian Benítez, Caicedo (Ibarra)

[0-1] Valencia, 2'
[1-1] Ronaldo, 22'
[2-1] Postiga, 59'
[2-2] João Pereira (o.g.), 61'
[2-3] Caicedo, 72'

by Tom Kundert

Comments (64)
portugals negative result why
64 Monday, 11 February 2013 04:07
i agree when the selecao plays the so called little teams theres always problems in the 2010 world cup qualifiers in albania when bruno alves scored in the last seconds of the game as for the future i hope paulo bento plays the friendlys against teams like netherlands england or spain germany france thats what we need lets wait for march qualifiers and get the six points thats what matters in the end of the day
Dont' Understand
63 Friday, 08 February 2013 21:31
What I don't get is people on this site who really do understand the game (the majority of us) and know exactly what needs to be fixed.

Then you look at the professional coaches that Portugal had since I can remember and they dont even know how to fix the problem.

This says something about the men we hire to take the reins. Im sorry but i think the fault is with the hiring done by the fpf.

How do these coaches do this for a living when they are this incompetent?

its so easy to see that , when teams bunker against us, use the 4 4 2.

Is it so hard to see that our best line ups are: If i had my way

Rui Patricio ( I would personally go with Moreira)
J.Pereira ( I know he can be a liability so I would look at other Rbs.)
Luis Neto

and 4 4 2
Rui Patricio
Luis Neto
Interesting points, Joe
62 Friday, 08 February 2013 18:13
I have never thought about the prospect of Neto playing as the trinco, but it just might work. Sure, he doesn't possess the some passing range as Veloso, but he's definitely much better defensively. I have watched a lot of him on Siena and he certainly is very comfortable on the ball for a defender.

He also reads the game brilliantly (Most interceptions per game in all of Europe according to whoscored.com). I'm not saying that he's the answer to our defensive problems, but it's certainly worth a try. Pepe is a monster in the midfield, but he is desperately needed at the heart of the defense to marshall the back four. Neto is also much better technically than the Real Madrid man.

I'd also like to add that Pizzi is also more than capable of playing as a #10. Like Danny, he's quick, skilfull, and creative.
Why Bento must go...
61 Friday, 08 February 2013 17:05
1. Good coaches use friendlies to experiment, not play a whole bunch of random subs with no formation. The last 30 minutes were inexcusable and show how much of an amateur Bento is.
2. Meireles was the worst player on the pitch and was not subbed off until the 80th minute. He made more passes to Ecuador than Portugal.
3. Eder is our striker and should be playing WITH Ronaldo so they can build chemistry, not playing at separate times.
4. Eduardo should not even be called up, let alone be playing. Two of the goals were his fault NOT our defenders who have do the work of both a lousy keeper and Veloso/Meireles.
5. Nelson Oliveira is not playing for his club and should not be playing for Portugal.
6. Andre Gomes was taken away from U21 to sit on the bench and watch this disaster? This friendly should've been his first game as a late sub.

Bento OUT. Jardim IN.
Just some interesting info
60 Friday, 08 February 2013 16:18
A lot of talk about formations.
Below is a link for the Gamecast of the match.


You can click on Tactical Formation and then click on Average Position. It will basically let you know where each player spent the most amount of time.
You can also break it down further by clicking the Heat Map and choosing a player. You can see their movement on the field.
You can actually see how much Neto and Alves had to cover for Coentrao and Perreira.
By the way, Danny came on and spent most of his time defending in front of the box. Not sure if it was by design.
Nelson was sent out wide.

On the stats section, you can see that Neto actually led the team with Fouls Drawn.

The Gamecasts are usually even better, but being a friendly, this one isn't as robust.
59 Friday, 08 February 2013 15:04
There are so many issues that are a one off in games like these that are frankly not as important as the bigger picture for the NT. WE all know by now that the NT has always had issues with concentration, effort and just plain old good play in friendlies and against teams that are of a lesser calibre. You compare that to performances against the best in and out of tournaments and you think, wow, its like two different teams and two sets of the same players. This Ecuador game does not suprise me, however, is certainly a let down as a fan.

Here are my issues with the team at this point in time that should be fixed, altered or addressed before the next 2 WCQ's in March.

First, there are 8 players in the starting 11 that are cemented and rightly so as they are some of, and in a few cases the best in the world, a champions league level team; no need to change and we are blessed with the talent. Ronaldo, Nani, Moutinho, Pepe, Alves, Coentrao, Pereira, and Patricio. There is no need to change theese players, seriously! So here in lies the first issue, who are the other 3 players how can link up and perform at these other players level, we see laready that when just 3 players are not at the same level, the qaulity of service and play is plagued with mistakes, lack of creativity, and poor linkage.

Currently , these spots are occupied by veloso, meireles and postiga. Veloso is too slow, not aggresssive enough and not meant to play a holding midfield role despite his passing and ptience on the ball and he is not better than moutinho to play as a box-to-box mid. Meireles is an impact player, we saw that with chelsea and with thte NT in the past, reliable but frankly a little past his prime, he should be a sub for a mid player as an impact player. and postiga is just not good enough to be in the middle of ronaldo and nani. All 3 players are good subs but not starters when comparing to the other 8 players.

Who to replace them?

Unfortunately we don't have a deco, or costa at the moment but we do need a player of the skill level working beside moutinho who will always provide cover. We have saw Nani move inside during the Euro's when varela is brought on and frankly, it worked well or use Danny or bring in Fernandes in that position as an attacking mid as long as he is committed to tracking back. These are our options, I like the Nani option best as we have so many wingers with quality to choose from. If it is not working move Nani out wide and bring on a frenandes or danny.

A holding mid player that has good passing and holding ability, tenacity, and defensive prowess. Is it just me or did anyone notice that Neto was extremely good with moving the ball forward , holding the ball and making incisive passes through the mid rather than moving it outwide. I was so impressed with his confidence and ability on the ball for a defender, I can see why Zenit bought him. He was a bit frail in the air and on the tackle against the big ecuadorian striker but still did well for his first time. Frankly I see him as a our holding mid. he provides better defensive skills than veloso, better aerial ability, and much more aggressive and after seeing the game, he has great patience, skill, and an eye for a killer pass, this would also make our defence that much stronger.

A striker, the portuguese curse after 1966! We dont have a world class striker in the league of ronaldo and nani so bento has to be smart about he does have. Postiga is an off thebench palyer in the NT we have right now. Eder, Pizzi, Oliveira are still defining themselves as young up and coming players. ALmeida is an intersting option but not a starter, he is too inconsistent and misses to many givers. So, Postiga, Eder and Pizzi are my choices, oliveira needs to do better to get a call up. Give Pizzi and Eder chances to start and play with the first team and see what they can do, Bento needs to do this to identify the best fit because postiga isnt it.

As far as tactics, i think I like the ay we play and the formation alterations made. It is more a question of mistakes and missed opportunity than anything which is hy i think its a personnel problem, thats why i wrote above. You alter those positions, you will see a much improved side or at least a side with better attacking and midfield linking.

The funny thing is, the current under 20 and 19 team are the best I have seen since the costa, figo, pinto, couto, sousa era. They did just lose to france but playing with a mixed line-up to test players and without a few key stars. they still dominated possession and man was the midfield creative, there are too many no.10's Mark my words, more than half this team will make up the NT and play on big European sides.
Caisedo... New coach....
58 Friday, 08 February 2013 04:02
Caisedo scored! Is the world coming to an end?
New coach? You folks off your rockers?
Same old crap defence
57 Friday, 08 February 2013 02:52
will always love the portugal team, but this is really old hat now, disgustig defence!!! seen so many times these horrendous mistakes in defence. Let's see, remember the horror show against Cyprus? that was a qualification game and it ended 3-3, the joke against Denmark in qualification, at least we beat them in the group stage. Remember Carvalho's penalty conceded against France in world cup final 2006, sort it Paulo!
number 26...ecuador
56 Friday, 08 February 2013 01:03
you said viva messi i do understand since the only thing that you guys produce is bananas in other words we produce great talent world know names 1 luis figo 2 rui costa 3 CRISTIANO RONALDO ....portugal equipo ha estado en el futbol mundial desde 1966 3rd place es estado en cinco mundials ...its funny ecaudor beats portugal in a friendly now they think there on top of mount everest ...
The Next Qualifiers Will Tell
55 Friday, 08 February 2013 00:42
Great comments and love the passion.

This NT is pretty good overall but not at the standards of teams from the past 16 years. This team has some holes and some players out of form. Bento will not make dramatic changes at this point but I do think he should tinker with bringing players like Eliseu, Pizzi, and Fernandes to help with the ailing depth. These guys are probably not huge impact players but could offer solid and fresh play to replace players of lesser quality (e.g. Amorim).

Bento will stay with his top 11 from Euro 2012 with a few subs for the two qualifiers. I expect the concentration and communication level to be better especially in defense and that the def mids cover better (.e.g Veloso). I may not like having Miereles and Veloso in those spots but there will be no change.

I also expect despite some comments about this team not showing hunger, this team will play hard with lots of heart despite a lack of talent and out of form players. I find it hard to believe this team does not have hunger, you can have hunger and not be very good. The perfect combo is hunger and talent, at least I know this team will give it all. Time will tell in the next qualifiers and then we can take another assessment of progress.
Apart from the particulars, we are in agreement
54 Friday, 08 February 2013 00:33
Bento needs to go.

Let's bring in Leonardo Jardim!
@ Voice of Reason
53 Friday, 08 February 2013 00:26
Firstly voice of reason it is great to see someone with so much passion and the guts to write what they really think. However sorry to say and I apologise in advance if offend anyone else with my comments but I completely disagree with everything you (Voice of Reason) said. I will explain why;

1. Modern Football is fluid and adaptive- Every team should have a backup plan and players in that team need to be flexible and be able to adapt to new tactics and new types of teams. If you would like to know more about this then watch the interview Jose Mourinho when he talks about his time with Inter in the Serie A. What he basically says is that the coach puts out a line-up as a reference point and for the entire game the positions and formations are constantly be changed by the coaches and players are moved around at will.

2. Your comments “What manager in his right mind would have two tactical systems with ostensibly” – If you follow any league other than the English Premier league then you should understand that the starting formation is just a rough guide as to where the players should play or in some cases, it could even be a decoy for the opposition. I know this concept might be hard to understand so to prove my point next time when you watch a game in continental Europe closely check the starting positions of the players at the start of the game and where they are during the game and at the end and you will see what I mean. Players change positions throughout the game all the time. They often switch roles and position to fool a defence which might have worked out their game. Managers have many tactical systems that they deploy and use depending on the system. To imply that a team only uses one system is extremely naive. The point here is that they choose the same players for different systems as every manager understands that it takes time for players to adapt to each-others style. Modern players can adapt to changing tactics easily. You might also want to do some research on the Dutch total Football model. Man UTD had a 4-4-2 for their Premier league games and a similar formation to Portugal with 1 striker for their Champions league games. “Voice of Reason” you might want to note that they won both tournaments doing this.

3. Portugal is too predictable – Ask any soccer fan in the world who is Cristiano Ronaldo and they will know. Everyone knows he is our main man and the one we always look to. All teams know that to stop Portugal you just need to stop their wingers. The best teams rely on their own game to beat us and that is why we do well because they attack us, we then sit back and we can counter them with our pace. I’ve been watching the Seleccao for over 20 years now which does not make me an expert but from my world view and armchair experience I see that this type of play worked when lower teams didn’t respect us and thought they could beat us and subsequently came out and attacked. But teams are organised now and fear Portugal (mainly because we have Cristiano) as a team who can hurt them offensively if given space and as such they have developed their tactics to stop our game plan which is all about pace. I think in friendly games that mean nothing we should try and tweek the formation slightly to accommodate for different situations that arise in a game. We need to trial a 4-4-2 so that the team has experience playing the different formation. If it is late in a game and Portugal is behind we can assume that that sensible thing is to bring on more strikers and maybe change the formation to have 2 strikers up front. “Voice of Reason” Are you saying that if we are behind by say 2 goals with 20 minutes to go in a major tournament we should not change the formation for fear of a loss of continuity? Your argument is illogical and makes no sense. If we practice the tactics in games then it breeds familiarity.

4. 4-4-2 is the best option for changing the formation - I think we should add a second striker mainly because we lack a quality player maker like Rui Costa and Deco (Don’t mention Danny because Bento plays him as a winger) who can unlock a defence through the middle. Our game plan is predictable and when teams sit back and do not attack us we cannot break them down. We have seen this time and time again since we lost that final to Greece where they had 1 shot and scored. The current formation is built for counter attack but how can you counter attack a team that sits 10 men behind the ball? So the answer is to change tactics and 4-4-2 is the logical choice with the current crop of players.

5. Continuity - You said “How does that help continuity?” - No offense, but how long have you been watching football? Why does having two slightly different tactics effect continuity of the team?
Things I would assume effect continuity are;
- In fighting between players.
- Team Chemistry – The players understand each-other and the way they play.
- Lack of respect for management and the coach (Sporting).
- Angry fans (Sporting).
- Constantly changing squad players in and out.
In my option, for some games making a slight change to a teams tactics and formation (Replacing the attacking mid (Mereiles) with a second striker (Eder) and maintaining the Box to Box (Moutinho) and Def Mid(Pepe/Manual Fernandes/Veloso) is not going to affect continuity. If you were to play a 3 man defence then that would be a massive change because it would mean no more Wing backs and that the Wingers would have to play far more defensively but we are not saying that so It is bizarre that you would even use this as an argument.

6. “You would be on here so fast blasting a manager” This is a strange statement because most people would blast the manager regardless of whether he changes the tactics or not. Freedom of speech has given everyone that right to do so. If the manager fails he hopeless and knows nothing whereas when he wins he is a genius and his tactics are a master stroke. The problem with Bento is he has the same tactics and doesn't budge

7. “Take a minute and read what you have put in the post before you hit the button”. Why are you even making this point? Are you saying that you cannot comment on this site unless you are absolutely right in what you are saying? In reality, no one can say that they are 100% right or wrong. Just because someone says something that does not agree with your world view does not mean it is wrong or not worthy of being written on this site. The point is to give your opinion and allow others to review and agree/disagree and then give their feedback on what you have said. I Think that as long as you are not being disrespectful then you can write what you want. As a budding sociologist, I personally love to read peoples opions on the game and also when people give feedback on my points and disprove something I have said (thanks NJ/USA/SLB) as it allows me to learn from other fans and expand my knowledge of the game.

Thanks for reading :)
52 Thursday, 07 February 2013 22:48
I know that not everything is perfect with the NT, however a lot of people are blowing this way out of proportion. This match reminded me a lot of the friendly against Turkey before the Euro, it was obvious who the better team was but laziness and lack of focus in the back cost us. I think when it matters most Portugal cleans up their act and shows much more focus. If they fail to get all 6 points in March I will join the doom and gloom wagon, as of right now it just seems like the same old NT when it comes to friendlies or games that they feel are not 100% necessary to win.
striker issues
51 Thursday, 07 February 2013 21:36
Personally I don't think 2 strikers is an answer for the squad for now. Postiga is fine when fed properly, like any other striker. The problem is there is no sense of play. The defense treats it like hockey and kicks the ball way up field hoping something may happen, things don't just happen, you have to MAKE them happen. Watch Barcelona (for example), tic tic tic tic all the way up to the danger zone, THEN strike. Portugal did not communicate plays. Everyone was trying to be a super star. They really need to work on their passing game. Even the mid field out shot their passes as if magic is waiting at the end of a long ball. I don't think individual players need to be centred out, I think the WAY in which they play is at fault. Switching up line ups won't solve the fundamental lack of unity in their playing approach. That is the problem. If that is the coach who controls that then he is to blame. If it's the players just getting their heads together, then it falls on all of them. Change your style, change your results.
something missing
50 Thursday, 07 February 2013 21:23
That was a difficult match, Ecuador is a decent team with speed and strength throughout their lineup.

We really could have used Quaresma and his trivelas.....................................................................................................I couldn't help myself! It's the first time in years that I've read comments about the NT and no one mentioned the cigano! Maybe that farce has finally been put to rest.

Seriously though, another mediocre performance from the NT. I agree that there are better players that have not been called up or do not start but at this point in qualifying, it might be too late to change too much. Anyways, I'm looking forward to the matches in March and hoping for the full 6 points. Forca!

PS. really like the alternate shirt.
Forgot to reinforce Chris...
49 Thursday, 07 February 2013 21:14
Wasn't happy with the Jeff's racist comments either... didn't take anything seriously after that comment..

I don't care if the guy is purple.. if he puts on that shirt and tries.. his hardest.. I am a supporter...

Considering I have two beautifully mixed nephews that I love and adore.. I don't take comments like that very well.. as many don't nowadays in our global world.. you should keep those comments to yourself.. it is in your best interests!!!
I appreciate that tactical formations are not your specialty.. sellf proclaimed Voice
48 Thursday, 07 February 2013 21:05
The concept of tactically changing up your squad might be a little new to you since all of what you have watched for the NT over a decade is some form is a 4-3-3.. which as some suggest a 4-2-3-1 is a variant of.

But remind me how many top 10 teams play in a 32 team tournament in the WC? Some have not even qualified.. which Portugal is in danger of doing so.

How many would Portugal see ranked #7 although that will change.. but if they make it.. it should still be around that mark.. by the time the tournament starts. How many would they see in the first group? If they are seeded max 1.

So playing defensively against every team in a 4-3-3.. is your answer to success.. because all of the managers before you haven't been able to attain it.

So considering we might get one top 10 team in the group stage.. where do you see the fault in my tactical suggestions.. How about in qualifying where only Russia is ranked in the top 10.. and if we qualify for WC.. they most likely won't be in the top 10 ranking... they are only in the top 10 because we have done so poorly in the 4-3-3.. in qualifying.

The euro is slightly different because you are more likely to face a top 10 in the next round.. but the WC is a bit more wide open.. and with good results you can miss out on them till the quarters.. sometimes even the semis.. with luck.

Also in your deep gulp of Hatorade you forgot the part where I said i would still be playing a 4-4-2 in those games in the last 30 mins.. if we need a goal..

Your self inflated presumption of superior intellect was also that players that have played some form of a 4-3-3 for the last 20 years will all of a sudden forget how to play in that formation when switched up.. during a tighter game on the worlds top stage.. If anything has been proved over the last decade.. players in those big games know their responsibilities especially in that formation.. scoring against minnows who triple mark the wings.. has been their qualifying downfall. maybe you haven't logically figured that one out yet.. the rest of us will wait for you to catch up.. the continuity of having difficulty in qualifying still alludes you...

What Manager in his right mind... would switch up squads..?
Vincent Del Bosque in his trophy winning years with Spain.. started sometimes in a 4-4-2.. and even went so far as playing without a striker.. to win his trophies.. it is called tactical changes for a reason.. how about Germany that switch up from a 4-4-2 to a lone striker system during a tournament sometimes a game.

Italy does it.. as do many other successful teams..

So we will sit back.. and wait for you to figure it out.. won't be holding my breath because this could be a while..

but thanks for not watching the game and making your insightful comments.. always enlightening.. maybe you missed all the other matches too..
Great comments
47 Thursday, 07 February 2013 20:13
All, I think it's great we can all vent on these forums. I think there are some great and not so great points. I concede that at the very end of such games, I take on a defeatist attitude, instead of seeing any bright spots.

Thanks to those of you who keep the faith and help the rest of us doom and gloomers back to calm waters.

Oh, and Jeff/USA, keep your racist garbage off this website.
Let me get this straight
46 Thursday, 07 February 2013 19:47
"I don't think the answer in most games is not to play two up front.. unless you are playing a top 10 team.."

So when they don't play top 10 teams - you want them to play a 4-4-2 BUT, when they DO play a top 10 team you want them to...what?

This makes absolutely zero sense - play the majority of your games in a 4-4- and then switch when it is major tournament time? Like a Euro or WC?

How does that help continuity?

What manager in his right mind would have two tactical systems with ostensibly (or maybe not) the same players? So you are going to play a 4-4-2 80 - 90% of the time and then come crunch time, you will go in and say "Let's change it up boys - we are playing a top 10 team today".

Really? You want a manager like that who has so little faith in a preferred system, that he changes it because he is playing a supposedly superior team? You keep talking about the talent of this team and imposing their will - but you want a manager that changes things up before a major tournament - when you will be playing top 10 teams?

You would be on here so fast blasting a manager that changed the system before the tournament...wow, I don't even know what else to say anymore. Just wow.

Take a minute and read what you have put in the post before you hit the button.
Forgot to mention Postiga...
45 Thursday, 07 February 2013 18:56
He too is constantly maligned.. but besides Nuno Gomes who had a penchant for scoring important goals.. Postiga is the closest to him.. and even though is not suited for a lone striker role.. and gets fed poorly most of the time still manages to score important goals.

I don't think the answer in most games is not to play two up front.. unless you are playing a top 10 team.. the answer should be to have Eder & Postiga at the moment out there helping each other.. I will remind you that in 10 mins together Eder assisted on Postiga with a super important goal.

Now if I had my way it would be Lima & Eder out there and Postiga would be a super sub..

But enough of giving the guy a hard time.. he has scored some very important goals for Portugal.. even when forced to play alone.
Many great posts too many to comment on...
44 Thursday, 07 February 2013 18:49
Of course I have spearheaded the fire Bento campaign and it is raging into the second season.. do I think it will happen.. NO... the FPF are as predictable as Bento's system and selections.

I was in favour of his hiring since he knew the cast so well and a transformation in results as interim Manager.. was expected.. unfortunately he was the longterm manager.. and as his record proves he never won anything and squads deteriorated over time.. which should be the main per-requisite on a Managers CV/Resume if you want to actually win. But the FPF is more concerned with having the ear of the Manager.. and being able to communicate with him in Portuguese.. than if he can bring them a trophy.

But enough said on Bento.. most of you gentlemen know my position on the NT.. I think we should play a 4-4-2 against minnows.. and defensively challenging teams.. late on.. you all know that I believe we should play a Real DM and not a bunch of box to box players.. who think attack before they do team concepts.

Also that I don't think any of our strikers are good enough to play alone.. and that CR & Nani aren't good enough crossers to make a lone striker viable. Bento's 4-3-3 makes it easier to double mark our wingers.. crowd them and make reaching the lone striker almost impossible.

Anyways about last nights game I thought the main breaking points were poor defending on all counts.. only Neto could get a break as he improved as the game went on.

Unforced errors.. everyone from defence to offence was making them.. and giving away balls too easily that led to deadly counters. With minimal effort to fight to get it back.

Third and no one has brought this up.. but the blind Croat Ref missed 3 clear penalties..

First was Postiga being bungled in the box.. Tom said Postiga went down easy.. but Ecuador was not tackling lightly all night they were body checking, and pounding guys. Something I admire because it was my playing style although I used to do it cleanly for the most part but was not afraid to take a good hard yellow when I saw fight to change the momentum of a game.

Second was on Nani who looked like he wanted to deke the GK.. saw the defender and moved the ball to his right ahead of the defender.. he again was fouled hard in the box.. what is a foul in the box called.. when you don't touch the ball.. like Postiga's play it is called a penalty.

The third was the clear handball off a Nani cross.. the defender lifted his elbow up not in to protect his face it was clearly sticking out to block the ball..

Now I am not one to blame the Ref.. I expect at least one bogus call a game.. sometimes 2 but 3 is ridiculous.. especially the way he almost let the game get away from him.. by allowing dirty hard tackles.. from Ecuador all night.. and not carding them.. there was a clear bias.

Now I appreciate that in the past Portugal has warranted the extra diving scrutiny.. and were marked harder by the Refs.. and merited it.. but over the last few years they have cleaned that up a lot.. and to have a Ref from Croatia.. one of the leading world Spring Board Diving Football Champs.. be that flagrant was not merited. Modric can't play 5 mins without tripping over his own feet.. although he has improved since moving to England.. for his Nat team he gets top marks for his inverted triple axle from the pike position.

Like I said I am not one usually to blame the Refs full out.. you didn't hear me cry because Porto scored a clear offside goal against Benfica late last year... I expect them.. and feel the team has to work around it.. but 3 clear penalties.. that is taking the piss.

Anyways with that said and done I still think we should've won the game...

Nani has got a lot of heat and did rightfully make a lot of unforced errors.. but he also should've had at least 2 to 3 assists.. CR totally failed on the one he was sent in alone by Nani.. and a few others messed up great passes by him. I like Varela.. but he is no Nani.. not yet anyways.. what Nani needs is more playing time.. when it matters.. his level will improve as the games get more important. Varela on a normal outing uses his speed brilliantly off the bench.. afull match wouldn't have the same benefit.

Coentrao also got a lot of flack.. and in some cases it was merited.. if you saw my tweets during the game.. you will see that I ripped him many a time.. but his offensive play was exceptional.. did get an assist.. maybe should've had another.. and almost scored.. going to Real was not the smartest move.. and hopefully that will get rectified in the summer.

Then we have Eduardo... who by no means had a good game.. but blaming him for the atrocious defence in front of him is comical.. How can you blame a keeper for an own goal.. when the defender shoots it around him into his own net.. and there was even movement on the ball.. seriously some of you guys have a hate on for him.. and forget how many games this guy kept us in with magical saves.. against some of the best teams in the world in the WC.

The first goal.. which the announcers were quick to blame him on.. wouldn't have been any different if he moved back to the line. First of all Pereira was beat so quickly.. that Eduardo was already outside the 6 yard box.. pathetic defending by Pereira all night was beat constantly.. then if you watch the highlights.. because you might have missed this.. Valencia from a bit out sprinted past Coentrao who was day dreaming and actually went to the ground.. on a high cross.. allowed Valencia to walk right in and get a free uncontested header. Had Patricio been there we know he wouldn't have left his 6 yard box.. is absolutely useless in the air anyways.. and with Valencia's speed would've easily headed that into an open far corner for the same reason as Eduardo allowed the goal.. both his wingbacks defended atrociously.. didn't have a clue where their men were got beat easily.. and looked pathetic.

Someone even had the audacity to complain about the 3rd goal.. a good keeper would've got a hand on that.. what keeper that you know can get a hand on a 100 mph screamer.. from a shooter that was uncontested with time and space.. if it is on target it is a guaranteed goal, shit even Raul Meireles weak efforts when on target at the top of the box go in.

Eduardo didn't look good.. looked nervous.. but can you blame him after the first two goals?

The main weakness was the defence and it was exposed all night.. over and over again ad nauseam and it just wasn't the back 4.. all those opportunities as most goals scored against Portugal come through the middle.. Caicedo's goal at the end some folks were blaming Neto.. he is a CB that ball came out beyond the box.. where were your two supposed defensive midfielders.. they were both up field and left Caicedo all alone with plenty of time to take a long run up and smash that ball.. our main weakness is not having a true DM like Fernando to shut that space down.. and allow the 20 or 30 good box to boxes that we produce.. to play where they are stronger.. Pepe to me is still our best DM.. because he actually plays defence and is just not a deep playmaker. Veloso, Fernandes, should be played ahead of a real DM. Meireles should not be in the squad period.

Alves was brutal too.. beat many times for pace.. lousy passes that never found their target with time and space.. without Pepe to save his bacon he looks like a Liga de Honra player and when he lost the ball didn't really seem to care. He was exploited all night long.

I too was upset by Danny played on the wing.. Eder not getting a chance to work with Postiga in a 4-4-2.. and Oliveira who hasn't merited his spot.. was given 10 mins of 4-4-2.. in the disoriented subs pack.

Like others I thought CR & Moutinho were the best.. although Moutinho's set pieces lacked a lot.. added to all the unforced errors.. crossing right to the GK.. always upsets me as he is easy to see he is the one with the different coloured uniform.

CR... missed a sitter before the first half ended.. Postiga in the first few minutes had a glorious chance with both sides of the net gaping he shot directly at the keeper.. all it needed was a toe poke to either side. They hit the bar with a header before the final whistle..

In the end Portugal had a good offensive game and their final ball was always lacking.. you can take some positives in that. They are getting the chances.. and I warned all the folks on twitter before the game.. Ecuador is the 12th ranked team in the world.. and they are a tough team that tackles hard.. and had 3 wins and 1 tie coming into the game. Too many on here thought of them as Gabon.. they are an excellent TEAM with an amazing counter attack.. one that was helped so much by the poor lax defending of the wingbacks.. and the non-existent defensive midfielders.

But for all the doom and gloomers out there.. get serious this record is just skipping.. haven't you seen it enough times.. we have never had a tactical manager.. and these players only wake up when it is do or die.. it is part of the reason I always prefer they get a group of death.

The real games will start soon.. and it won't be pretty.. but I still expect them to make it by the usual playoff route.. and for those that think our time is passed I will remind you that the Golden Generation didn't qualify outright for a tournament.. and got blasted out of the WC in the first round.. against inferior opposition. If anything the latest Generation has exceeded their levels already.

But I do agree it is the management that is the big problem.. and I would love to see Bento fired before the next match. We need a tactical manager.. to make these guys think defence first.. and build from there.. yesterday was a clear example of why we need that.

Now I know I am harshly critical of JJ at Benfica.. but he would be an improvement at the NT.. at least we know he is going to pick a solid backline.. will have a real DM and not afraid to use a 4-4-2.. to score goals.. especially in the 60th minute when we need to win a game.. and of course against every minnow on the planet. against the minnows it might look more like a 2-2-6. And to his credit he has played a bunch of different formations this year.. something unheard of for Bento at the NT.

Also his policy on naturalization would be very different.. and guaranteed you would see Lima, Fernando, & maybe even Maicon on the squad.. my concern with him is that he would naturalize too many players. Gomes would play.. Danny would more than likely see the 10 spot..

Even JJ's big game record has improved this year.. the only downside would be his micro managing jester actions on the sideline.. but maybe that is what this team needs anyways.. to be told what to do and where to go at all times.
The added bonus is that Malgarejo would not be in the squad.. as he has played for Paraguay...lol

The 4-4-2.. would allow both CR & Nani the space they need and also tie up the CB's & DM to their spots.. whilst also giving the wing boys more targets to find in the most important area of the field.. the box.

Anyways.. like I said many great posts.. and what I have taken the most from this thread is that we still have such a passionate fan base that is eager for more.. like myself it can come off critical at times.. but it would be worse if you folks didn't care and it didn't hurt so much.

Keep them coming gentlemen.. great read.
We need a new coach
43 Thursday, 07 February 2013 18:48
Just replace the coach. No clue. He is not a coach. No brains.
add ons
42 Thursday, 07 February 2013 18:36
A couple of add ons;

- Eduardo will get killed for the first goal, shocking misjudgment. But Montero schooled Pereira twice and Coentrao was sleeping.

- Pereira should have learned as a youngster that you're never back pass on target. Most pros forget that. I do want to blame Eduardo for the second. He has to be vocal to his positioning. Then again, maybe he was and Pereira misunderstood.

- On the third, Neto has to do better.

After Euro's everyone screamed for a striker. Clearly we need much more than that.
VoR, it's not that sky is falling, it's that this just isn't good enough. This result and play has become the rule instead of exception.

Our qualifying has been laughable;

Luxemburgo 1 - 2 Portugal:
- We were down 1-0.
Portugal 3 - 0 Azerbaijao:
- Scored on the 63rd and the last two goals came after 80th.
Russia 1 - 0 Portugal:
- Gave up early goal (6th)
Portugal 1 - 1 Northern Ireland:
- We were down 1-0 (30th). Northern Ireland at the Dragao.

Only difference between these and yesterday was that Micael was featured prominently, Amorin saw plenty of action and Patricio.

This squad and manager have left little hope for anything. Frankly we are wasting one of the greatest players of all time.
Not that bad...
41 Thursday, 07 February 2013 18:21
The result wasn't the bad, but Ecuador aren't a bad team and it's only friendly.

Admittedly I only caught the second half, but when Ronaldo and co were on the team looked quite good going forward, definitely better than we have in the WC qualifiers thus far.

Anyone wanting to sack Bento at this point is nuts, this is still the manager and the team that brought us out of the group of death and into the semis of the Euros, only to lose narrowly to the eventual winners. Sacking a manager at this point and having a new one try to come in and implement his system would be a step backwards.

Pepe coming back to solidify the defence, a little more concentration from the players and a few tactical tweaks here and there, especially against weaker teams and I don't see us failing to qualify for the WC. Yesterday and the qualifiers have been tough matches against team have set themselves up defensively and/or played a very physical game against us, but against stronger teams looking for the win our system works well.

Not to mention, I don't mind coming in to the WC through the qualifiers. I think coming in as the underdogs was one of Portugal's greatest assets in the Euros.
The Problem
40 Thursday, 07 February 2013 17:42
1. Joao Moutinho is no MANICHE!!!
2. Raul Mierles is a BUM/ needs a new hair cut.
3. Ronaldo needs to stop doing backheels to nobody.
4. Postiga and Nani need to finish their 1v1s.
5. Eduardo needs to retire
6. Portugal needs to stop wasting Possesion.
7. Paulo needs to get fired.
8. Portugals defense is shit without Pepe.
9. Ronaldo needs to go in his backyard and work on his free kicks.
10.Eder needs more playing time. Lets remember he is Black we need him.
11.More youth players should go to the main squad.
12. Andre gomes should take Raul Miereles spot. Andre Gomes is 19 years and already better than that BUM.

Postiga - Nani - Miereles replacements?
39 Thursday, 07 February 2013 17:12
To me, the biggest issues on the squad are the back 4 and the MF. I thought Mortinho and Veloso played very well in Euro. I thought Miereles was good, but I agree he is now fading.

Miereles - I agree a new player should replace him.

Postiga - I think he is the best at doing what Bento asks the 9 to do in this offense.
- Eder - I want him to be featured with new tactics.
- Nelson Olivera - not now.

Nani - IF PORTUGAL IS GOING TO WIN THE WORLD CUP, THEY HAVE TO HAVE PLAYERS WITH THE TALENT OF NANI (and Coentrao) AT THEIR BEST. Yes, Nani is out of form, but that is due to injury and being stuck behind players at Man U. That doesn't mean Varela is close the option.

Varela - to me, Varela is Postiga. Great at being in the right place to cash in goals. But I have not seen him create by himself in the way the Selecao need to win the WORLD CUP.

The back 4 must solidify, 1 improvement in the MF, and a tweek of the formation at the top.
Reserving Judgement
38 Thursday, 07 February 2013 16:55
I couldn't watch the game - followed some text updates which among other things said

1) Eduardo's gaffe on the first goal was shocking

2) Portugal played with some flow when the regulars were in

3) Back line was suspect - anyone still questioning Pepe's importance to this group?

Add in an own goal, and is the sky really falling? Apparently it is for some, it is your prerogative.

I will keep the faith. I'll wait for next round of qualifiers and expect Portugal to right the ship. We'll be here to welcome you back aboard when all the naysayers and critics come back to the group.
Game time
37 Thursday, 07 February 2013 14:21
Ahmad, I agree with your points, especially about Meireles and Veloso dropping levels since they moved to lesser leagues. I think we can add Istanbul BB's starting GK Eduardo to that list as well.

At this point, I'm all for overhauling the squad. I think that we need to make the starting line-up:

Patricio, Pereira, Pepe, Neto, Coentrao
Eliseu, A. Gomes, Moutinho, Varela
Ronaldo & Eder

Forget this stupid 4-3-3 that isn't even well executed. Clear out the Micaels, and company.

On the bench we get:
Postiga, Nani, Wilson Eduardo, Josue, Adrien, Danny, Rolando, Miguel Lopes, Cassio, Pizzi, Manuel Fernandes, and another few players.

Honestly, I understand the need to qualify for the WC but it really doesn't look like this group will get it done. We need a few new bloods to get in their with some real hunger.

I'm tired of seeing an unmotivated team. Most importantly, Bento out. I wouldn't even mind seeing Jardim, even with a boring defensive-style team. Results are what count.
The Good and the (Very) Bad
36 Thursday, 07 February 2013 13:45
This kind of result (a friendly where an own goal is a key factor in the result and Cristiano plays 60 minutes) wouldn’t bother anybody normally. It’s the general poor run of form since the Euro that bothers everyone.

The good:

- The team seems like a team. They get on well, as can be seen in the way they celebrate goals, yell off the ball, etc.

- The team is playing for Cristiano. Thank goodness. It only makes sense that we perform better when he’s on the pitch. There don’t seem to be any bad apples (i.e. Alonso, Casillas, and co. at Madrid).

- Good flashes of movement –some of the flashes of player and ball movement for the middle half hour of the match was entertaining, but most importantly, encouraging.

- Yesterday’s rubbish Eduardo performance (apart from one magnificent save) confirms Rui Patricio was the right selection all along.

The bad:

- The overwhelming need Bento has to continue to play the same line-up, and make the same subs. (Custodio when we need a goal?)

- Nani. What is wrong with this lad? He has truly fallen into Cristiano’s shadows and can’t seem to get out. He lacks the confidence he once had, and Sir Alex may be responsible for that –but can you blame him?

- Postiga. It’s enough. Why does Bento feel like we owe him something? Respect to him, but his time has come. He has one goal in his last 10 starts at Zaragoza. He scores the odd tap-in with the national team –how can you NOT when you have Cristiano at your side? I agree with everyone here –Eder should have started this one.

- I was optimistic about Neto. It’s early and we shouldn’t judge a career on one match. But he didn’t look great.

- Our lack of a true 6. I enjoy the modern counter-attacking football style of play Bento has adopted for this team, but it’s becoming nauseating to know it’s the only thing we do well. We can’t hold a lead as we don’t have the capacity (or player options) to change our tactics when needed. A true defensive midfielder (Fernando?) would change the dynamic of this team, and alleviate Moutinho and Meireles of defensive roles they can’t handle. Veloso has run his course…

- Danny should be considered more regularly. True, he’s been injured –but now that he’s back (and looks good at Zenit), can we at least try him in a position that suits him?

- Pizzi deserved a call-up. He’ll be low on confidence with this.

- Pereira gained my respect at the Euro, but after a performance like the one I saw yesterday (and his three rubbish matches vs. Madrid recently), it makes you wonder whether Bosingwa isn’t our best RB, match fit / hot-headed or not.

The mid-aged players are struggling –especially mid-season when their heads are elsewhere. Tough to blame them for not showing up to a meaningless friendly with all of the important action they’ll have in the next few weeks.

Go back to your clubs. Win something important…and come back fresh in a few months, because you’ll be an embarrassment to your country if you fail to qualify for a World Cup in one of your colonies.
new coach
35 Thursday, 07 February 2013 13:03
Time to get a new coach otherwise trouble. New coach will freshen up things and mmotivate the players. I'm a fan of Portugal s Brazilian style of flair football but I think the present coach has overstayed his time. Get a new coach. This ones nothing special
Pathetic game last night
34 Thursday, 07 February 2013 12:28
And I thought that our Seleccao was going to show their true colors/ talent, silly me. I had bet co-workers of mine that Portugal was going to conceed 6-0 over Equador.... again silly me. It was a pathetic game AT HOME, no organization, no team effort, no cohesion- just plain pathetic. I'm actually embarrased to say we lost. At this pace, we may not even qualify for WC- how embarrasing is that?
new coach
33 Thursday, 07 February 2013 12:03
Time to get a new coach otherwise trouble. New coach will freshen up things and mmotivate the players. I'm a fan of Portugal s Brazilian style of flair football but I think the present coach has overstayed his time. Get a new coach. This ones nothing special
Rating: 5/10
32 Thursday, 07 February 2013 11:43
I'd give the seleccao a rating of 5/10 on yesterday's performance, played well for around 50 minutes and utter rubbish for a sum of 40. Now the only reason why I am not fuming about the 2-3 loss is because in the end it is nothing but a friendly, sure we are PORTUGAL and we should not treat friendlies like that but we must understand that some players had to take their foot off the pedal so they can avoid injury and not risk going back to their clubs on a stretcher. I don't blame them entirely for that, players like Ronaldo, Nani, Moutinho, Coentrao and co. have an extremely demanding month ahead of them.

I am not a fan of Bento's tactics but I am pretty sure the players won't be THAT crap in the next games. Neto was good, given that he is still 24 means we can expect things from him IN THE FUTURE. Now Pepe and Alves will lead our defense and with Pepe's return our defense should at least look sharper. Pereira was miserable yesterday but watching him week in and week out with Valencia I can be assured that this was temporary and that our defensive fallacies will be fixed.

Nani can be the most frustrating player to watch, and this is coming from both a Manchester United fan and a Portugal fanatic. Yet, my argument has always been that although Nani can pull off pathetic displays for 89 minutes in any game, he can still deliver that one moment of brilliance and end up scoring or assisting for the team and that was shown in his assist to Postiga, and if you can make Postiga score, it means you're something.

My real point of worry concerns both Veloso and Meireles, ever since the first moved to Ukraine and the latter to Turkey, their level has dropped noticeably. The should be providing the wall of protection for our back four and unfortunately I don't see this happening one bit.

Ronaldo is now showing his peak as a footballer and this is the perfect time for the rest of the players to adjust their level to his, yet when he plays well or when he tries to play well, the others doze off. I can see Portugal qualifying for Brazil 2014 but I cannot see them doing anything noteworthy their if they don't wake up, and that includes Bento as well. Take your head out of your buttocks and work harder for God's sake!!

Oh and btw Eduardo is crap, Rui Patricio over him any given day of the year.
They say ignorance is a bliss.
31 Thursday, 07 February 2013 11:18
And it's true, I decided to not watch the match to safe myself some high blood pressure and it looks like I made the correct decision.
So if you were looking forward to one my pessimistic post you'll end being disappointed (or relieved if you were dreading my post).

But reading the comments here really makes me worried. :(
sempe e muma coisa
30 Thursday, 07 February 2013 10:50
Bento uma Grande tlemado!
Really bad result
29 Thursday, 07 February 2013 09:39
Ok it was just a friendly, and Ecuador are a good team who are well placed to qualify for the WC from a tough qualifying zone. However Portugal were playing at home and were obliged to put in a strong performance and get a good win, after some really mediocre recent results. They played well sporadically last night, but with no consistency, and consistency is what we're gonna need to find real soon if we want to qualify for this WC.

I agree with others, to call Bento stubborn is an understatement! People think JJ is stubborn, at least he knows that playing 2 forwards is much more likely to yield goals! Playing only one striker is only going to be effective if that striker is class, and Postiga is simply not good enough to lead the line alone, isn't that obvious by now? He simply gets crowded out by tough centre-backs and doesn't have the pace to get away from them. And the reality is that CR7 always looks like a winger for the selecao (and a prolific striker for Madrid lol!). Even in a friendly match, Bento doesn't see the need to try out 2 forwards, and only when we're 3-2 down, he suddenly changes to a 3-3-4 that's never been tried before.

What was the point of bringing Danny at all, if he was never going to be played in his true position of a number 10/second striker? I for one will stop calling for his inclusion as a number 10, because it just ain't gonna happen under Bento, people, just accept it. What was the point of bringing Andre Gomes when he wasn't even going to play and our midfield simply doesn't have the class of years gone by? He brings on Amorim and Custodio instead....

The less said about the defensive display last night, the better. Unlike others I was not at all impressed with Neto. He's not bad, but is really nothing special from what i saw last night. We really don't have any class back ups for CB, and have to hope Pepe and Bruno stay fit. Furthermore Veloso is not a defensively strong DM, he's good in possesion and is a good passer, but can really be caught out with quick counters, as Ecuador proved emphatically.

Lastly, I know I've been persistent in this argument, but after last night, do people still think it's a bad idea to call up a particular couple of Brasileiros to the squad (one poster recently actually called them "mediocre Brasilians that we don't need" lol). Mediocre? Now just imagine how much more solid our defence would be with Fernando as DM. Imagine how much more bite our attack would have with Lima up front...we could even still play 4-3-3 effectively with him there. But just like with the Danny number 10 issue, this is just not gonna happen with Bento in charge. Bento will not change and we just have to hope his tried and trusted are indeed good enough to take us to the WC. I still think we will qualify for Brasil, but probably only by the skin of our teeth via the play-offs....and we all think it could and should be so much more comfortable!
why did nani start
28 Thursday, 07 February 2013 09:02
Am a porto fan and verela is not one of my stars but after what he has done so far he should've started ahead of nani..my question is when bento going to realise that the team needs changes.
?..where is pizzi?..he is doing well to play as well as gama and eliseu..i.think bento should go..
Good Analysis Jon/USA
27 Thursday, 07 February 2013 06:20
Jon, Excellent analysis in your post on our liabilities when we are the stronger side attacking. I don't 100% agree with everything in the post but your analysis is substantive and objectively critical of our midfield especially how Veloso is exposed. I personally think that Meirles needs to go, that his career is in regression and we should try someone new but given there is little time until the next qualifiers he will stay.

Enjoyed reading a very reasonable post and continue with the great posts.
We wonnnnnnnnn
26 Thursday, 07 February 2013 06:00
Que viva messiiiiiiiiiiii q viva Ecuador!!!!!!!!!
25 Thursday, 07 February 2013 05:36
Sadly (for myself) I could not watch the game so I could be totally off track with my comments but I have been thinking now that against really top teams who attack us stay, that the current formation is solid and should not be changed as it allows us to sit back and counter the opponent with our lightning pace. Against weaker team however, I would love Bento to try a 4-4-2. It seems to me that weaker teams are just sitting back and absorbing our attacks and then counter us when we are out of position and hitting our weak points. Knowing how a team plays is a huge advantage and maybe our style of play has become to predictable for these teams. This is not an isolated loss and in recent times I can recall losses and draws against Turkey, Northern Ireland, Gabon, Ecuador etc.
I think we really need to go with a big powerful centre forward or at least trail this concept for friendly games. Eder is perfect for this role and I guess Hugo Almeida (a bit past it and very inconsistent). For the Ecuador game, I would have liked to have seen Eder up front with Postiga (Danny if injured), with Mereiles (great player but well past his best) making way to the bench. Moutinho and Manuel Fernandes (Pepe when fit) should then hold what would be a solid and hard working midfield. I really like Veloso but I think it is time him to go to the bench because he is playing in a low league and subsequently is not at his best. Postiga just isn't strong enough physically to lead the line but he is a work horse, gives his all for the team and gets himself into great positions to score goals. With Eder to help and draw the attention of the defenders, Postiga has more time and space and is far more dangerous. You could also sub Postiga off late when he is tired and bring on Nelson to work with Eder for his extra pace.
In regards to Andre Gomes he is clearly going to get his chance and is the clear replacement for Mereiles in the current system. It is just a matter of time for him. He looks to be a future star of the game.
Bento you are complete idiot!!
24 Thursday, 07 February 2013 04:46
This moron says " we played well , but we made mistake" . How big idiot are you ? You can't have both ways. If you have played well , why did you loose! Bento please quit football , you don't deserve to run this team .
23 Thursday, 07 February 2013 03:36
why is everyome going so crazy , most of equador's players played the whole game or close to it and ronaldo , postiga and other exited after 60 rightfully so to get other players some time...
Hate to say it but Bento should go
22 Thursday, 07 February 2013 03:28
The last 30 minutes of that game were a disaster and the team was completely disorganized as if they had not practiced with all those substitutes.

Bento wasted this friendly. It could have been an opportunity to experiment Eder with Ronaldo so they could get used to each other but no, Bento thinks a Friendly is just a time to play EVERYBODY with NO SYSTEM for what? To give them exercise???

Meireles, a player I once admired, played absolutely terribly but Bento waited until the 80th to take him off. I'm sorry to say but he has no place on this team.

The goals were Eduardo's fault. For the first one, he should not have come out unless he knew he could get the ball. For the second, he should have called the ball as his. The third was excellent but a GOOD keeper would've had at least a hand on it.

Nelson Oliveira is talented but hasn't been playing for his club and should not be playing here...and where was Andre Gomes??? Bento takes him away from our U21 to sit on the bench and watch this disaster???

Bento OUT. Jardim IN.
21 Thursday, 07 February 2013 03:21
Steve, you're right. Why should anyone be shocked by performance and/or result? This has become the norm not the exception.
Portugal played Ecuador and lost 3-2. An Ecuador side that started 6 players that play outside of Ecuador. One is in England, three in Mexico and two in Russia. By the way, four of them were subbed off.

Bento will not change. Remember, this wasn't the time to make changes. It was the time to solidify tactics and players. His words.
What we see, is exactly what we'll get. I'm sure he's already convinced himself that all defensive woes will disappear with Pepe back. Never mind that our wing backs play as forwards. Never mind that our mids are always caught up top. Oh yeah, Micael will fix those ailments.
Ok, maybe I'm being a bit harsh and not given Ecuador enough credit. They currently sit second in World Cup Qualifying in CONMEBOL. But isn't this the type of squad which Bento said best represents our upcoming opponents? Oh oh, this could only mean trouble.

As for the lineup, this is it. Who cares that Nani and Coentrao have been sat down and barely see the field. Both were bad. A cross and/or a nifty flick does not make a game.
Nelson can't find playing time in an awful squad, so sure lets roll him out there. At least he waited until the 80th minute. Danny out wide, umm, sounds right.
Amorin? Lol. At least it's not his fault.
You can just smell the wheels turning in Bento's head; "I get six subs, so I'll bring in 2 at the 60th, 2 at the 70th and 2 at the 80th minute. No matter the score, form, or tactics."
People remember, we all saw good things. Just a couple lapses did us in. Nobody noticed that this should have been a 4-2 defeat. Noooo! All good.

This squad needed an influx of energy and talent. Something to wake up the old standbys. We get nothing.
Should we qualify, it will be more due to the luck of the draw for the playoff. If we get to Brazil, once again, the luck of the draw will dictate our presence. It sure hell it isn't going to be Bento or his managing.
20 Thursday, 07 February 2013 03:14
March should be interesting. That's all I have to say.
Not a team to reckon
19 Thursday, 07 February 2013 02:55
This team has gone from bad to worse . There is no talent. Bad team coach . Pepe should not be playing. Meireles should not be playing either. Ronaldo is too selfish . Nani would not be playing even team in any team .. Absolutely no quality. I don't think Portugal deserves to play in brazil . There are teams that deserves to be there.. How can Bento say that Portugal dominated the game? What matters is the end result.. Truly truly pathetic ..
18 Thursday, 07 February 2013 01:34
Jon, Eduardo plays for Istanbul BB, the 6th place Turkish league team. Several levels below Genoa, and it shows in his performance.

Tony, I'm not sure how someone who admitted to not watching the game can feel like they can criticize my comments. They were toothless. There was no bite to their attack. The Ronaldo goal was a flash of brilliance from Ronaldo and Coentrao. The Nani goal was some great individual work.

Aside from these two occasions, Ecuador were under pressure from Portuguese offence, but not really under any threat. Portugal looked fluid in the first half, but that fizzled out, and this was far from a "team" display.

The real proof is in the pudding: Ecuador attacked a handful of times, and got 3 goals for their efforts. Yes, one was an own goal, but it showed how under-prepared Portugal was.

So yes, they had no real teeth and no heart to fight back from adversity. This has been a recurring theme in their last 4 games. Championship winning teams find a way to break through and shut down their opponents. Bento has not adapted. Like Orlando and a few others have been saying, every team we face know what to expect.

It isn't even like Bento gets the best out of the 4-3-3 formation. VP plays a better version of this formation with Porto, by playing his wide players right at the edge of play, and allowing his midfield to spread the ball around and create opportunities. The NT attack starts wide but ends with Ronaldo, Nani, Postiga, Meireles and Moutingo all standing within 5-8 feet of each other, cluttering up the 18 yard box.

It may be time for Bento to change tactics or ship out.
Not That Bad - Not Good
17 Thursday, 07 February 2013 01:22
I think Portugal would have won the game had it been a "real" game and not a friendly. Portugal had the better of the chances with Ronaldo and Nani and Postiga in the game. The defense and MF were not great, but Portugal was better.

When Ronaldo and Postiga went out at 62 minutes and Nani and Veloso at 73 minutes, Portugal lost all offensive cohesiveness. I would have liked to see Eder in the game with Ronaldo and Nani. I'm not blaming the subs for the loss, they never play together, but what little plan Portugal brought for the game, was gone once the subs came in.

Also, Eduardo basically lost this game by himself. The first goal was all his fault. The second goal was a comedy of errs.
Ecuador.... REALLY!!!!
16 Thursday, 07 February 2013 00:53
the only difference between myself and Chris is that he still has a slim hope of this squad making it to Brasil.... i gave that up months ago.... the best before date of the NT team was over five years ago already....
and you heard it hear first, CR7 will be hanging up his boots from the NT following this already shot WC qualifying round.... the weight of having to carry Portugal and having to answer for the squads failures has probably taken its toll on him....
A few fixes will help
15 Thursday, 07 February 2013 00:51
1. Patricio has to start, not Eduardo
2. Coentrao needs to stop ball-watching and play more like his WC 2010 self
Why are you so shocked???
14 Thursday, 07 February 2013 00:16
No suprises here. This team doesn't have the talent of teams past. Ronaldo is world class, and Moutinho and Pepe a step below......that's it. Like Queiros said recently, the golden generation is passed and that level of talent does not exist currently. And Carvalho retiring made it worse, b/c he is still playing better than most cenrals we have. Why do so many people presume Portugal will punch above its weight? What you see is what you get.
Bento has got to go
13 Thursday, 07 February 2013 00:09
Paulo Bento just has to go. How many times must this moron choose the same formation with the same useless players??? Eder, quite possibly the best Portuguese center forward since Fernando Gomes, is left on the bench again. Nani, who has been in horrific form for both club and country, starts again. Yes, he did well to create Postiga’s goal, but his overall performance was incredibly frustrating. Where is Pizzi??? He has been in spectacular form in La Liga, yet he isn’t even called up!

What ever happened to Eduardo? He was outstanding in South Africa, but his form has diminished dramatically since his move to Genoa. Since then, he’s rivaled Beto as O Rei dos frangos. Why not give Cluj’s Mario Felgueiras a shot. He was arguably the best goal-keeper in the Champions League group stages. I’d rather have him than the frango brothers.

Raul Meireles is good at pressing, but not much else. I honestly don’t see why he starts every game when we have much better options (Danny, Manuel Fernandes, Andre Gomes). Joao Moutinho, yet again, was the only midfielder who played well. Veloso is not a traditional #6 and it was easy to see as he was repeatedly exposed when defending Ecuador in transition. Moutinho and Meireles push too far forward at times and this leaves Veloso extremely susceptible to counter attacks.

Veloso did brilliantly in the euros as a #6, but our tactics were completely different. Portugal, as a whole, were much more conservative in their approach, defending and pressing as a unit and attacking in transition. We were extremely well organized off the ball, restricting our opposition from creating many chances. We played against offensive teams, so this tactic worked quite well.

In qualifiers and friendlies, we typically play against defensive sides, so we become a positive, possession oriented team. Thus, Veloso is frequently isolated with Meireles and Moutinho pushing forward. Today he was completely useless when defending counter attacks, giving our already pathetic defense absolutely no cover at all. While he’s not great defensively, I think he would do better with another holding midfielder in a 4-2-3-1

This game also showed us how important Pepe is to this team. He was our best player at the Euros and our defense is completely lost without him. Coentrao was excellent going forward, but was caught out of position more than once. What makes it worse is that Bruno Alves has to cover him. Like Veloso, Bruno is better suited to playing with a deep line of defense. He is agonizingly slow, making him extremely susceptible to counters. He really struggles against quick attackers, and he offers very little cover for Coentrao.

Luis Neto wasn’t brilliant, but definitely did enough to solidify himself as Portugal’s second best center-back. He is much better suited to play a high defensive line than Alves. He doesn’t offer the same aerial threat on set-pieces, but he’s the better overall defender. Joao Pereira still looks to be a defensive liability for us. The less said about his own goal, the better. Andre Almeida anyone?

So what can be done to improve the Seleccao’s defense while also adding some bite to the attack? The answer is simple: 4-2-3-1.

In a 4-2-3-1, Veloso would always have a midfielder by his side (preferably Moutinho) thus making us far less susceptible to counter attacks. It also gives Danny a chance to play in his favored attacking midfielder role behind the center forward (preferably Eder). This would make Portugal a little more similar to Real Madrid. Ronaldo will be given the chance to roam around the final third and cut in from his favored left-wing position. Danny, like Ozil, would also be free to move around the pitch, swapping positions with the wingers and adding a bit of creativity. Both Ozil and Danny specialize in counter attacking as well.

Moutinho and Veloso would sit back, shielding the defense while also dominating possession. Having two holding midfielders will make us more solid defensively while also giving Danny the freedom to push forward and create. Moreover, with two holding midfielders, Coentrao and Pereira will have more defensive cover.

Now knowing Bento, he’ll stick with the same players and the same predictable formation. I still think we’ll progress to the world cup (via the playoffs of course) due to the sheer brilliance of our captain. Nevertheless, we’ll have plenty of agonizing friendlies and qualifiers in the process. There is no excuse for this. We have more than enough talent to win every game in qualification. Our current form in unacceptable.

This would be my preferred starting 11 in our upcoming qualifyers.


Fire Bento!

I’d honestly rather have Jorge Jesus
12 Wednesday, 06 February 2013 23:58
Poor defending at the back for most part. I thought Neto got better as game wore on and maybe should of had help on that last Equador goal. Team for last few games has really lacked creativity especially against well congested defences. I thought CR7 Moutinho were Portugals better players on the night often two of them leading attacks sometimes with no help. When Nani is smart in possesion and applys right time for pass or shot he is great; when he holds ball too long crossing is sub par we are screaming for Varela. He had the cross to Postiga, but he still has consistancy issues, and for me he is better than Varela so

Have to wonder if your not going to change formations, or tactics; or experiment what could be fringe players in friendlys than when. Bento is far too predictable and stubborn. You need to adapt for when the situation calls for it. Now of course we are all armchair coaches but we can all see our guys can be offenively challenged, nice build up but no final result. Danny plays but out wide again. Oliveira comes in with Eder but or best player has been subbed by that point. I believe we can qualify however if we are to it will be in spite of bento not because of him

I was never too fond of Bento but he adapted well and he made some good decisions In Euros in relation to subs and at what point in the game to bring them on. March qualifiers are crucial lets hope Bento can come up with a gameplan B if we need one
Just a Friendly But Some Alarming Themes
11 Wednesday, 06 February 2013 23:51
Given this was friendly I did not put a huge effort into adjusting my schedule to watch. I trust people like Orlando Mac and the rest of the crew to provide the tea leaves.

What have we learned:

1) Is Bento stubborn or do we lack quality talent making a our margin for error very small? I think it is both.

2) Defensive breakdowns have been a theme in WC qualifying and into this friendly. Seems like we lose concentration and give up some soft goals. This can be fixed with concentration and discipline. The problem is do we have too many players out of form and declining which cannot be fixed with our current depth problem and few good players in the 20-25 range.

I tend to believe with the talent we despite being out of form will improve.

3) Bento can be stubborn but I really think he is limited by the lack of depth. I still believe he should call up Fernandes, Eliseu, and Pizzi to give this team more speed, creativity, and flexibility. Perhaps look at 2 strikers though I am not sure we have two strikers who merit playing together the entire game. Still not sold on Eder and Nelson O has not developed.

4) Qualification will be based on the first 11-14 players on this squad. We must remember in the qualifiers there will be a strong core playing and less subs to lessen the disruption in play. The depth is lacking but I do believe the three players mentioned will provide better depth than players like Amorim.

5) The reality is this team is not great, it is a pretty good team with little margin for error or key injuries. I cannot believe Chris in Canada says this team has no teeth, heart and ability to fight back from adversity. Is this based on one game? This team is frustrating and lacks some talent but history has shown this team will play hard with heart. I am the most critical fan but I can not except this team has no heart. I think we demonstrated heart in the past. What is lacking is more World Class talent and cutting edge. Effort can only take you so far.

We can still qualify and I am sure we will put forth the effort.
The team needs work and cohesion
10 Wednesday, 06 February 2013 23:37
Bunch of individuals, some of whom are in bad club form, some of whom had their heads up their a**es. I thought I read they only had one practice together this week. Don't give up hope yet. Pepe was out. Coentrao and Nani off form. Moutinho did not play well. Eduardo, Veloso, and Pereira were on the pitch physically but mentally somewhere else. By the time Bento sent all the subs on the lack of practice and cohesion really showed. I also think the Selecao was not expecting the physical and at times thuggish play of the Equadorians. Only payback I saw was from Alves who always has a mean streak. Only bright spot was Neto who a few good moments.Great show on Ronaldos goal.
No excuses
9 Wednesday, 06 February 2013 22:55
Had to live with watching this on a freezing stream for 90 minutes.. So I didn't see much but what I did see was Portugal lose and Danny playing on the wing.. pretty much same line up and tactics. What else does he have to do to get fired? This is ridiculous.
8 Wednesday, 06 February 2013 22:39
It is official, the national team is mediocre at best. I think this is a good reality check for us fans. It has become painfully obvious that our team is run by a stubborn idiot who refuses to change his formation or tactics.

Sure, the team looked good attacking at the onset, but Ecuador was able to score effectively in such few chances. We have no teeth, no heart, no ability to battle back from adversity.

For those of you who have gone on about how Eduardo is our best GK, let this serve as a lesson to you all.

Disillusioned and giving up hope for making it to Brasil.
7 Wednesday, 06 February 2013 22:29
they are not superior to this team at all. They have no sense of team. Only individual prowess.
6 Wednesday, 06 February 2013 20:45
I take it back, I just saw that Neto will get the nod.
The site I was looking at had, Costa starting.
Eduardo has to be a huge surprise at this point.
5 Wednesday, 06 February 2013 20:20
Silly me, thinking Bento would have gone for Neto when the failed Costa was available.

I guess Scolari wanted to make sure Bento wasn't the only foolish one. How exactly does Ronaldinho and Fabiano start?
starting line upp
4 Wednesday, 06 February 2013 19:59
both bad coentrao should start on the second one, and the second line up would be strong and should start
good list
3 Wednesday, 06 February 2013 19:51
I would love to see that line up played, just to see the dynamics.
2 Wednesday, 06 February 2013 18:43
Any news on the Ecuador squad/team?
1 Wednesday, 06 February 2013 18:28
The lineup will be:
--- Patricio ---
- Pereira - Alves - Neto - Coentrao -
----- Moutinho - Veloso - Meireles -----
- Nani ------ Postiga ------ Cristiano -

What the lineup should be:

--- Patricio ---
- Pereira - Alves - Neto - Eliseu -
----- Fernandes - Moutinho -------
- Varela - Danny - Cristiano -
---------- Eder ----------

Pepe could step in once healthy.
I would also bring on Pizzi and Gomes and Veloso as the three primary subs. Since there's six allowed let Nani, Meireles and Coentrao get a run.

Please keep in mind that this would be my lineup for this match. We can tweak it for qualifiers, based on performance and opponent.

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