After the emotional anguish of Portugal's 3-3 draw against Hungary, PortuGOAL.net gained some inside perspective from the players and Hungary manager, Bernd Storck.

Portugal's first goalscorer, Nani, and Jose Fonte were both on-hand to describe the incredible encounter.

PortuGOAL.net: Nani you had received some criticism before this tournament, do you think your performances have responded well to that?

Nani: "Every time I play for the national team I try my best, sometimes I play better, sometimes not so well, that's football. (listen to audio for more)

 

 

PortuGOAL.net: What was it like watching that match?

Jose Fonte: "Yeah a heart-attack, hard to watch!" (listen to audio for more)

 

Bernd Storck 

 

Adam Nagy

 

Interviewer - Nathan Motz

 

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  • Guest - Matteo

    Hi,
    What a game was this! Congratulate both teams.
    Did you even think that Hungary will performe that well?
    What is your opinon?

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  • I think Hungary has a great chance to make it far. They have been very solid so far and have shown a winning mentality. Beating Austria soundly in first game and coming back to tie Iceland shows they can handle pressure. They had a lot of integrity to try to beat Portugal straight up and nearly did had that ball not hit the post. But who knows maybe Portugal would have tied it again, LOL. I think if they go with the same attitude of no pressure like they did with Portugal, I think they can go far.

    Belgium have failed to impress. Had Ireland not tried to attack as hard as they did, they would not have been exposed to two brutal counter attacks which led to Lukaku goals. I would follow the Italy template if I were Hungary and I think they win.

    Wales or Northern Ireland would be easy. Bale has given Wales a boost, but overall Hungary has better quality. After that, Portugal again? That would be great. Who knows?

    This tournament shows the quality and strategy in European soccer. Most teams are dangerous, you have to respect everyone. Parking the bus and getting a counter attack goal or set piece or corner, can win you the game.

    Austria was considered by many pundits as a dark horse in this tournament. Went undefeated in qualifying. But lost twice when they played straight up in this group and should have lost when they parked the bus against Portugal(Penalty kick miss by Ronaldo.

    Best of luck to Hungary, unless they play Portugal again. ;)

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  • Guest - Andre/UK

    Some more thoughts: I think we clearly need a change in midfield, especially as we will be playing against one of the best midfields in the tournament in Croatia. In my (and a lot of others) opinion, Renato Sanches must start the match as he can definitely provide the dynamism and spark in midfield that we have lacked so far. But most of these comments I've been reading only see Renato as an alternative to Moutinho. I don't see why this is the case, and I can't see why they can't both play together. They are not at all the same type of player. Renato is much more energetic and physical and can run with the ball and get past players. Moutinho is more of an orchestrator in the middle and a distributor of the ball. I think we need Moutinho's experience against Croatia's strong midfield, but we also need Renato's energetic play, and so I would play both of them together. I would drop Andre Gomes who has looked sluggish (perhaps he's not totally fit?) and bring in Renato.

    As for the attack, difficult to know whats the best option. To me we are crying out for a center forward, but Eder is just not the option. He would still be best coming off the bench in my opinion, but with more time than just the last few minutes. Nani can be infuriating to watch, but he has a goal threat and his 2 goals were crucial for us, so we can't drop him now. Quaresma made a huge difference after coming on against Hungary and he and Ronaldo play well together, so he should start ahead of the (so far) unimpressive Joao Mario. Ronaldo and Nani alternating as the false center-forward. Eder, or even Rafa Silva to bring off the bench (but with time), if we need to be more direct in the second half.

    Regarding the defence, I think Carvalho is a phenomenal CB, but at 38 he just doesnt have the legs anymore to play every minute, and another demanding game just 3 days after the last one. So I would bring in Fonte for this match, and if we win it then bring back Carvalho for the quarters. But anyone who watched yesterday could clearly see Carvalho needs a rest. Full back is also an issue for sure. I'm not as crazy about Guerreiro as a lot of others are. But then again Eliseu didn't take his chance either yesterday, so Guerreiro should get the start against the Croats as he's played more and so to keep the momentum and continuity.

    Here's what I'd go for against Croatia:
    ------------------Patricio-------------------
    Vierinha----Fonte-----Pepe------Guerreiro
    ------------------William----------------
    -----Moutinho----Renato-----
    Quaresma--------Nani----------Ronaldo

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  • Guest - jon/usa

    Andre, I agree that Fernando Santos does not have to drop Moutinho in order to play Renato, but I would still stick with Joao Mario in a narrow 4-4-2. In Modric and Rakitic, Croatia have two of the best midfielders in Europe. Therefore, I think it would be best to clog the midfield with four central midfielders, thereby giving Croatia's midfield maestros very little space and time to dictate the tempo of the game. You don't necessarily need Moutinho to play the killer pass when you have the intelligence and guile of Joao Mario and the explosive pace and athleticism of Renato at your disposal. Moutinho simply needs to use his experience to close passing lanes, press Modric and Rakitic, and play possession retaining passes to his more attack-minded teammates.

    It is also important to note that Vieirinha was a teammate of Ivan Perisic (By far Croatia's most dangerous player in their front three and in my opinion, the most dynamic and most consistent attacking player of the group stage) for several years at Wolfsburg. Now while that doesn't guarantee that he is going to keep him in his pocket for the entire match, it does help to have a right-back who is extremely familiar with our opponents most dangerous attacking player.

    I also think Ricardo Carvalho could use a rest after three games in quick succession. Therefore, if I were Santos, I would go with this 11:

    ------------------------------------------------------------Ronaldo-------------------------------------Nani---------------------------------------------------------------------
    --------------------------Renato---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Mario----------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------------William-------------------Moutinho-----------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------Guerreiro-----------------------------------Fonte-----------------------------------Pepe-----------------------------------------Vieirinha-----------

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  • Guest - DL

    Put simply, Portugal played better on Saturday than they did Wednesday despite the lack of goals.

    Play the 4-3-3, play the wingers on the wing, put Rafa Silva in to start, Quaresma is a monster off the bench and let's not waste that, let's get the win over Croatia and let's take advantage of the draw we've been given.

    Hopeful 11:

    Patricio
    Vieririnha - Pepe - Carvalho - Raphael
    Danilo
    Mario - Gomes
    Ronaldo - Nani - Rafa

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  • Guest - Hareesh,Kerala/India

    Rated 3 out of 5 stars

    The formation that brought fame and victories to Portugal in the previous tournaments was 4-2-3-1.Why can't Portugal play this again?Portugal should dominate the ball and this formation is very much suitable for that.

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  • Guest - SupremoGino

    A few interesting things to point out for Portugal vs. Croatia

    - Croatia has accumulated 8 yellow cards so far in the tournament (Strinic, Brozovic, Badelj, Vida, Vrsaljko, Perisic, Srna, and Rog)
    - Portugal has accumulated just 2 yellow cards in the tournament (Pepe, Quaresma)

    According to Article 48 section 3 of UEFA Disciplinary Law and Procedures: Yellow cards expire on completion of the quarter-finals. They are not carried to the semi-finals. Croatia will be wary of this and it may lead them to not take many risks.

    - Referee for this match is Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP)

    Be aware of this ref who gives out yellow cards frequently. Here is the stats from just the last 5 matches he officiated:

    Slovakia 0-0 England - Yellow card x2
    Albania 0-1 Switzerland - Yellow card x6 + Red card x1 (2nd yellow)
    Al Ahli 2-1 Al Nassr - Yellow card x4 + Red card x1
    Valencia 0-1 Real Sociedad - Yellow card x4
    Sevilla 2-0 Real Betis - Yellow card x9

    Averaging 5 yellow cards per match and it gets worse.

    That's an angle where Portugal will have the edge. Just need Pepe to take his calm medicine.


    My Lineup

    Patricio
    Cedric----Pepe----Fonte----Guerriero
    -------------Danilo----William--------------
    -----------Mario------Moutinho-------------
    ---------------Nani--Ronaldo----------------

    Subs: Andre Gomes IN Mario OUT, Sanches IN Moutinho OUT, Quaresma IN Nani OUT.

    Fonte in. It's very important that Carvalho gets some rest. This will be the 3rd game in 8 days. Full-backs Cedric and Guerreiro return (the obviously better replacements for Eliseu and Vierinha) They should bomb forward on every attack to provide the width/crosses. Danilo and William will bring some much needed height and physicality to stifle Croatia's midfield. They will also need to provide the cover for Cedric and Guerreiro at all times (height disadvantages) but more specifically when Portugal has possession in the final third. Moutinho ball distributor. Mario the playmaker operating more up field. Hope Santos will instruct him to stay central. Nani and Ronaldo the front two.

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  • Croatia haven't impressed me defensively in this tournament. They have however impressed me offensively. I think Portugal can cause their defense lots of problems. We will see who has the better offense I guess. Pepe, will need to have a big game. We all know he is capable.

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  • Guest - SupremoGino

    Portugal National Anthem

    I've been wanting to mention. Can the people in France/UEFA match coordinators stop botching the first 5 seconds of our national anthem?

    Pretty sure it's suppose to go like this: https://youtu.be/6XWYkq1UvMI

    Unlike what has played the last 3 games.. sounds uninspiring.

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  • Great comments from everyone

    2 days break is harsh. Will be tough even with the changes that I'd expect Santos to make. Good thing is Renato and William should be fresh. Bad thing is Ronaldo and the defenders will all be tired which is a bad thing. We are on the good side of the draw though, which is a positive, and finishing 3rd might actually have been the best outcome for Portugal or at least better than playing England in the bad half of the draw.

    Looking forward to the game and win loose or draw will be supporting the team

    Thanks

    Steve

    from Melbourne VIC, Australia
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"Yesterday (in the Porto-Portimonense pre-match press conference) I was asked 10 questions and 8 were about Benfica. Then my words were completely twisted."

Sérgio Conceição
(Porto coach explains why he refused to answer questions in the flash interview)

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