Portugal 3-0 Hungary

André Silva scored one and created another for Cristiano Ronaldo as Portugal defeated Hungary in front of a sellout crowd at the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon.

In stark contrast to the chaotic group stage encounter between the two sides at Euro 2016, Portugal were composed, if at times unspectacular, and deservedly secured victory while allowing only one shot on target all evening.

Fernando Santos surprised almost everyone by excluding Bernardo Silva in favor of André Gomes despite the former's excellent season with club side AS Monaco. Ricardo Quaresma's inclusion and the associated switch to a 4-3-3 was also not readily anticipated, meanwhile William was favored in place of Danilo for the holding midfield role.

Bernd Storck had clearly instructed his men not to lie in wait for Portugal's attacks, and much of the initial exchanges were characterized by Hungary's diligent possession and movement of the ball. Portugal gradually developed their passing game but found little room to advance into the attacking third.

Cédric directed a rather hopeful headed attempt on target in the 10th minute that was comfortable for Gulacsi. Minutes later Ronaldo saw a free kick deflected out for a corner after Andrè Silva was brought down within shooting range, but Hungary gave away precious little opportunity for Portugal to create chances through the first quarter hour.

Portugal's persistence eventually began to wear down Hungary's organization however, and Ronaldo really should have done better when Quaresma found him unmarked with a cross from the left side of the penalty area in the 20th minute. 

But the Seleção found their way through just after the half hour mark. Cristiano Ronaldo received the ball just over midfield and spun brilliantly away from his marker then found Raphael Guerreiro unmarked on the left wing. The Borussia Dortmund playmaker had all the time he needed to get forward and pick out André Silva at the back post, and the 21 year old Porto phenomenon made no mistake.

But Silva showed he is capable of more than just finishing only minutes later when he controlled a cross-field pass with an exquisite back-heel straight into the path of Ronaldo, who doubled Portugal's lead with a controlled finish into the bottom left corner.

Portugal were brimming with confidence and continued to pour forward. Ronaldo turned a João Mário cross over the top into a bicycle kick effort on target in the 40th minute as Hungary struggled to contain the home side's testing of their defences. 

Ronaldo scores 70th international goal

Bernd Storck had seen enough and made one change to start the 2nd half. Portugal kept the game in front of them while Hungary labored to create openings. But Cristiano Ronaldo put the game out of reach in the 65th minute with a direct free kick that picked out the bottom right corner, his 9th goal in four World Cup qualifying matches. 

Portugal fans finally got what they were waiting for in the 67th minute when Bernardo came on for André Silva. Hungary recorded their first shot on target minutes later when Dzsudzsak sent in a volley from 35 yards. Bernardo headed over in the 85th minute from the center of the penalty area after great work from Quaresma on the wing, but Portugal were content to see out the result from a place of reserved control.

While not quite at top gear, Portugal yet again secured victory with a lopsided scoreline courtesy of the superior quality of their strikers. André Silva scored his 5th goal for Portugal while Ronaldo only ever seems to improve for Portugal despite his age. The Portugal captain was involved in every goal and nearly every attacking movement, dropping deep to receive the ball and showing the usual repertoire of skillful footwork and guile. 

The defence, though rarely troubled, did what was asked of them in maintaining another clean sheet with both Cédric and Guerreiro active in the the offensive build-up in wide areas of the pitch. The enigma that is André Gomes maintained adequate control of midfield, but it must be said that this performance will not have won over fans convinced that Bernardo should have started in his place.

Finally, Ricardo Quaresma was surprisingly good despite his reputation as a not always consistent performer when introduced into the starting XI. Like Ronaldo, his influence seems to grow as he ages, and his endless array of dribbling innovations was as present and troublesome for the Hungarian defence as ever.

Portugal will round out this international break with a friendly against Sweden in Madeira on Tuesday. 

  

by Nathan Motz 

Starting lineups:

Portugal: Rui Patrício, Cédric, Pepe, José Fonte, Raphael Guerreiro, William Carvalho, João Mário (Moutinho, 83'), André Gomes (Pizzi, 86'), Ricardo Quaresma, Cristiano Ronaldo, André Silva (Bernardo Silva, 67')

Hungary: Peter Gulacsi, Mihaly Korhut, Tamas Kadar, Vinicius, Adam Lang, Adam Nagy, Balazs Dzsudzsak, Zoltan Gera, Adam Gyurcsco (Kalmár, 69'), Barnabas Bese (Lovrencsics, 46'), Adam Szalai  

Goals

[1-0] André Silva, 32'

[2-0] Cristiano Ronaldo, 36'

[3-0] Cristiano Ronaldo, 65'

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  • Guest - SupremoGino

    I also disagree with the the people giving Andre Gomes harsh treatment. He is only 23 and somewhat halted at Barca but we already seen the adversary our players can go through when they move prematurely to the biggest clubs. He was one of our best rated midfielders during his time at Valencia. I agree Bernardo should be ahead in the pecking order but Gomes is still a very capable midfielder compared to the ones we had in these last couple cycles. I disagree with Andrew -NY though.. Bernardo is naturally a central / attacking mid. I don't understand what goes on in the NT seeing our top attacking mids get converted to the wing. The same thing happened with Danny.. it's doesn't make sense especially given the depth we've enjoyed at wide areas for years upon years and the lack thereof at the central positions until the Euros came around. I hope Santos uses Bernardo at mid sometime and he doesn't fall in the same trap.

    Portugal played well after the 30' mark, Andre Silva's goal was a very nicely executed build up and CR's were world class. Poor Hungary got outclassed by Portugal in the end and now it's a two horse race between us and Switzerland for automatic qualification and playoffs. By the way.. did anyone watch the Swiss game? They barely scrapped a win today against a Latvian side I could see us putting 6 past. They are vulnerable defensively, and very poor finishers. They had a SIX on TWO fast break in the dying moments of that game, and failed to even muster a shot attempt. I mean seriously?? and we somehow lost to these clowns.. What a joke. If Portugal does not beat them comfortably in October we deserve to suffer through another playoff.

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  • Guest - fct

    I have to agree with Andrew in regards to the Gomes assessment. I am not the biggest fan of Andre Gomes, but his inclusion didn't keep Bernardo out of the starting line-up - RQ7 did! Gomes in fact had a solid, albeit unspectacular game. He did what he does well - maintain possession and make the simple pass. Important qualities for controlling the pace of the game.

    I was also really hoping to see Silva reproduce some of that Monaco magic on to the international stage so I was disappointing not to see him in the starting line-up and even though I admit RQ7 had a decent game, I still disagree with the decision to leave Silva out of the starting line-up. The kid has been on fire and is arguable the most in form player in Europe. When he finally came in he was initially playing up front in a 4-4-2 which does not suit his skill set, and consequently, I thought he looked anonymous - As I was watching him I couldn't help but think of Danny, and how he never reached his potential for Portugal because he was rarely played in his favoured position. It's obviously very early in Bernardo's international career but I hope that Santo's doesn't make the same mistake with him. The kid needs to play in the middle of the park in a 4-4-2 ,preferable wide on the right, or wide up front in the right in a 4-3-3. He has terrorized defenders all year for Monaco in their 4-4-2 as a right mid - put the kid in a position where he can excel. It will benefit him and the Selecao!

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  • Guest - Andre/UK

    It was a slow opening spell to the match, but as soon the opening goal went in we were all over Hungary for the remainder of the match. The team really showed what it's capable of and we simply need more of the same in each of the remaining games in this group. I firmly believe that there are few national teams (if any) in the world today with a greater abundance of talent across all positions than Portugal. The amount of talent we have on the bench, and even those not called up at all for this squad (e.gs, Goncalo Guedes, Jota, Rafa Silva, Coentrao etc etc) is unreal. With this amount of talent available we simply have to give a good account of ourselves at the Confeds cup this summer and at the world cup next summer.

    I too would have liked to have seen Bernardo start over Quaresma, but having said that Quaresma did have a good game. It's only a matter of time until Bernardo is a first choice starter though, that's pretty clear. I also think Andre Gomes did quite well despite all the criticism. He offers a physical presence that some of the other CMs don't and once he gets going is very good with distribution and keeping possession. As others have said, it's great to have all these CM options and the healthy competition for the places. William showed further in this match that he's the first choice DM. He keeps things simple, but always stays in position and blocks off counter attacks very well. Andre Silva did very well in the first half with his goal and assist, and it's very clear we've found our first choice CF.

    Well I fully expect us to be at the World Cup next summer. Even if we have to go through the playoffs again, I still totally believe we'll make it, there's just too much talent in our football at the moment not to be there. I still think we'll likely win the group too, as someone mentioned Switzerland barely scraped a 1-0 win at home to Latvia last night. I'm sure Switzerland will drop points at least once before we play them on the last matchday. So we just need more of the same that we saw yesterday, and we can definitely win all the remaining games.

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  • Guest - jon/usa

    As others have mentioned, this was an impressively comfortable performance from Fernando Santos' men. We were rarely troubled defensively, sharp and incisive in possession, and ruthless with our finishing. Portugal have been scoring goals for fun since the Euros and I think a lot of this has to do with Andre Silva's introduction into the starting 11. He is the first quality center-forward we have had since Pauleta, and he definitely has the potential to be the best #9 we have had in decades. His ability to play as an out-an-out center-forward enables Ronaldo to operate in a free role in between the lines, something he is has rarely given the license to do over the course of his career for both club and country. We have seen him play primarily on the left wing, as a center-forward, and as part of a mobile front two alongside Nani, but I am pretty sure that this is the first time he has had the opportunity to play as a second-striker behind an out and out center-forward. This freedom has movement lets Ronaldo float all over the pitch, making him extremely difficult to mark, thereby dragging defenders way out of their position which in turn creates a great deal of space for Andre Silva to exploit. Moreover, in Andre Silva, Portugal now have two proper targets in the box for crosses, which means that opposition defenders can no longer double or triple mark Ronaldo in the box when we have the ball out wide.

    Portugal at times, did look like a 4-3-3 when it possession, but for the most part, Fernando Santos still had them playing in his preferred 4-4-2 set up, especially without the ball. Quaresma and Mario were on the flanks, Andre Silva played up top, and Ronaldo drifted in between the lines. Quaresma had his customary moments of magic, but I still feel he is better suited to play as an impact sub. Bernardo Silva has been absolutely brilliant all season long as an inverted right-winger for Monaco, so why not let him play in that exact same role for the Seleccao? Andre Gomes wasn't great, but he didn't play that poorly either. His talent is undeniable, but he currently isn't playing with a lot confidence at the moment. I still feel Adrien, Joao Moutinho, and even Joao Mario should be ahead of Gomes in the #8 spot. Renato Sanches, like Quaresma, should continue to be utilized as an impact sub.

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  • Guest - George

    Hello all! Just wanted to chip in my two cents to the conversation:

    I have to say I also don't understand the hate towards Andre Gomes. At least, not based on yesterday's performance. I'm not a Gomes fan, and when I seen he was in the starting 11 and Bernardo wasn't, I damn near blew a gasket, but, I thought his performance yesterday against Hungary was the best he's ever had for the senior squad. He worked with William, in particular, very well. Do I want to see him consistently starting for Portugal? No. But, for the first time, I understood what he brought to the team, and I was pleased with his performance. When he screws up, it's fair to blame him, but I don't want to see us turn into Barcelona fans and pile it on him just because it's the en vogue thing to do.

    I think Fernando Santos realizes how good Bernardo is but he chose familiarity over form for this particular make or break fixture with Hungary. If he continues to do this moving forward, it'll be a mistake, but, for this match, it proved to be the right decision. I expect to see Bernardo starting against Latvia and in the Confederations Cup where we'll be afforded a little more room to breathe.

    I hope to eventually see the midfield we saw for the U21s: William, Bernardo, Joao Mario. They were fantastic 2 years ago at the Euros. Throw another midfielder in there in a 442, and I believe they could be lights out. In terms of Joao Mario, it's worth noting that he hasn't quite adjusted to life in Italy yet, so, once he does, and once he gets regular game time, I believe you'll see his true quality come out for Portugal. As it stands he's been solid, but unspectacular for Portugal, which, if I'm honest, I'm actually grateful for. Don't forget that it wasn't that long ago where we had players like Carlos Martins starting in midfield. Thank God those days are over....

    Lastly, I agree with what everyone's said about Switzerland - they suck. They struggled to scrap a result against Latvia and did the same to beat Andorra if I'm not mistaken. The only reason they beat us is because we were short handed in our opening qualifying match, and, we believed our own hype and had a letdown after winning the Euro. That won't happen again. Santos and Ronaldo won't let it happen.

    I despise Switzerland, they're an average side at best yet they manage to do well in qualifying and find themselves in "Pot 1" come World Cup draw time, avoiding all the big boys and relegating Portugal to multiple groups of death in the process. NOT THIS TIME! I want Portugal to beat them to the top of this group! This is a team that's not good enough to get past Ireland, Serbia, Wales, Greece, Iceland, etc. much less Portugal. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see them drop points against the Faroe Islands.

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  • Guest - George
    Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    Well said George.

    When Barcelona loses somehow its a bit players fault (Gomes). Media and fans will never say why Gomes really gets the shaft in Spain...we all know why. Same reason Cancelo and Nani get picked on at Valencia.

    Gomes did score his last game out for Barca and he did put in a solid performance for the Selecao on Saturday so lets hope he can turn the negativity around. In his case the negativity is not deserved.

    from Burlington, ON, Canada
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  • The chemistry between Ronaldo and Guerreiro is as good as it was between Ronaldo and Coentrão. André Silva with Ronaldo is the best pairing in the danger zone. I did not like the first 30 minutes at all. Portugal were unfocused and not precise if not to say sloppy. The fabulously simple combination with Ronaldo - Guerreiro - Silva - Goal was the turning point. Ronaldo running fast towards the defenders pushed them two steps back, giving Guerreiro space and taking André Silva out from his offside position. Just great. From then, Hungary have'n had any chance to avoid the inevitable. All in all well done. And Ricardo Quaresma of course, he was class. The superb cross in the 19th minute perfect timed on Ronaldo's head would usually have been a 100% goal for the seleção, but Cristiano failed. João Mario rarely played well the role of the creative playmaker - but over all he was disapointing. Instead of his style of play, I'd rather see a more physical, more dynamic style of player - like the player all would like Renato Sanches to be one day. In the present, it would therefore be worth considering Danilo as the starting No. 6. With João Mario, André Gomes and William in midfield, there is a lack of dynamism. Don't forget, that Pepe used to do rushes in his best days and has always been an important factor in game-opening. Pepe is still a 1st class central defender. But others have to take the ball and rush forward and put the opponents central midfield under pressure. Cédric was solid, Fonte as well. Bernardo Silva has not yet found his place in this team and I can imagine, Fernando Santos has sometimes head ache. Such a great player, but probably difficult to fit into the system.

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  • Guest - Brandon

    Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    I was very excited to see Gomes get the green light to start. He had a decent game. As previously mentioned, he is only 23. He needs more time to mature and grow into the position that demands a lot more than was asked of him at Valencia. He is a quality player, and I am confident that him, Mario, and William (though I prefer Danillo) will be a great trio. The inclusion of Renato Sanches will come as time goes on. Bernardo Silva will also get is time to shine. Santos will not play the same 11 players every single game. Just be patient and trust in the maestro. Andre Silva is already well earned his place in the starting 11.

    from Connecticut, USA
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  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    I wanted to talk about the players who perhaps get forgotten on the squad. Cedric Soares has become a top end right back. It seems he is a player who brings his A game all the time. Equally good at attacking and defending and a natural born right back (not a makeshift one). He along with Rafael and Fonte-Pepe were standouts.

    With Rafael and Cedric it is almost as if Portugal play with 4 wingers. They are so good at moving the ball up the pitch and choosing the right times to attack. It all seems so effortless. I cant believe how Rafael Guereiro has all made us forget the fantastic Coentrao. That is a testament to this greatness. Scary thing about Guereiro is he can only get better.

    With the retirement of Alonso, Renato Sanches should get his time to shine at Bayern next season and I think the midfield will include him when the WC rolls around. That kid is just much too talented to be a bench player for long. The only thing Portugal lack in the middle is grit and pace, Renato can bring that.

    from Burlington, ON, Canada
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  • Guest - Nathan

    Regarding Andre Gomes, I certainly don't question his ability or potential. I do, however, wonder if he is the best choice in central midfield right now. Furthermore it isn't necessarily an insult to point that out, it's just a rational assessment of his current performance. He certainly wasn't overrun against Hungary, but he misplaced some simple passes and was dispossessed a little too easily at times, very similar to how he's playing for Barca. I think fans should certainly be patient with him AND I think it's ok to say that his current form is currently not to the standard required of Portugal's starting central midfielder, especially in light of the talent sitting on the bench behind him. For example I really think Bernardo would be awesome for this squad in central midfield.

    Things could certainly change as time goes on, and I do want to be clear that I fully expect Gomes to recover his form at Barcelona at some point. But again, right now, I don't know that he's played well enough to justify his inclusion in Portugal's starting XI. Renato Sanches is in the same boat. For me, Bernardo, Pizzi, Moutinho, and Adrien (when fit) are more deserving of the starting job.

    Between now and next year's World Cup, I fully expect things to change. In Russia next summer, I think we'll see one of Andre Gomes or Renato Sanches take over central midfield. Bernardo will probably need to outcompete either Quaresma or Joao Mario since Santos wants to play him out wide.

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