Portugal’s hopes of a second successive summer of glory ended tonight in Kazan as Chile won the Confederations Cup semi-final in a penalty shootout.

There was little to choose between the two sides in a close-fought match, although Chile created the better and more numerous chances in 120 goalless minutes, and hit the woodwork twice in quick succession at the end of extra time.  

The penalty shootout proved disastrous for Portugal, with Ricardo Quaresma, João Moutinho and Nani all seeing their spot kicks saved by Claudio Bravo, while Chile scored all three of theirs to make it to the final on Sunday against either Germany or Mexico.

Fernando Santos chose the expected XI. Pepe’s suspension saw Bruno Alves and José Fonte paired together at the heart of the defence, Eliseu continued to deputise for the injured Raphael Guerreiro, while Bernardo Silva was declared fit after hurting his ankle against New Zealand.

Early chances

The Seleção started well in a furious opening 10-minute spell with both teams fully committed to all-out attack. But it was Chile who had the first clear chance, a clever through ball by Sanchez playing Vargas clean through, but the alert Rui Patrício raced out of his goal to spread himself well and make the save.

Portugal responded well, with a golden chance of their own immediately. Eliseu found Ronaldo with a vertical 40-yard pass, and the Portugal captain swung over a delicious cross into the path of André Silva, who was denied at point-blank range by Claudio Bravo. The men in red continued to pass smoothly, with Adrien Silva doing a fine job of containing Arturo Vidal as the Seleção looked the more settled side.

But as the minutes ticked by the Chileans began to get a firm grip of the game. Aránguiz flashed a header narrowly over the bar and the same player then had a great chance to take aim 10 yards out from an acute angle, but he sliced his shot wide of the target.

Patrício shines

The rest of the half was played out in cagey fashion, but both sides came out from the break with renewed vigour. Vidal beat Eliseu to a Sanchez cross but could not direct his header on goal, then it required another fine Patrício save to deny Chile as the Sporting goalkeeper leapt athletically to his left to tip a superb overhead effort by Vargas past the post.

Portugal responded with a Ronaldo break, his fierce angled shot stinging Bravo’s fingers, then Vidal again gave Portugal a scare with a thunderbolt of a shot from 35 yards that just cleared the crossbar.

As the second half went on the game appeared set for stalemate. Despite excellent individual performances from William in the heat of the battle, the hard-working André Silva and the marauding Cédric, Portugal rarely looked like breaking through, and it was difficult to fathom how the clearly out-of-sorts André Gomes remained on the pitch.

Subs ineffective

Fernando Santos has proven a master at making match-changing substitutions since becoming Portugal coach, but today none of the four players he brought on – Nani, Quaresma, Moutinho or Gelson – brought any noticeable improvement to the team, and it was Chile who were the more dangerous side in extra time.

An Alexis Sanchez header scraped past the post with Patrício beaten, and Portugal were extremely fortunate when the referee disregarded what looked like a clear penalty after José Fonte had tripped Chile substitute  Francisco Silva in the box. The Seleção then had an almighty double let-off as Vidal crashed a shot onto the inside off the post, and from the rebound Rodriguez’s effort came back off the crossbar.

It seemed the footballing Gods were on Portugal’s side, but in the ensuing penalty shootout Chile ultimately got the reward their more enterprising attacking merited.

By Tom Kundert

Portugal: Patrício, Cédric, Fonte, Bruno Alves, Eliseu, William, Bernardo Silva (Quaresma, 83’), Adrien (Moutinho, 102’), André Gomes (Gelson, 116’), André Silva (Nani, 76’), Ronaldo

Chile: Bravo, Isla, Jara, Medel, Beausejour, Hernández (Francisco Silva, 112’), Marcelo Díaz, Vidal, Aránguiz, Vargas (Rodriguez, 86’), Sánchez

 

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Overall Rating (6)

4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    I am so glad I didn’t post right after the PK’s. Or this post would be filled with F-bombs and attacks.  With some reflection, I had these thoughts. Right or wrong, they are my thoughts only.

    The pk’s were taken with force (RQ) and precision (Moutinho, Nani). Claudio Bravo guessed correctly 3/3. Now, maybe he watched a lot of Portugal penalty kicks (as we seem to go to them quite a bit) and he was able to see some pattern. Regardless, it’s not like RQ, Moutinho and Nani chipped the ball or missed the net. They struck the penalties well, just Bravo was simply better. Contrast that to Patricio guessing wrong 3/3. Its easy math. I am not picking on Rui P either, I have no doubt he would stop any ball he even gets a finger to, he just guessed wrong.

    The game really turned on its head when Andre Silva was subbed off. Up till that point Portugal were the better side. Ronaldo became isolated with little to no service once both Silva’s was taken off. It’s a good lesson I think and one (I am sure) Santos noticed as well.

    I have defended so many players on this board so many times but it’s becoming impossible to defend Andre Gomes any longer. I am old enough to remember Tiago Mendes and Deco scoring so many times from the exact positions Andre Gomes found himself in and he just lamely hits it either at the goalie or blasts it into orbit…It’s not fair to compare talents like Tiago and Deco to Gomes but it’s hard to watch him bumble every single offensive chance Portugal get especially against tough opponents. He is black hole on offense, ball goes in and never comes out…I don’t think he is a bad player but there really is little doubt that he is simply not good enough, yet. Again, this all highlights how good and important Joao Mario was and is and that Renato NEEDS to leave Bayern and get his career back on the right path. Renato is simply too good to waste another year riding the bench. We need our top mids to play and Andre Gomes only plays as a 3rd option.

    In the end Portugal did enough to win and Andre Silva had our best chance (again Bravo did amazing). Also props to Rui P for his insane save on Alexi early in the 1st as well.

    I am glad Bruno Alves had the tournament he did, really shines the light on how good he is. The guy has been a warrior all tournament long. Eliseu played well again despite the contrarians. He will always look the less of the players when compared to Guerreiro but who doesn’t? For what he is Eliseu is a very good backup. What makes people upset is that he really could be better. Someone mentioned Antunes? I have had this conversation with some of the regulars on Portugoal actually. I have no clue why Bento and now Santos ignore Antunes. In terms of quality Antunes is a boss but perhaps they don’t like his career choices or path? A guy with his skill set really should have found a stable club and had a much better career than he did. It may be that.

    There is always a lot of talk about bringing in youth. WHERE ARE THE KIDS? Imo, this is a fundamental disagreement amongst fans. It has never been the job of the national squad to train youth. Being called up is a reward for hard work and impact at club level. I am glad you think Rueben Semedo and Edgar Ie are ready, I respectfully disagree. I truly hope they develop into great defenders but I don’t want to imagine what Alexi Sanches would do to young defenders. It is up to them and their clubs to give them the time and confidence to grow as footballers. Throwing out kids to the lions of international football is a recipe for disaster. Take Nelson Semedo as an example, the kis is obviously gifted but he hasn’t played very well yet and he is not in Cedric’s class. I think the calls for Semedo were coming from a very specific fanbase and it was baffling to anyone who doesn’t wear red sunglasses. Especially considering Cedric was our best all-around defender both at the back and moving the ball.

    Anyhow, I would also agree there were more positives than negatives. You really shouldn’t judge a team when they lose on PK’s. Portugal has been on the winning end of many of them, let’s not forget. They did enough to win, they created more chances (although Chile probably had the better 2).

    Congrats to Chile! I find it very easy to dislike most Selecao opponents but with Chile it’s the opposite. I admire and respect the Chile national team, their players and Juan Antonio Pizzi, their coach. Well done and good luck in the finals, I will be routing for them. As for the Selecao, take this as a lesson, improve, correct and move forward.

    Forca!

    from Burlington, ON, Canada
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  • Guest - jon/usa

    I think if you look at our options in every position, the only area of concern is center-back. While some of our young center-backs (Paulo Oliveira, Edgar Ie, Ruben Semedo, etc,) have shown some promise, I'm not sure if any of them are ready to be thrown into the starting 11. Pepe, Bruno Alves, and Jose Fonte are by no means long term solutions, but I still think it's too early to make sweeping changes in that department.

    This should be our depth chart for the next year or so:

    Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Andre Silva, Eder, Goncalo Guedes, Diogo Jota, Rui Pedro, Jose Gomes
    Wingers: Quaresma, Nani, Gelson, Bruma, Podence, Iuri Medeiros, Rafa Silva
    Attacking Midfielders: Bernardo, Joao Mario, Pizzi, Bruno Fernandes, Andre Gomes, Joao Carvalho
    Central Midfielders: Adrien, Joao Moutinho, Renato Sanches, Andre Andre
    Defensive Midfielders: William, Danilo, Ruben Neves
    Left-backs: Raphael Guerreiro, Fabio Coentrao, Rafa Soares
    Right-backs: Cedric, Nelson Semedo, Ricardo Pereira, Joao Cancelo
    Center-backs: Pepe, Jose Fonte, Bruno Alves, Luis Neto, Paulo Oliveira, Edgar Ie, Ruben Semedo
    Goalkeepers: Rui Patricio, Anthony Lopes, Jose Sa, Andre Moreira, Bruno Varela

    This is without a doubt the strongest talent pool the Seleccao has had since the golden generation of the late 90s and early 2000s, and in my opinion, the have even more potential and depth than that generation. At the moment, I would argue that we currently have 5 world-class players (and by world-class I mean someone that you can argue is among the top 10 in the world in their position): Ronaldo, Pepe, Bernardo, Raphael, and Nelson Semedo, and in Andre Silva, Gelson, Joao Mario, Renato, Ruben Neves, Cedric, Ricardo Pereira, Bruma, etc, we've got plenty of world-class potential. In short, the future is bright. It's just up to Fernando Santos to ensure that we have a structure set up to maximize the potential of this incredibly exciting generation.

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  • Can we win 2022 WC(and 2020 Euro) with this great young talents??
    Assume CR will play 2022 WC with a good form.

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  • Guest - Johnny

    Some of you saying Renato should be called up despite his poor form are insane. This kid looked out of his depth with a bunch of 21 year olds. If he regains form and confidence then by all means call him up but until then all your asking for is to be completely run over in midfield with him there.

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  • Guest - Rabs

    Andre Gomes looks so poor losing the ball all the time making poor choices when he gets the ball in good positions no wonder the Barca don't want him around.

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  • Guest - Rabs

    By the way I don't know what Moutinho is doing in the team he is on the bench for Monaco he shouldnt be anywhere near the NT.

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  • Guest - Andre/UK

    I would like to see the following team for the Selecao in the very near future:

    ----------------------------------Patricio-------------------------------------------
    Nelson Semedo------Pepe--------Fonte------------Coentrao
    ----------------------------------William----------------------------------------
    ------------------Adrien-------------------Renato------------------------------
    ---------------------------------Bernardo-------------------------------------
    ----------------------Andre Silva--------Ronaldo------------------------

    This formation would be flexible to shift between 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. Bernardo would have a free role as the number 10 playmaker and creative focal point behind the front two in a 4-4-2, but then he could also shift to the right side and with CR7 on the left in more of a 4-3-3, which could be just as effective.

    With the very solid and dynamic midfield trio of William, Adrien and Renato providing defensive strength and the latter two covering a lot of ground, this means that the two very offensive and pacey fullbacks, Semedo and Coentrao, could both bomb forward and provide the width and both have good delivery into the box. Now of course Coentrao included would be dependent on him regaining his form and (finally) staying injury free, because if he could do that then I still believe he's the best left back we have. If he wouldn't be able to regain his form, then Guerreiro would take the role, whom we know can also do a good job as an offensive left back.

    If we wanted to change things and get more width, then we have a host of talented wide players who could be brought on (Quaresma, Nani, Gelson, Guedes, Bruma etc) in place of one of the midfielders for example. To me this line up and formation would have a good balance of offensive and defensive strength, solidity and skill/creativity, and youth and experience, and above all would be flexible to shift between these two classic formations, even within the same match.

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  • How unlucky for Portugal, they should have won the game, the pass by CR7 to Andre Silva, he should have scored and it would have been 1-0 and possible 2-0 as Chile would have had to open up. I agree with many that he could of chosen more wisely on 1-2 key players along with timing of subs Chile looked vulnerable to early and we missed our chance. Patricio was sharp , Eliseu played smart and brave going up against Vidal, he will only get better!! William was a solid , Gomes needs to see a shrink to overcome whatever mental issue he has about striking the ball hard!! Lessons learned the hard way ...Forca Portugal !!!

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  • Guest - D Sebastião

    Anybody here thinks POR desperately needed more creative passing in the attacking midfield? I was praying for Santos to take A. Gomes out and put Moutinho in. Or Nani, to play as LM. Not as FWD.

    I´d have taken A Gomes out at half time for Moutinho or Pizzi, and depending on how it was going, take Adrien out for Nani or Gelson later.

    POR lost a bit the edge when André went out - he was getting a lot of stick from Chile and was already on a yellow (that´s my guess as for the reason he was substituted). And since CR needs a real striker to play with, the conclusion is that we should start giving growth hormone to one of our U21 strikers and put him playing, asap. That´s what Germany did (I know, we´re not Germany. But it´s still a valid example).

    Nani and Quaresma are still very good for some situations, but as it gets hot in a tournament, our lack of #10 and #9 start showing and it´s not going to be two >30 players, no matter how good they are, that will make the difference on a regular basis.

    Chile was on a 4-3-1-2; we could have adjusted to more or less the same with a Moutinho substitution. Bernardo would play behind CR and Silva (he already does it and cuts in from the flank), William holding, Adrien giving solidity and compensating the left, Moutinho making the ball turn and the team play.

    Chile was very good at neutralizing us, like we were to them. But I still believe if we´d have make them run a bit more and circulate better, we would created even more chances. There were just too many failed passes in our attacking midfield.

    All in all, with time Chile proved to deserve the win. And we proved we need more punch in the midfield and freshness overall.

    FORÇA POR!

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  • Nothing new here but a couple of short points...

    1) Prove yourself at your club first before being considered for the Seleção. That means no Gomes (how many shots on goal did he scuff during the game?!) and no Sanches (why are people calling for his inclusion??), and why was Bernardo left off in earlier games??!

    2) With the control these players have, why don't they shoot penalties into the upper corners? There's not a goalkeeper in hell that can stop a raised shot with conviction into the corners!

    from Toronto, ON, Canada
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Fernando Santos
(Portugal coach in post-match press conference after win Switzerland)

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