Portugal 1-0 Argentina

Fernando Santos' Portugal clocked up a third successive single-goal victory as a late diving header by Raphael Guerreiro from a wonderful Ricardo Quaresma cross proved enough to beat Argentina in a friendly international played in England tonight. 

It completes a memorable five days for the Lorient left-back, who enjoyed a sparkling debut for Portugal against Armenia on Friday night.

The sequence of wins provides a good foundation for the new coach. Iffy performances with good results is far more encouraging than the other way round. 

However, Portugal were far from impressive, with the South Americans looking a slicker outfit throughout the match, especially during a one-sided first half. In a low-key game bereft of noteworthy action, most of the players seemed to be making it their priority not to get injured as the club season gets into full swing. The much hyped Messi & Ronaldo show failed to materialise, both playing just 45 minutes, with flashes of skill but little of substance. 

Solid defensive unit

Argentina passed the ball around nicely in the opening 25 minutes especially, with Portugal often chasing shadows, but goalkeeper Beto showed impeccable handling when called upon, and both Bruno Alves and Pepe put in fine displays. Another plus point was the displays of three Seleção debutants, Tiago Gomes, José Fonte and Adrien, who all looked comfortable and did a decent job. 

Yet a continuing worry for the Seleção is a distinct lack of cohesion. The midfield trio of André Gomes, João Moutinho and Tiago were slack in their passing and lacked dynamism, while up front the experimental trident of Danny, Nani and Ronaldo are yet to click after four matches together. Indeed, in all four games of the Santos era, Portugal have only scored when a conventional striker has come on as a substitute. 

So plenty to think about for Fernando Santos, who admitted after the match that it had not been a good performance by the Seleção. The roaring success of Raphael Guerreiro may encourage the coach to start the long-awaited renewal process of the national team when the next matches come along in March. As discussed in depth on this site, there are no lack of options (see Portugal's midfield goldmine and Are Portugal on the verge of another Golden Generation? articles). 

 

Portugal: Beto, Bosingwa, Bruno Alves, Pepe (José Fonte, 46), Tiago Gomes (Raphael Guerreiro, 52), Tiago (William Carvalho, 78), João Moutinho, André Gomes (Adrien Silva, 66), Danny (Éder, 46), Nani e Cristiano Ronaldo (Ricardo Quaresma, 46)

Argentina: Guzman, Facundo Roncaglia, Martin Demichelis, Nicolas Otamendi, Christian Ansaldi (Jonathan Silva, 73), Javier Mascherano, Lucas Biglia, Javier Pastore (Roberto Pereyra, 73), Angel Di Maria (Erik Lamela, 61), Lionel Messi (Nicolas Gaitan, 46) e Gonzalo Higuain (Carlos Tevez, 62) 

Goals:

[1-0] Raphael Guerreiro, 90'

 

Match reaction:

 

Portugal coach Fernando Santos:

"The first 20 minutes were very bad, we couldn't get the ball, Argentina dominated, attacked us and did what they wanted. I rectified some positions, and we improved from the 25-minute mark, but even so Argentina remained on top. In this first phase there were more negative aspects than positive ones.

"In the second half we improved and in the last ten or fifteen minutes we were on top and ended up getting the goal. I'm not happy with the performance; we have the ability to do better. But I can't fault the players for the effort they put in and above all I'm happy we have beaten Argentina for the first time in 42 years." 

 

Ricardo Quaresma: 

"I'm confident and things are going well for me. I'm going to continue working hard so things continue that way." 

 

Nani:

"The coach is mixing the team up. It's difficult to play excellent games when we don't play together and we change systems. But things are going well, we're motivated, we're winning and we have to continue with this mentality. The good performances will come afterwards."

 

José Fonte: 

"It was an emotional moment. Only I know what I went through to get here. I remembered how I worked on my own, the tough times in England. This is the culmination of many years of fighting towards a goal. Making my Portugal debut at Old Trafford, a mythical stadium, winning and not conceding goals... I couldn't ask for more." 

 

Adrien: 

"Everything has a time to happen. Today my moment arrived and I tried to step up to it and help the team. We achieved our aim, which was to win." 

 

 by Tom Kundert 

Comments (20)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

A lot of people still aren't keen on Quaresma, but it was his crosses that all our last victories came from no?

Jerrold Hewson
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Agreed Jerrold. Ricky Q has been the biggest impact on the team. He's been as important as Ronaldo in the last 3 victories. I really like hearing Fernando Santos' assessment of the game. Happy with the victory, but honest without being too...

Agreed Jerrold. Ricky Q has been the biggest impact on the team. He's been as important as Ronaldo in the last 3 victories. I really like hearing Fernando Santos' assessment of the game. Happy with the victory, but honest without being too critical of the players. He knows they can do better. Defensively, this is a completely different team than under Bento. Solid. But, I would keep William as a starter over Tiago.

Also, Adrien deserves a starting place on this team. Andre Gomes was the only midfielder doing anything today. Moutinho has gone from our best player to an extra on a zombie movie. Gomes, William and Adrien would be a good trio, even swapping Joao Mario with one of the "A's" every once in a while.

Everyone who was so keen on Danny... 3 games and he's been useless in all 3. Nani looks like the same guy from Manchester last year. Quaresma should be playing from the start. I disagree with those who think Tiago Gomes did well. Every attack that was threatening from the Argentines came from their right flank, where Tiago G was defending.

Raphael on the other hand, the kid has shown he may be capable of pushing Coentrao out of his spot. So good attacking, solid defending and a goal to boot. Great find by Lorient and the Seleccao.

Good results. I like that Santos is unafraid of changing tactics. I think he's done a solid job. Let's keep it up and see where we can go.

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Chris
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So when are all the Quaresma haters, who were so delighted at his WC squad exclusion, admit their own stupidity?? Shame, Shame!

steve
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Sorry you got it all wrong Tiago Gomes was very poor, but so was most of the team. Raphael Guerreiro was outstanding even before the goal. his runs, and interceptions were game changing
William, came into the game, and was neat and tidy with his...

Sorry you got it all wrong Tiago Gomes was very poor, but so was most of the team. Raphael Guerreiro was outstanding even before the goal. his runs, and interceptions were game changing
William, came into the game, and was neat and tidy with his passing.
I'm afraid Fernando Santos has committed himself premature to these older players. We have gone from old to ancient!
Bring back some of our older players is one thing, playing them all the time is a mistake.
How in the world is Joao Mario, and William C, being left on the bench for Tiago, and Danny.
All of you who were roasting Bento for playing him out wide or not playing him at all......are eating dirt.
Last I think that Joao Moutinho Starting position should be in question or drop him further down the field, with Joao Mario playing 10 position.....and William playing the 6 spot.

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Jose/Can
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Eder did something!

MikeTheBike
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Steve, Prior to joining Porto RQ was playing in the middle east and only played 10 games! It seemed as if he retired in May of 2013. He decided come out of retirement and joined Porto in 2014 for one last go around. In the total of 24 games...

Steve, Prior to joining Porto RQ was playing in the middle east and only played 10 games! It seemed as if he retired in May of 2013. He decided come out of retirement and joined Porto in 2014 for one last go around. In the total of 24 games (several as sub) RQ was completely rusty and was playing not even close to 50% of his top level. He was struggling in all aspects of his game and had way too many cards for the few games he played. I was one of those people that believed he didn't belong on the squad and will gladly defend that.

While RQ clearly never belonged near the national team last year, he has put in the hard work to earn to earn his call ups this season. This 31year has found some more life, maybe he will be able to pull off a Landon Donovan and be able to give another 1 to 3 good seasons. RQ is not the future but he can fill a much needed gap for our Euro qualifiers and maybe even the Euro tournament. As a Portuguese fan, I wish him well and fully agree he should be starting over Nani which continues to seem lost on the national team.

Unlike Bento, Santos is showing is that is willing to give players a chance (old and young). While the results aren't pretty, I think all these players getting chances will only motivate other Portuguese players around various leagues to play their butts off knowing that Santos is open to trying someone new. From this I believe he will eventually find the right mix of players. While I wish we were playing better as a team, getting wins will always beat playing amazing and losing.

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Mario Mota
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Quaresma is proving to be the saviour for Portugal "na hora H", eleventh hour and all that mother jazz.

Portugal played with great determination but could not match the intense tempo of the Argentinians, you can rate the players based on those...

Quaresma is proving to be the saviour for Portugal "na hora H", eleventh hour and all that mother jazz.

Portugal played with great determination but could not match the intense tempo of the Argentinians, you can rate the players based on those cute Duracell bunnies, some players obviously had far superior batteries up their asses. Ronaldo, Messi, Pepe, Gaitan, Jose Fontes, Hugo Quaresma had Lithium batteries up their asses and they are just super duper athletes with the strength of probably half a lion, the stregnth of a big bull, as for the rest of the Argentinian players, they had Alkaline batteries in el cornholio, they were very impressive and very unlucky to come out of this game with a loss deep in el stopage time. But hey ho, it's how el game goes. As for the rest of Portugal, meh, Zinc Carbon batteries in el bum hole. Special result anyway, congratulations Portugal, finally after 42 years, lucky to win this match, but great goal thanks to the class of Quaresma and calm finishing of El compadre Raphael Guerreiro.

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Jonas "Pepe La Spew" Cabanas - London, England
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@Mario:
Look I'm all about turning the page and second chances, but an even rusty RQ was a better option off the bench than many players taken over him. Vierinha? Are you kidding me, he was coming off a major injury and isn't world class...

@Mario:
Look I'm all about turning the page and second chances, but an even rusty RQ was a better option off the bench than many players taken over him. Vierinha? Are you kidding me, he was coming off a major injury and isn't world class when healthy. Anyone who can't admit in hindsight that Bento leaving RQ at home was a mistake is smoking some heavy drugs. RQ gets a undeserved wrap for being difficult, but at 31 yrs old, that is pushed more by FCP haters than reality.

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steve
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I agree with Steve! Bento made a huge mistake not bring RQ to the world cup.....instead he brought a bunch of out of form, and injured wingers. I have to admit that a supported Bento, and I was wrong. Lets not forget that there was a few other...

I agree with Steve! Bento made a huge mistake not bring RQ to the world cup.....instead he brought a bunch of out of form, and injured wingers. I have to admit that a supported Bento, and I was wrong. Lets not forget that there was a few other player that could have help portugal such a Bebe, who scored 13 goal last season.
Adrien Silva who had a break out season for fc sporting.
LB Antunes, from malaga who would have help the defence after Fabio went down.

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Jose/can
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I was watching the game periodically but I think we can be optimistic that we held it together against a very strong Argentinian team. As it's been expressed in the previous article, they are stacked top to bottom and have way more quality.....

I was watching the game periodically but I think we can be optimistic that we held it together against a very strong Argentinian team. As it's been expressed in the previous article, they are stacked top to bottom and have way more quality.. let's be honest.

I'm one of those who people believes the coach is most responsible when things aren't going well. However, I do see signs of improvement since Santos has arrived. People calling it Greece tactics need to understand that the starting line-up is far from settled. We have just begun experimenting different line-ups and combinations - the players have had virtually no time to coordinate, and still we have 3 wins and 3 clean sheets. Santos has taken the safe route by using experienced veterans through qualification and like we saw today, the kids will get their chance in the friendlies.

So impressed with Raphael Guerreiro. A left-back who brings it offensively, defensively, and can score a goal of that calibre.. hey, I'll take it. As good has Coentrao is going forward.. how many goals has he scored in his career? Not trying to get ahead of myself but Guerreiro is an exciting player. I hope the scouts were watching.

Ricardo Quaresma again.. starting to become Portugal's good luck charm. He isn't flawless but he is clutch at the right times. One quick word for the Portistas' out there.. stop acting like you own the guy OK? Whichever club you support (i'm a benfiquista), we are all Portuguese at the end of the day. I'm proud of Quaresma as much as anyone and never did I wish for him to fail. Looking back at the stupid decision Bento made to leave him out of the Euros looked even more stupid when Ronaldo was forced to play on one leg.

He deserves to start 100% but we have to think long-term too. RQ is 31 years old. CR7 is THIRTY in a few months. (yeah, i can't believe it either) Does anyone think they would start together at Euro 2016? I know Figo did it at 34 (in 2006) but they both hardly track back. It's a recipe for disaster. Nani hasn't looked great but he has tracked back the most. By the time tourny rolls around.. Bruma and Cavaleiro could well be in the mix too.

Congratulations to the team on this big win. Força Portugal!

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SupremoGino
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“I tried to take advantage of every minute the mister gave me. It wasn’t the result we wanted, we always want to win, but we played a great team with some of the best players in the world and a draw ended up a positive outcome.”

Ricardo Horta
(Portugal’s goalscoring substitute after 1-1 draw against Spain in Seville in the Nations League) 

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