In Episode 17 of the Seleção podcast, host Danny Pinto and Michael Teixeira review the two disappointing draws versus Ukraine and Serbia in Portugal with which the reigning European Champions opened their EURO 2020 qualifying campaign.

Danny and Michael discuss the issues the Seleção had in not finishing countless opportunities, whether the problems are of a tactical nature or simply a lack of execution, and how much blame should be attributed to Fernando Santos for the poor start.

To listen to the podcast click on the play button below. 

 

Related: Portugal draw blank against Ukraine - Portugal 0-0 Ukraine match report

Related: Portugal stumble again - Portugal 1-1 Serbia match report

 

Comments (13)

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Hi folks,

Listen, I really appreciate an English language podcast, even though I regularly watch Portuguese sports shows and analysis panels.

I must say however, that I vehemently disagree with the general tone and message on this episode....

Hi folks,

Listen, I really appreciate an English language podcast, even though I regularly watch Portuguese sports shows and analysis panels.

I must say however, that I vehemently disagree with the general tone and message on this episode. Maybe the sky isn't falling, however, glazing over these shambolic results is unacceptable to me.

Let's start at the top: the FPF have to make a decision. Will they invest now so that Portugal can take advantage of this incredible generation of players in the next decade, or will they be loyal to someone because of what he accomplished 2 tournaments ago?

Understand, I will always have a place in my heart for Fernando Santos. He was the right man for Euro 2016 with the right attitude.

As we move towards defending the Euro title however, and we see more of his selection, it's become obvious he is out of his depth and out of ideas for setting up attacking/progressive teams.

People praise the opportunity he's given to countless players, and while that is great, it's almost too much now. Throwing Rafa, Pizzi and Dyego out on the pitch in a qualifier when they have little to no Seleccao experience is circumspect and indicates to me that he has no plan.

Endless crosses when we need a goal is another indicator.

We can also talk about player.form, such as Andre Silva- vs Joao Felix, but the truth is these variables must be prepared for by the manager.

If we want to really keep the momentum going we need to get fresh ideas in there. I shuddered when I had the thought that maybe even Jorge Jesus could get more from these players than Santos currently does. And I can't stand Jorge J.

So, if I'm honest, I was expecting to hear some deserved harsh criticism of the Seleccao from you fellas along with important discussion points, such as the lack of logic at using 2 DM's in both games or fielding Dyego in a qualifier with no prior experience, or even the pathetic substitutions made by Santos.

Instead we heard some calming words and a reminder that Portugal are still in it. Frankly, with the group we had, there's no reason we shouldn't have 6 points right now. And that needs to be discussed.

Hope you don't mind the feedback.

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Chris,

First off, I really appreciate you listening and giving your honest assessment of the latest episode. The reason I chose to take the approach and tone that I did is that I felt that calling for Fernando Santos' job following the two...

Chris,

First off, I really appreciate you listening and giving your honest assessment of the latest episode. The reason I chose to take the approach and tone that I did is that I felt that calling for Fernando Santos' job following the two draws was a bit of an overreaction. If the Selecao was not generating any opportunities in the two matches, my tone would have been very different, but I completely understand the frustration of not converting on those opportunities because I am frustrated with it, as well.

Have I thought that perhaps Santos is not long for this job? Absolutely. And perhaps 2016 gives him a longer lease on life as Portugal's manager than it should. The results of the Nations League I feel will determine Fernando Santos both immediate and long-term. Anything less than a Final appearance at home vs ENG/NED, to me, is when the discussion and perhaps even the decision on his future should be had/made. In retrospect, perhaps I should have addressed that in the episode.

To quickly address some of your points:
*I mentioned that I thought the 2 DMs can work if Bernardo Silva is patrolling the middle.
*I felt that I criticized Santos on his substitutions in both matches, and that my guest felt that Jota, not Pizzi, should have been the replacement for CR7.
*I won't fight you on Dyego Sousa :)

As for expecting 6 points in these two matches...I 100% agree with you. I mentioned that 4 points should have been the minimum, and again maybe 2016 clouded my judgement of Santos in these two matches.

I can't thank you enough for your feedback, it is always welcomed. I appreciate you listening and supporting outlets like The Selecao Podcast and PortuGOAL.net.

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Hey Danny,

Kudos and thanks for taking the time to read and reply to these comments. I don't want the content of this one episode to overshadow the podcast overall, because as I said, having Seleccao and Portuguese club footy-related content is...

Hey Danny,

Kudos and thanks for taking the time to read and reply to these comments. I don't want the content of this one episode to overshadow the podcast overall, because as I said, having Seleccao and Portuguese club footy-related content is always great. I was just sharing my thoughts on the discussion on this one issue.

Perhaps part of the issue is also that you and Michael agreed quite a lot as well, which is understandable, but sometimes a bit of disagreement and tension is good.

I will be listening out for the next one, and if you ever want an opinionated, loud-mouthed, curmudgeonly lout to make some overbearingly Portuguese comments, I will always accept your invitation.

Cheers.

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Chris,

No worries. As I said, I welcome feedback and criticism of the episodes, and when it's done in the respectful manner like is has been on this comments section, I take those to heart. Thanks again!

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Chris@, your completely right with your critical comment. It isnt that Portugal is still there, no way. It is about the way of developing players and building momentum for the following European Championship. He gives the wrong players an...

Chris@, your completely right with your critical comment. It isnt that Portugal is still there, no way. It is about the way of developing players and building momentum for the following European Championship. He gives the wrong players an opportunity and could have perfectly used this time for players who are worthy of playing for the Selecao. Joao Felix, Jota, Leao or Rony Lopes. We need to follow through on this realization and assign a new coach with more progressive ideas who will'be suitable with this squad. I would love to see Leonardo Jardim taking over.

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Bart:

While I may not be on board with firing Fernando Santos at this point in time, I would do it in a heartbeat if it meant getting Jardim. He would be my top choice, hands down.

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I understand the calls for calm. Santos doesn't appear to have the tactical nous to get this team to play expansive, attacking football, but there is far too much quality in this team not to qualify. We should be able to win all four games...

I understand the calls for calm. Santos doesn't appear to have the tactical nous to get this team to play expansive, attacking football, but there is far too much quality in this team not to qualify. We should be able to win all four games against Luxembourg and Lithuania, and we should, at the very least, get two draws away at Serbia and Ukraine.

That being said, I have to agree with Chris about Santos not being the man we need to take the Portuguese national team to the next level. As I (and many others) have mentioned in recent weeks, Fernando Santos will always be remembered for the instrumental role he played in leading Portugal to our first ever international title. He steadied the ship after a disastrous world cup in Brazil, he showed a willingness to give dozens of players an opportunity regardless age, his pragmatic, defense-first approach made us extremely difficult to beat, and most importantly -- he managed to cultivate a genuine winning mentality; the one thing we always lacked during the golden generation and the Scolari era.

His conservative approach to coaching, however, is starting to hold this team back. The best players we have under the age of 25 (Bernardo, Cancelo, Felix, Fernandes, etc) all thrive in proactive, attack-minded tactical schemes, but Santos thus far has either been unwilling, or more likely, incapable of effectively coaching that style of football.

I actually think he was quite brave with his approach to Serbia. Yes, he did play two defensive midfielders, but that was only because he essentially had Cancelo and Guerreiro operating as wingers. We started the game on the front foot, and we pressed high up the pitch for 90 minutes, but we were clearly lacking ideas and a true cutting edge in the final third.

An attack-minded coach, preferably one with a fare share of experience, could do wonders with this squad, but who's available at the moment? Jorge Jesus can get this team to play more proactive football, and he prefers utilizing a front two, which suits both Ronaldo and Joao Felix. Jose Mourinho's name has been tossed around, but I honestly don't think he'd be the right fit. Tactically speaking, he comes from the same school of thought as Fernando Santos, and I just don't see him taking over a national team just yet.

The FPF clearly thinks Fernando Santos is the right man for the job, so unless we fail to qualify for the Euros, I don't see him going anywhere.

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Jon:

To your last point...as I mentioned to Chris, I think his future will be thoroughly discussed and perhaps decided if Portugal doesn't at least make the Final of the NL. Qualifying for 2020 is a given with the amount of talent currently...

Jon:

To your last point...as I mentioned to Chris, I think his future will be thoroughly discussed and perhaps decided if Portugal doesn't at least make the Final of the NL. Qualifying for 2020 is a given with the amount of talent currently available, in my opinion. Future fixtures and their results could have been better address in this episode.

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I think the most important point is being missed.

This is not about qualification, no one is worried about qualifying in such a poor group and with UEFA pretty much making it impossible not to. Qualifying to what end? Out in group stage because...

I think the most important point is being missed.

This is not about qualification, no one is worried about qualifying in such a poor group and with UEFA pretty much making it impossible not to. Qualifying to what end? Out in group stage because they cant score a goal?

This is about the Selecao, its parts and if its being utilized like it should.

Portugal is a sports car that is being driven in the slow lane. We have a driver (coach) incapable of changing lanes, adapting to road conditions and seeing obstacles coming from way off.

I agree that it appears Fernando Santos either doesn't have a plan or is stubbornly keeping the same plan and praying it somehow morphs into winning. When Ronaldo goes off Portugal play better but have ZERO killer instinct and ability to score. When Ronaldo plays Portugal look dreadful and Ronaldo saves their backside with a wonder goal, this is the reality.

The POD failed to address this, it was simply dismissed without providing reasons for the dismissal.

NO wins in 4 tries and they have looked brutal
Portugals last competitive (not a friendly) victory was vs Poland at the nations cup on Oct 11
2 goals in 4 matches and we saw how Danilo scored (golaso)
No sustained pressure outside of Serbia game
Fullbacks operating as wingers who cant cross to save their lives
Good club players forced onto the world stage where they do NOT belong
Playing 2 DM's against nations who park every bus on the planet and expecting what exactly?
Bringing on a sideways mid when we need goals instead of another striker

There is no legitimate reason Portugal should not be putting 3-4 goals past minnows. The fact Ukraine almost stole the game with their only half-shot shows you something.

Fernando Santos doesn't play to win, he plays NOT to lose. There is a difference and it is the wrong philosophy given Portugals players. Plus we fans have seen all this before and it is very frustrating watching it unfold (AGAIN) right in front of our eyes. Bento - Querioz - Scolari all of them got progressively worse as their tenure went on and refused to adapt or change.

Santos is driving the Titanic and he knows their is an iceberg coming and instead of turning the ship, he stubbornly drives on.....

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Val:

Thank you for listening and for your feedback... You're right...the concern may not be for qualifying, but what happens when we get there. And while I think Fernando Santos doesn't need to be replaced right now, your reasons to replace ...

Val:

Thank you for listening and for your feedback... You're right...the concern may not be for qualifying, but what happens when we get there. And while I think Fernando Santos doesn't need to be replaced right now, your reasons to replace him now are valid.

As for some of your points, Portugal needed simply a draw in their last two NL matches to secure their place in the semi-finals. While not pleasing on the eye (brutal is a fair assessment here), if there were ever a time to play Santos-style football it would be then. As for the lack of scoring, while disappointing and frustrating, I'd be more concerned if opportunities were not even being generated.

As for the rest, I think we addressed some (disagreeing withe Pizzi sub for CR7 instead of Jota; using 2 DMs) and others we could have addressed better or even at all (lack of quality crosses from FBs, lack of pressure vs Ukraine).

The criticism of the episode is sincerely welcomed and appreciated.

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Thank you for the reply Danny and thank you for the pod. I am normally a very laid back fellow but the Selecao tends to bring out the most passionate side as they inevitably seem to be always stifled at some point.

When Santos first came aboard...

Thank you for the reply Danny and thank you for the pod. I am normally a very laid back fellow but the Selecao tends to bring out the most passionate side as they inevitably seem to be always stifled at some point.

When Santos first came aboard after every issue arose he addressed it immediately in the next game, it was part of why we won the Euro. His willingness to correct his mistakes.

That trend seems to be going down the same route as Scolari-Quieiroz-Bento.

Being stubborn is not a valid tactic nor is it acceptable at this level imo. As the Lord Humongous told Mel Gibson in Mad Max 2, "I am gravely disappointed, now I am forced to unleash my dogs of war."

Time to let go of the reins and let the boys loose. Limping into a Euro will mean limping right back out.

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Val: The reason I started the pod was because of the passion I have for the team and to give others another outlet to listen and express their passion and opinions, as well; whether we agree or disagree.

As I mentioned in this thread, maybe I...

Val: The reason I started the pod was because of the passion I have for the team and to give others another outlet to listen and express their passion and opinions, as well; whether we agree or disagree.

As I mentioned in this thread, maybe I was still wearing rose-colored glasses because of 2016 with thinking that Fernando Santos should not be fired yet. But the reasons that everyone on the thread have given for Santos' dismissal have been valid and I can see why you and others feel that way.

Having about a week to think about it, I think the biggest reason that people feel that Santos should be fired is that there is an opportunity (perhaps multiple opportunities) to do something very special with this group. As good as the "Golden Generation" was, the semis of Euro 2000/WC 2006 and losing in the EURO 2004 Finals was the closest they got. And while the jury is still out on how good this current generation is and could be, the fear of wasting the talent is prevalent because we've seen it happen before.

I get it. And that's why I take no offense to when someone offers a different opinion or disagrees with my original assessment. I'm open-minded to others' opinions. What a concept :)

Thanks again for listening and supporting the pod and this website.

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Great pod. Keep it up! Glad that it’s not overly reactionary. Would love a win and to have a few different players called up/put into the match, but let’s see how the matches in June go before calling for change.

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