It was supposed to be a festa. It didn’t quite work out that way. 

Portugal vs Serbia World Cup qualifier. We begin in boisterous mood in a Brazilian restaurant in the picturesque coastal town of Cascais, move on to the Estádio da Luz in the Portuguese capital to soak up the pre-match atmosphere, then take in the match alongisde 65,000 spectators. A poor performance from Portugal is punished by Serbia’s last minute winner.

A day later, PortuGOAL’s Seleção correspondents try and make sense of it. 

Join Matthew Marshall, Tom Kundert and Nathan Motz for a special edition of the PortuGOAL podcast, live from Lisbon and a wrap-up featuring the future of Fernando Santos. 

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

 

Related: Portugal 1-2 Serbia match report; Portugal denied by stoppage time winner

Related: Portugal 1-2 Serbia match reaction: “Awful, inadmissible, I can’t explain it”

 

Comments (22)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Well for all those of us (yes all 99% of us!) who want Santos out with immediate effect...that's just not gonna happen folks, and I knew it! Just look the today's covers of both A Bola and Record, the two biggest sports papers in Portugal....both...

Well for all those of us (yes all 99% of us!) who want Santos out with immediate effect...that's just not gonna happen folks, and I knew it! Just look the today's covers of both A Bola and Record, the two biggest sports papers in Portugal....both have a photo of him with the headline: "Santos Seguro"! Record even states on the cover that the head of the FA is not even pondering the possibility of dismissing Santos. We're stuck with Santos until at least the playoffs in March people, and I mention again I won't even waste my time watching them with him still in charge.

You see, this is why we haven't done as well as we should have at international tournaments in my generation as a fan. Some people might argue that we overachieve for such a small nation...I don't agree, I think looking at the sheer number of world class talent we have produced going back to the early 90s, we should have more titles won. What Portuguese football in general lacks big time is ambition and a winning mentality. This is simply further proof. Who in their right mind could possibly still think Santos is the right man to take the Selecao forward? After seeing our performances against Serbia and in both games against the Irish? Against Azerbaijan? Or against Germany at the Euros? Or against Ukraine in the Euro qualifying? Or against Iran and Uruguay at the last world cup? The list of dismal performances in big matches under Santos in recent years just goes on and on...yet the FA are still convinced he's the man to take us forward?

I don't even blame Santos as much as I blame the Portuguese FA for keeping him there. Santos is just a useless coach whose antiquated style of play has long been left behind by the reality of modern day football. He won't change, you can't teach an old dog new tricks! It's more the fault of our FA for keeping him in charge. An absolute lack of ambition and winning mentality, and that's what keeps Portuguese football back. Let's look at Germany as a perfect opposite example. Joachim Low was very successful in his first years in charge, winning the world cup and reaching a bunch of other semi finals and finals. So obviously they kept him in charge, but in recent years things started to go pear shaped for the German national team at tournaments and the German FA immediately realised he was past his sell by date and replaced him with a younger coach with new and fresh ideas....and guess what, they are immediately winning again! That's why the Germans are ahead of us in a nutshell, not because of talent, we have produced easily as much talent as them for many years now...but because they have a winning mentality, they only think about winning, and when they are not winning they make changes.

Unfortunately for us, we have a completely incompetent FA who lack ambition and remain faithful to a coach just because he won an international tournament (in a pretty unspectacular fashion, let's not forget!) half a decade ago...no matter how many dismal performances we keep seeing from the team. We have the players and squad to WIN the world cup, yet our FA is content with seeing us play like a small team against virtually any opposition. It's just beyond pathetic, isn't it?

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It sucks Andre, it all sucks so bad man.

Given the top tier coaches available for Portugal across the globe, the last 3 selections have been Fernando Santos, Paulo Bento and the Carlos Queiroz. That tells you all you need to know about the FPF.
...

It sucks Andre, it all sucks so bad man.

Given the top tier coaches available for Portugal across the globe, the last 3 selections have been Fernando Santos, Paulo Bento and the Carlos Queiroz. That tells you all you need to know about the FPF.

Its sad and its going to be a sad/boring/unwatchable playoff where Ronaldo saves Portugal (again) and they limp, stutter and drag their feet into the WC to crash our spectacularly in the round of 16. Its all such a waste, there is 0 optimism across all fans. If those rich old goats in the FPF think Portugal has a chance to Win they are all smoking crack.

This is just pathetic.

They wont hire a foreign coach because they cant control him. Portugal badly needs one imo. Ronaldo had many of them during his career, I dont see how this is a problem. Zidane, Ancelotti, Sir Alex, Pelligrini, Benitez, Allegri, Sarri and I think Pirlo at the end there. Oh and Ole Gunner.

I know in our gut we still believe they will turn it around but no, no they wont, not with Santos and not with another Bento-Santos clone who will do the same thing. Its all one sad spiral of garbage.

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100% in agreement. In life, as in sport, you need to take risks, and the FPF is risk-averse. Santos won us 2 major trophies (people who crap on the Nations League tend to hold up World Cup trophies that Italy and Uruguay 'won' in the 1930's...

100% in agreement. In life, as in sport, you need to take risks, and the FPF is risk-averse. Santos won us 2 major trophies (people who crap on the Nations League tend to hold up World Cup trophies that Italy and Uruguay 'won' in the 1930's thru bribery and a whopping 4 teams in the tournament), but those days are over.

I would argue however, that Germany also took their time in ditching Loew. The Germans won the 2014 World Cup with him, but their subsequent tournaments all showed significant decline (2016 semi-final being the lone bright-spot).

Loew was in charge for 15 years, which in the world of football, is like being an immortal. Santos at 8 years has half the time in charge of Loew. Still, your message is correct; they saw the rot and made a change. Fernando Gomes must be held equally responsible when we inevitably get dropped out on our rear-ends either in the play-off or in the group stage of the World Cup.

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SPOT ON!

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Without a manager change we're simply doomed to repeat ourselves yet again. Getting past these playoffs (not holding my breath) is meaningless if we're going into the WCup with the same underachiever approach Santos is guilty of the past 5 years.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Let Figo take over the FPF and fire everyone!

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Part of the problem Andre is that we don't have an adequate replacement for him. The Portuguese coaches available are all too pragmatic. We could look abroad for a coach, but the FA won't replace a championship winning coach with a foreigner....

Part of the problem Andre is that we don't have an adequate replacement for him. The Portuguese coaches available are all too pragmatic. We could look abroad for a coach, but the FA won't replace a championship winning coach with a foreigner. Interestingly enough, the two Brazilian coaches we had in the past both led the NT to the World Cup semis.

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Is this a case of you not being familiar with club football? Because there are at least 3 managers available who are easily an upgrade on Santos: Andre Villas Boas (would be my choice), Paulo Fonseca, Nuno Espirito Santo (not ideal, but an...

Is this a case of you not being familiar with club football? Because there are at least 3 managers available who are easily an upgrade on Santos: Andre Villas Boas (would be my choice), Paulo Fonseca, Nuno Espirito Santo (not ideal, but an option).

There is also the option of a trained chimpanzee, which at this point would still be better than Santos.

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LOL! I would love the trained chimp. I could see him flinging poop at Bruno F everytime he kicks the bal into orbit.

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Nuno with the Wolves roster managed to give blows to all the big teams in the Premier League for 4 seasons.

Premier league intensity football is what this team needs. And given a lot of them play in the premier league, they are a

perfect fit...

Nuno with the Wolves roster managed to give blows to all the big teams in the Premier League for 4 seasons.

Premier league intensity football is what this team needs. And given a lot of them play in the premier league, they are a

perfect fit for the style of play of NES.

Even if it was a wage matter, I'm sure NES would accept a wage reduction for the opportunity to have the national team.

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I like NES too, but it seems he would not be a popular choice among the posters here. Some of which believe he would be too defensive. I watched a lot of Wolves football the last few years in large part due to the large number of Portuguese...

I like NES too, but it seems he would not be a popular choice among the posters here. Some of which believe he would be too defensive. I watched a lot of Wolves football the last few years in large part due to the large number of Portuguese players on the team and I don't remember them ever putting up two stinkers back to back like Portugal just did. The wolves always played with intensity and structure. NES would be an excellent interim option IMO.

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He played some of the worst football in the EPL with Son-Kane-Moura, he would not be first choice but yes he is an option.

AVB then Fonseca imo.

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Spurs are an S-storm and I'm not sure Conte as great as he is will do any better. Time will tell. NES got in over his head with that group and the outsized expectations. This quote says it all...

On 29 August, he achieved the best start to a...

Spurs are an S-storm and I'm not sure Conte as great as he is will do any better. Time will tell. NES got in over his head with that group and the outsized expectations. This quote says it all...

On 29 August, he achieved the best start to a Premier League season for Tottenham after beating Watford to secure three wins from their first three matches. He won the Premier League Manager of the Month award for August 2021, the fourth of his career. Despite this, on 1 November 2021, he was sacked following a run of poor results which saw Tottenham lose four in six Premier League games.

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If only the FPF could show some of the "decisiveness" demonstrated by Levy et al at Spurs!!

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The move should have happen after Euro 2020, but with Euro being pushed into 2021 and WC qualifying already happening the FPF just didn't have the stones to do it. The display against Germany in the Euro was the nail in the coffin for me to...

The move should have happen after Euro 2020, but with Euro being pushed into 2021 and WC qualifying already happening the FPF just didn't have the stones to do it. The display against Germany in the Euro was the nail in the coffin for me to replace Santos. It was so obvious what was happening to us football fans because we follow the sport and understand the how the modern game is being played. Santos didn't react because he simply doesn't have an answer to how football is being played now.

Serbia played with a 3-5-2, a modern formation, and now they are going directly to the WC. Meanwhile, Portugal has a team full of talent, playing modern football at club level, but being asked to dumb down their abilities and potential for yesteryear tactics.

Now there's the awkward situation with bringing in a coach on short notice, or staying with a coach who tactics are dated. In all honesty, missing the WC would just speed up the process of what is needed, bringing a new coach and having Ronaldo step down as captain and now longer being an "automatic 90 minute starter" if he chooses not to retire from the national team.

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Those three are desperation moves. There are very good reasons for why they're unemployed.

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Santos deserves to stay and remain. Are you all forgetting euro 2016 and nations league 2019? We were robbed by VAR in the first game against Serbia, otherwise we would have qualified !

Look at Italy, they won the euros and have a “good coach”...

Santos deserves to stay and remain. Are you all forgetting euro 2016 and nations league 2019? We were robbed by VAR in the first game against Serbia, otherwise we would have qualified !

Look at Italy, they won the euros and have a “good coach” but have also dropped down to the playoffs.

Don’t crap on Santos when a bunch of supposed World class players were out there stinking up the joint.

Santos is going to steer us through the playoffs and towards World Cup victory in Qatar. Mark my words. Santos Forever !

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After Italy fail to qualify directly, few people would blame on Santos.

Don't forget we misses Pepe in Serbia's match.
Further, the early goal gave the team a false hope to sit back and play for a draw.

Serbia's first goal hit a player and...

After Italy fail to qualify directly, few people would blame on Santos.

Don't forget we misses Pepe in Serbia's match.
Further, the early goal gave the team a false hope to sit back and play for a draw.

Serbia's first goal hit a player and make the shooting direction reflect, not the defense error at all. The only mistake Santos did wrong was sub off Sanches, allowing Serbia to get more chance forward.

Nevermind with Pepe back into the squad, Portugal's defense looks good enough to qualify.

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Missing Pepe didn't help. BUT, just look at the offensive talent on the team! The tactics/coaching are all wrong if our fortunes (vs a team that is not a world soccer power) are dictated by whether or not a 38 year old CB is on the pitch. This is...

Missing Pepe didn't help. BUT, just look at the offensive talent on the team! The tactics/coaching are all wrong if our fortunes (vs a team that is not a world soccer power) are dictated by whether or not a 38 year old CB is on the pitch. This is not to take anything away from Pepe or Serbia, it is all about the "whole being way less than the sum of the parts" as long as Santos is in charge.

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Sanches asked to be subbed off

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Good news!!! Santos stated that he will leave if Portugal fail to make it to the World Cup. So all we need now is to draw with either Italy, Poland, Sweden, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Russia, or Czech Republic. We'll be sitting this tournament out...

Good news!!! Santos stated that he will leave if Portugal fail to make it to the World Cup. So all we need now is to draw with either Italy, Poland, Sweden, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Russia, or Czech Republic. We'll be sitting this tournament out but will have a real chance at winning Euro 2024 with a coach that can get the best out of this group.

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So brave of him!

"I will only quit when we fail miserably!" - Santos

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