Portugal have four points from their first two matches at the Russia World Cup, but coach Fernando Santos and the vast majority of the nation’s fans are not best pleased.

The Seleção have ridden their luck and relied on captain Cristiano Ronaldo’s heroics having been second best in both matches played thus far. The latest PortuGOAL podcast discusses the Morocco match and what may change ahead of the final Group B encounter against Iran.

 

  

Related: Portugal edge closer to qualification with nervy 1-0 victory over Morocco

We had plenty to discuss on the PortuGOAL 2018 World Cup podcast. We went through the team and talked about possible changes to the line-up for the Iran match. How does Santos stop Guerreiro being targeted? Is starting Guedes and Andre Silva an option? Should Bernardo Silva be dropped? Will Moutinho and William start for the third straight match?

We touch on the fact that Portugal are continually targeted and disrespected by mainstream media. As always we welcome your questions, there will be much to break down and discuss after Iran, when Portugal will hopefully be looking forward to a Round of 16 clash against Russia or Uruguay.

Comments (12)

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Interesting comments and insights..apart from the unusual sloppiness of our players and lack of ideas to beat the press both from a player perspective and tactical perspective...we should be happy in the position we are in on 4 points with Spain.
...

Interesting comments and insights..apart from the unusual sloppiness of our players and lack of ideas to beat the press both from a player perspective and tactical perspective...we should be happy in the position we are in on 4 points with Spain.

I think there were some tactical mistakes by Santos on the setup and press traps but also when he changed formations during the game he didnt make the right ones as we were outnumbered in midfield....you essentially have two no6 players in william and moutinho which is why j.mario or fernandes were outwide but by doing that u severly limit our chance to break with pace and provide outlets..the right back of morocco was never really forced back and could become an inverted fullback on the press....in hindsight at halftime...a switch to the 433 would have helped balance it out moving j.mario along side william on the left and guedes outwide...and then martins for b.silva...it would have stretched the game far more in our favour...i think moving forward this world cup has been played with a heavy focus on controling the mid and unless the other team plays a 442..we need to match up better or risk being dominated in possession and losing out on the press which teams will probably try to do.

We saw in the friendlies Santos used that 433 and or diamond mid...why not use it...i do agree he wont ring the changes but some slight alterations is crucial...

I agree about ricardo..has secure as cedric is...ricardo offer alot of threat and i have a feeling that has severly hurt b.silva becuase he is ised to overlapping fullbacks to lay off too when he cuts inside and drags players with but with cedric sitting back he has no choice but go sideways.

I totally agree that playing a central player out wide is a mistake and u see them struggle...u want to play a flat 442 then use two wingers...u want a 3rd central player who connects play and acts as am attacking mid than play a diamond mid or 433...that idea to play a mid outwide seriously limits our attack in most games.

I would love to see a 433 and a feew changes vs Iran

Patricio
Ricardo pepe fonte guerreiro
Fernandes william moutinho
Martins ronaldo guedes

Thats only 3 changes to starting line up and could be 2 if cedric starts...but its a tactical tweak to maximize the players potential and positions of which hey have been so successful this season at club level.

Or

If we insist on he flat 442 even the opposition will play a back 3 or 4231...then at least use a diamond mid.

Patricio
Cedric pepe fonte raph
William
B.silva moutinho
Fernandes
Ronaldo guedes

Lets see...I saw some comments in the post match article and i find some odd in regards to our player quality...when we possess basically a team of champions league players and make no mistake fernandes william and martins were expectional against juve and barca (lost on a own goal) and were unlucky against athletico...guedes exceptional at valencia and against even the top 3...andre silva was not given any service at acmilan and they had a poor season as a team..I wouldnt lay all the blame on him...we left barcelona and inter milan fullbacks at home...a confidence shattered barcelona mid..a young atracker at monaco who scores...a left winger in bundesliga who had a good first season..the best chamionship player in history according to the pundits in england and host of 21 years olds that are knocking on doors already. Center backs playing at good laliga teams..so our qaulity over the squad is as good as anyone barring spain, germany, france and brazil....but that is subjective in quite a few positions in large parts....

Get it right tactically and players will shine!

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@chris
I believe you were making a subtle hint towards me in respect to the post I made criticizing the team. Let’s get something straight, the transfer market hype and the randomness of a two legged champions league tie doesn’t explain...

@chris
I believe you were making a subtle hint towards me in respect to the post I made criticizing the team. Let’s get something straight, the transfer market hype and the randomness of a two legged champions league tie doesn’t explain everything by the way. Sportings midfield is average compared to the top 10 champions league teams. After Portugal won the euros, our players were looked at as being the next best thing and it’s happened before. Portugal in general produces great footballers but the hype is a little over blown. I won’t get into all of that but just watch the games you’ll see. I watched Brazil today tied at 0-0 in the 90th minute for example. They literally toyed around with Costa Rica, it was to the point where it looked like they were playing against all of us here at this website. Justin get to the point... well we could never do that, well not at least the way this team is assembled. Brazil scored two goals easily, we bite our nails and say ten Hail Marys just to sniff a chance. Every few guys come on here and say we should put Guirerro at left mid. Really? So we left bruma and rony lopes at home because Joao Mario can play there? Listen, I hate being this person because I’m addicted to this shit like most of you but come on, don’t you see the level of quality that we don’t have?

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Let's get a few things straight. My comments were not subtle, they were very specifically aimed at you.

Secondly, is there a point to this ramble? I ask because not only is it incomprehensible, but also because you somehow managed to reply to...

Let's get a few things straight. My comments were not subtle, they were very specifically aimed at you.

Secondly, is there a point to this ramble? I ask because not only is it incomprehensible, but also because you somehow managed to reply to me on a completely different article.

Thirdly, I don't understand your gauge of measuement. Portugal has to throw hail Mary’s and pray for goals, but apparently Brazil “toys with their opposition” and “scores easily”?

Did you actually watch the Brazil-Costa Rica game or were you watching ESPN classics from a prior World Cup? I ask because you contradict yourself in your own post.

Brazil was 0-0 until the 90th but they scored easily? Brazil celebrated that goal like they won the World Cup. And that is because Costa Rica had kept them from scoring the entire game. There was no “toying”. Brazil was desperate to score.

You are entitled to your opinions, it would just be nice if you actually made concise, rational arguments.

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Leaving Rony and Ruben home was a big mistake. Now moving on.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

This team gets it width through our full backs and Santos was just out coached in the Morocco game. Credit to Morocco, but at the end of the day I’ll take results over displays.

I’m afraid the blueprint it out there though, are CBs can’t play...

This team gets it width through our full backs and Santos was just out coached in the Morocco game. Credit to Morocco, but at the end of the day I’ll take results over displays.

I’m afraid the blueprint it out there though, are CBs can’t play out of the back if we encounter a press like that again. Outside of William, our midfield lacks any athleticism, so the CBs were force bypass midfield and launch it forward.

I heard/read somewhere that this team has more talent than the Euro 2016 team. I think folks are forgetting Nani’s goals and Renato Sanches’s engine. Yes, they do not deserve to be in this team, but they provided dynamic options I don’t believe exist in this current team. Guedes and B.Fernandes need to show the form that got them on the plane, otherwise we’ll be taking an early one home.

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You can make all the line up changes and tactical adjustments you want but that won't fix the biggest problem this team has - no physical presence and easily intimidated Cristiano Ronaldo excepted. Unfortunatly the rest of the players haven't...

You can make all the line up changes and tactical adjustments you want but that won't fix the biggest problem this team has - no physical presence and easily intimidated Cristiano Ronaldo excepted. Unfortunatly the rest of the players haven't followed his example and their displays at this WC have bordered on the embarassing. II's a lack of character issue and they'll be coming home as soon as their luck runs out. Sad but true.

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@chris
Yes I watched the game from the 2006 World Cup. I thought that’s what we were all watching. We have a big player coming up for us in Samao Sibrosa, he'll probably leave Portugal and play for Valencia. Jose Bosingwa is fast as shit too, I...

@chris
Yes I watched the game from the 2006 World Cup. I thought that’s what we were all watching. We have a big player coming up for us in Samao Sibrosa, he'll probably leave Portugal and play for Valencia. Jose Bosingwa is fast as shit too, I could see him doing well at Chelsea. Have a nice day!!

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@chris
@chris
Make sure you come back here after we narrowly beat Iran or draw against them on Monday. Tell us why we’re going to win the World Cup after Monday. I brought up that Brazil game only because I just watched it and they dominated the...

@chris
@chris
Make sure you come back here after we narrowly beat Iran or draw against them on Monday. Tell us why we’re going to win the World Cup after Monday. I brought up that Brazil game only because I just watched it and they dominated the entire game. THE POINT IS WE WONT EVER DOMINATE ANY TEAM AT THIS WORLD CUP. Put us in any group and we’d have to fight for results. Did you see Belgium today? Please don’t tell me about he we tied them before the World Cup. Brazil vs Belgium in the final is my prediction. I’m watching Germany vs Sweden right now and you can clearly see Germany is superior. If we were in this same situation, Sweden would be giving us fits for 90 minutes. We can’t take over games and stamp Portugal on the game. That doesn’t work in the long run my friend.

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Ok, any other orders you'd like to relay to me? I don't need to come here Monday or any other day to try and prove anything to you or anyone else. I simply prefer to support the team. Maybe they'll let me down on Monday and not make it out of...

Ok, any other orders you'd like to relay to me? I don't need to come here Monday or any other day to try and prove anything to you or anyone else. I simply prefer to support the team. Maybe they'll let me down on Monday and not make it out of the group stage.

Maybe they will do the opposite. I have not sugar coated any of the weak points of the team. Rather, I support the team in spite of them. And by the way, all the "big boys" have also shown major weaknesses. Germany's defence looked average. Spain are talented but have a new and inexperienced manager. Belgium have a great team but Roberto Martinez isn't known as a tactical genius. Brazil has struggled in both their games. Argentina look like high school soccer players.

So, in the midst of this, I choose to see that we are not in a significantly worse position than these teams. We need the rest of the team to step up and start playing as we know they can.

As for "stamping" games, I could not care any less about that. We were the kings of stamping for years. Where did it get us? Nowhere. I'll take pragmatic, hard to break down team cohesion any day. We are capable of both. Santos is a "no risk" manager. and if he gets results, I'll take it.

That's all there is to it. There are no guarantees. That goes for all teams.

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I hope Germany loses more than any team at this World Cup maybe even more than Argentina

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It has become obvious with aging CBs we have no midfield cover in front of them to disrupt the attack, win the ball and transition to attack. Danilo, Renato S type engines and physical presence lacking. In addition there is other attacker...

It has become obvious with aging CBs we have no midfield cover in front of them to disrupt the attack, win the ball and transition to attack. Danilo, Renato S type engines and physical presence lacking. In addition there is other attacker providing what Nani provided in 2016. Players like J Mario, B Silva, and Bruno F completely offer no physical presence, don't scare anyone with their runs or dribbling ability, they lose the ball easy and show no composure with their passing. This is a sign of being out of your depth.

Our best hope is to get Guedes going and QR7 providing something off the bench. After a while your past performance is who you are and you are likely to repeat your consistent past performance. Hope these guys turn it around, the data points and trends don't look good.

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Great podcast have to take issue with one element and that is your opinions on Moutinho & William.

Moutinho was nowhere throughout the match, I was at the game at pitch level and the amount of times William had to adjust his positioning...

Great podcast have to take issue with one element and that is your opinions on Moutinho & William.

Moutinho was nowhere throughout the match, I was at the game at pitch level and the amount of times William had to adjust his positioning because of Moutinhos was very concerning. Moutinho may of looked busy but the fruits of his labour were overripe. He was late to every challenge which meant his tardiness to the contest created an extra man in midfield for Morocco a situation to which we were already outnumbered.

William was everywhere the guys work off the ball is simple amazing. He always awake to the game and is constantly scanning the whole pitch. I feel anyone who can't see his obvious talents lacks a proper understanding of football. He has his deficiencies but he's a very unique midfielder. I'd like to see him take the ball forward more, similar to toure is his prime.

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