Portugal 3-1 Switzerland

Portugal have booked their place in the UEFA Nations League final courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick, as Portugal left it late to down Switzerland 3-1 at the Estádio do Dragão.

In his first Nations League appearance, a Ronaldo free-kick placed Portugal ahead before a second-half spot-kick from Ricardo Rodriguez dragged the Swiss level.

A late double-salvo from Ronaldo in the face of extra time tipped the balance back in Portugal’s favour, however, with the Seleção now awaiting either England or the Netherlands in Sunday’s final. Before deciding who to back in the final, visit Bookies Bonus.

Initially, attentions were drawn to João Félix’s first international cap for Portugal, with the Benfica man’s Primeira Liga co-star, Bruno Fernandes, also nailing a spot alongside William Carvalho and Rúben Neves in Fernando Santos’s XI.

Switzerland started positively to increase the nerves in Porto, reaching Rui Patrício’s goal through Xherdan Shaqiri early on prior to the ex-Sporting man’s stop in the 3rd minute, denying the Swiss talisman from a tight angle.

At the other end, Manuel Akanji was handing Portugal a prime chance to score in his bid to play out from the back, with the ball eventually falling to Ronaldo before a horrible slice wide of the mark. 

The Juventus man was less forgiving the second time around, in spite of an apparent fair Kevin Mbabu challenge that enabled Ronaldo to arrow a free-kick into the bottom-right corner in the 25th minute, putting Portugal a goal up.

Haris Seferovic came close to levelling the game on the brink of half-time, reacting first to a pull-back before stroking onto the top of the crossbar. Félix also had a look in, as Ronaldo spotted the youngster’s run in behind, but the 19-year-old could do little more than volley over with pressure from Rodriguez emerging, keeping the score at 1-0 going into the break.

VAR intervenes

In a penalty-dominated start to the second half, Bernardo Silva saw a clear foul on him inside the box over-ruled, via the use of the VAR, for a spot-kick at the other end, as the faintest of touches from Nélson Semedo brought Steven Zuber down inside the Portugal box.

A specialist from 12 yards, Rodriguez was quick to step up from left back and convert for the Swiss, dragging his penalty just under Patrício for the equaliser in the 57th minute.

With the game entering a more cagey phase, Ronaldo emerged to stun the visitors late on with Portugal’s second in the 87th minute, firing a Bernardo Silva cut-back first-time past a well-beaten Sommer.

The Seleção skipper wasn’t done there, leaving Akanji for dead in the 89th minute before cutting inside and curving a strike on his right foot for goal number three, cementing Portugal’s spot in Sunday night’s Nations League final.

By Patrick Ribeiro

Portugal XI: Rui Patrício - Raphael Guerreiro, Rúben Dias, Pepe (José Fonte, 63’), Nélson Semedo - William Carvalho, Rúben Neves, Bruno Fernandes (João Moutinho, 90’)- Cristiano Ronaldo, João Félix (Gonçalo Guedes, 69’), Bernardo Silva

Switzerland XI: Yann Sommer - Ricardo Rodriguez, Manuel Akanji, Fabian Schär, Kevin Mbabu - Granit Xhaka, Denis Zakaria, Remo Freuler (Josip Drmic, 88’) - Steven Zuber, Haris Seferovic, Xherdan Shaqiri

 

Goals:

[1-0] - Cristiano Ronaldo (25’)

[1-1] - Ricardo Rodriguez (57’)

[2-1] - Cristiano Ronaldo (87’)

[3-1] - Cristiano Ronaldo (89’)

Comments (25)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Portugal's static offence and wayward passes/crosses were driving me insane! That awful pen call for Switzerland and non call for Portugal was ridiculous. But once again, Ronaldo bails out Portugal and wins the game by himself. I really hope our...

Portugal's static offence and wayward passes/crosses were driving me insane! That awful pen call for Switzerland and non call for Portugal was ridiculous. But once again, Ronaldo bails out Portugal and wins the game by himself. I really hope our attackers will be more composed in the final.

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I didn’t think we needed two DM’s, going forwards (Sunday) lets have AM’s and maybe help this situation.

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Oh my god!! You people never stop complaining about the Portugal team wtf is wrong with you all. How do you not realize the we have the best coach in years?!? Look what he’s done! Do you not remember how we used to play?? We won euro 2016 with a...

Oh my god!! You people never stop complaining about the Portugal team wtf is wrong with you all. How do you not realize the we have the best coach in years?!? Look what he’s done! Do you not remember how we used to play?? We won euro 2016 with a very very weak team. I’m pretty sure he knows what he’s doin. You all need to stfu and just realize that Fernando santos and our team that we are rebuilding is not perfect but much more competitive and respected than before santos.

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And let me just add to that. Rui Patricio before Fernando santos was horrible and had no confidence for Portugal and now he’s one of the greatest goalkeepers in international soccer history i think you guys forget a lot when you say he doesn’t...

And let me just add to that. Rui Patricio before Fernando santos was horrible and had no confidence for Portugal and now he’s one of the greatest goalkeepers in international soccer history i think you guys forget a lot when you say he doesn’t bring the best out of certain players

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Joao Felix is not ready to play at this stage for Portugal he looked out of depth and easily bullied off the ball, Bruno F looked pretty poor too not terrible but expected more, Pepe wasn't very convincing but still is one of our best defenders.

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Joao Felix is not ready to play at this stage for Portugal he looked out of depth and easily bullied off the ball, Bruno F looked pretty poor too not terrible but expected more, Pepe wasn't very convincing but still is one of our best defenders.

Benardo Silva, Nelson Semedo were both very good.

C. Ronaldo is just a damn legend.

If Portugal were given that penalty and scored to make it 2-0 instead of that really made up penalty for Switzerland, I reckon Portugal would've put them to the sword and scored more goals, that being said Portugal weren't good enough and had to bailed out by Ronaldo.

I don't agree with two dm, it limits our attack too much and we had top class attackers which can't perform because of it but I understand why we have 2 dms, our defence is pretty weak and England or Holland will be licking their fingers.

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Santos was largely out-coached by his Swiss counterpart. We looked disjointed both with and without the ball in the new-look 4-4-2 diamond, which to be honest, wasn't all that surprising given the lack of time Santos has had to build chemistry in...

Santos was largely out-coached by his Swiss counterpart. We looked disjointed both with and without the ball in the new-look 4-4-2 diamond, which to be honest, wasn't all that surprising given the lack of time Santos has had to build chemistry in a new system.

Bruno Fernandes and William in particular had decent games individually, but they looked a bit lost during defensive transitions. They were oftentimes either too far forward or too wide, often leaving Neves to try to pick up Shaqiri who was finding all sorts of space in between the lines. Bernardo and Ronaldo looked sharp every time they were on the ball, but for most of the match, these moments who few and far between. Moreover, William's lack of pace and Ronaldo's unwillingness (understandable) to drop back and defend often left Guerreiro exposed to overlaps down the right side. Switzerland's rightback in particular seemed to always have all the time and space in the world to whip in a cross.

Ruben Dias and Pepe -- and later Fonte -- were solid throughout. Semedo, despite the really harsh penalty, also put in a good shift.

I have to feel for Joao Felix. He had some nice touches in the second half when he was able to collect the ball in midfield, but for most of the game he was starved of possession, and when he did receive the ball, it was usually with his back to goal against physically superior center-backs. The kid is pure class and he will definitely be a star for the national team for years to come, but I think it's still a bit too early to throw him straight into a starting 11 in a brand new tactical scheme.

I think our best bet for the final would be to revert to a more traditional 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 shape. I would personally love to see Jota get the start alongside Ronaldo, but we'll probably see a front 3 of Ronaldo, Bernardo, and one of Guedes/Rafa with Bruno Fernandes as the most advanced midfielder.

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Agree with Jota, especially against England. He won't be intimidated and will go after them fearlessly.

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A quality Ronaldo inspired victory. I thought we underwhelmed early in new formation. Glad to see Bernardo central but we were narrow. When he started drifting I thought it opened up, with that Neves ball and of course Bernardos wonderful...

A quality Ronaldo inspired victory. I thought we underwhelmed early in new formation. Glad to see Bernardo central but we were narrow. When he started drifting I thought it opened up, with that Neves ball and of course Bernardos wonderful assist. Fair play to Santos, his selections largely paid off. Ruben looked great. William steady as always. My one complaint is he should've first played Felix in the last qualifiers at the Luz, as an impact sub. He looked nervy at the start and lacked confidence. Bright future for the kid but I think Santos should ease him in. Jota deserves a chance too, after his great finish in England. If Portugal play their game, should compete with Dutch or English

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I really don’t understand the fascination with Guedes anymore. Honestly, what does he offer at this point for the national team? I’ve never seen him do anything with any sort of finesse or control. He’s basically good at running as fast as he can...

I really don’t understand the fascination with Guedes anymore. Honestly, what does he offer at this point for the national team? I’ve never seen him do anything with any sort of finesse or control. He’s basically good at running as fast as he can into 3 guys and than if and I mean IF he picks his head up he passes the ball horribly. I’ll admit I don’t watch Valencia play but at this level he just isn’t up to it. Joao Félix was nervous and he didn’t ever get the chance to play his game. I was pissed at Ronaldo when Felix played Ronaldo through and Ronaldo shot the ball wide left earlier in the game instead of giving it back to him. Anyways, I actually didn’t want to come on here because I feel like I always have the same feelings win or lose. We just can’t break teams down, we have no movement and the movement we do have goes nowhere. Sometimes I think it’s santos and his tactics, sometimes I think it’s the over reliance on Ronaldo and other times I wonder if we’re just not that good. I know we have the players I individually but can they play together? The U-20 team sort of reminds me of these guys minus Ronaldo. Joao Felipe, Trincao, Gedson, Leao etc. all of these guys are phenomenal by themselves but will it ever translate into a dominant team? I suppose that’s why I lean more towards it being a coaching and tactical problem. As for Ronaldo, Jesus what more can you say at this point? I actually get upset when he scores because I hate the narrative that Portugal is just Ronaldo but you know what...it’s the truth.

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Save your cheers, the Dutch and English are downright nasty. The Dutch will boss our midfield and the English will lick tear apart our back line.
Our most skillful players are too small and our big players are too clumsy and slow- minus Sir...

Save your cheers, the Dutch and English are downright nasty. The Dutch will boss our midfield and the English will lick tear apart our back line.
Our most skillful players are too small and our big players are too clumsy and slow- minus Sir Ronaldo.
As for the proper formation, ughh. There is none. Do you think you all know better than Santos? Come on.
The world will find out just how good those other two teams aka Ajax and Liverpool are tomorrow. They're the best two national teams right now.
Will our young players ever really develop? Geez. At this point, I'm erring on the side of some serious caution.
Switzerland is not a good team.
Yeah we've only lost three times in the last five years, but we only beat two quality teams in competitive matches: Croatia and France.

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Two observations: we’re due for a VAR break in our favor. VAR is supposed to make better decisions, but from the World Cup, to euro qualifiers, to this match, VAR is killing us. Maybe our luck is ready to turn!

The other note, Bernardo Silva was...

Two observations: we’re due for a VAR break in our favor. VAR is supposed to make better decisions, but from the World Cup, to euro qualifiers, to this match, VAR is killing us. Maybe our luck is ready to turn!

The other note, Bernardo Silva was fantastic! There’s been a lot of handwringing over his performances for the national team, so we should take some solace in this game. He played great.

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We already played a better style of football under santos, that brought us to that nations league semifinal at all. That were the first two games against Italy and poland - without Ronaldo. It was a more balanced formation, with much more playing...

We already played a better style of football under santos, that brought us to that nations league semifinal at all. That were the first two games against Italy and poland - without Ronaldo. It was a more balanced formation, with much more playing through the middle and much better passing. I don’t know why santos doesn’t try to go back to this style/tactics. Perhaps it has to do with Ronaldo. For me he is curse and blessing.

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