Portugal 1-0 Netherlands

The Seleção defeated the Netherlands 1-0 tonight at the Estádio do Dragão to become champions of the inaugural Nations League tournament. With an intelligent and organized performance, Portugal outshot the Dutch 18-to-4 with Bernardo Silva, Danilo, Semedo, and Bruno Fernandes each putting in wonderful individual efforts.

Though oft-maligned for his subpar performances during the World Cup in 2018, Guedes showed great resiliency to come into the side for João Félix and win the match for Portugal with a cracking finish on the hour mark, completing his outstanding return to competitive football after spending much of the 2018/19 season sidelined through injury.   

Santos made three changes to the side that defeated Switzerland with Fonte replacing the injured Pepe, Danilo providing stronger defensive cover alongside William, and Guedes taking over for João Félix following his decent second half cameo against the Swiss. Meanwhile, the Netherlands were unchanged from the side that defeated England in extra time in Guimarães.

As anticipated, the Dutch took control of possession right away with Portugal remaining compact and ready to pounce in a 4-3-3. Bernardo Silva was bundled over inside the penalty area after a brilliant pass over the top in the 5th minute, but the referee judged the contact with Van Dijk to have been fair. Bruno Fernandes won a corner and delivered a teasing cross in the 11th minute with William just failing to make contact at the near post.

But Portugal were well-organized and smothered the Dutch threat with Ruben Dias making a good tackle on Depay after a bad pass by Fernandes was intercepted. In fact, it was Portugal who gradually began to threaten.

First, Fonte saw his low header saved following a corner then Fernandes called Cillessen into action with a trademark drive from outside the penalty area. On the ensuing corner, Ronaldo’s fierce header was saved with difficulty although the play was eventually whistled for offside.

Bruno Fernandes continued to threaten with another shot just blocked by Van Dijk then the Sporting playmaker went much closer with an effort over the bar after being teed up by Bernardo Silva.

Cristiano Ronaldo fired in a low attempt minutes later with half-time approaching, and Portugal finished the opening 45 minutes well on top despite less possession, registering 12 total attempts while not allowing the Dutch a single shot.

Koeman immediately made a change to start the second half with Quincy Promes coming on for Ryan Babel. The Netherlands assumed control and began to threaten Portugal and the Seleção began to find opportunities on the counter. Ronaldo burst through several challenges and put Guedes through, but the Valencia winger’s attempted cross was cleared for a corner.

Depay then showed great strength to get past Fonte and slip in a shot at Patricio’s near post that the Wolverhampton keeper did well to save. But Portugal continued to threaten on the counterattack and it would eventually pay dividends. Gonçalo Guedes started the move with a brilliant nutmeg and lay off for Bernardo Silva. The Manchester City playmaker’s drop off found Guedes who smashed it past Cillessen into the bottom right corner from 20 yards, fully just reward for Portugal’s work on the evening.

But the Netherlands would not give up easily and Patricio was called upon to keep out a dangerous header from Memphis Depay after a cross from the right. Dias cleared the ball just in front of several Dutch attackers minutes later and it was obvious Portugal needed a change.

Santos responded with Rafa Silva for Guedes. The Dutch wasted another opportunity in the 79thminute with De Roon shooting over when well-placed from 20 yards. Fernandes tested Cillessen yet again in the 80th minute, but it was Portugal’s fullbacks who came closest to scoring with both Guerreiro and Semedo just failing to capitalize on rampaging forays into the Dutch penalty area.

But as was the case throughout the match, Portugal’s organization and desire smothered the Dutch attempts to create and forced them into hopeless crosses and shots from range. It was a night when Portugal truly deserved to win with a composed and cohesive display that will greatly encourage Portugal supporters all over the world.

Unlike the match against Switzerland, Ronaldo’s influence was not required with Guedes even choosing to ignore Ronaldo and have the shot himself on the winning goal. Though not a tournament with the same prestige as the Euros or World Cup, Portugal once again showed they are tough to beat and can adapt to a wide range of circumstances, including not being able to outpossess their opponent. Portugal's midfielders were superb with Fernandes testing the keeper from range, William and Danilo providing excellent defensive cover and Bernardo Silva involved in almost every key move for the Seleção. Meanwhile, Guerreiro and Semedo put in competent displays in defense and attack.

For the Dutch, their control of possession looked as if it might bear fruit in the second half, but Portugal’s threat on the counter and denial of clear opportunities frustrated them. In the end they might have been lucky not to concede again. Even so, Koeman’s squad will be buoyed by their performance overall in this tournament after enduring several difficult years in international play.

Campeões!!!!!

Portugal XI: Rui Patrício - Raphael Guerreiro, Rúben Dias, José Fonte, Nélson Semedo - William Carvalho (Neves, 90'), Danilo, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes (Moutinho, 81') - Gonçalo Guedes (Rafa Silva, 75'), Cristiano Ronaldo

Netherlands XI: Cillessen - Blind, De Ligt, Van Dijk, Dumfries - De Roon (Luuk De Jong, 81'), De Jong, Wijnaldum - Babel (Promes, 46'), Depay, Bergwijn (Den Beek, 60')

 

Goals:

[1-0] - Gonçalo Guedes 60'

 

  by Nathan Motz

Comments (33)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Wow. I’m officially grounding myself from this site for two months. All I have to say is Fuck yes!!!!!!!!!

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Your posts are respectful Justin. Nothing wrong with being critical about the Selecao.

Your not the problem.

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Champions again in a new tournament! Well done to the Seleccao, well done to Fernando Santos, many of us had started to doubt you, but we owe you an apology. Excellent job Enginheiro! Bernardo was fantastic, Guedes was clutch,and even with a...

Champions again in a new tournament! Well done to the Seleccao, well done to Fernando Santos, many of us had started to doubt you, but we owe you an apology. Excellent job Enginheiro! Bernardo was fantastic, Guedes was clutch,and even with a "weakened" defence, we still did it.

Danny da whatever and Z, great work on your prognostications. You guys are truly visionaries. When you're not marrying Brazilian models, living in the best country in the world, and smashing personal gym records, you are both the "Nostre-dumbasses" of PortuGOAL's otherwise excellent community.

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Yo, those two guys are really hilarious. Let them be. I'm sure --Z-- will be on here rambling about something soon anyway. He's partly why I go on this site.

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Don't feed the trolls my man.

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For so long, I thought I would never see us be champions. This is awesome.

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Credit to Santos, great tactical night. Danilo was fantastic. Guedes as well. Makes you optimistic for next summer. Great young talent like Bruno and Dias, with Ronaldo and Bernardo. Id still love to see Jota get a chance, but it's getting...

Credit to Santos, great tactical night. Danilo was fantastic. Guedes as well. Makes you optimistic for next summer. Great young talent like Bruno and Dias, with Ronaldo and Bernardo. Id still love to see Jota get a chance, but it's getting harder to criticize Santos.

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Credit to Fernando Santos he got his tactics correct against a seriously promising Netherlands team and shut them down in midfield. His tactics against Switzerland was disappointing and we needed C. Ronaldo to do his thing and save him. This game...

Credit to Fernando Santos he got his tactics correct against a seriously promising Netherlands team and shut them down in midfield. His tactics against Switzerland was disappointing and we needed C. Ronaldo to do his thing and save him. This game was the entire team and the Manager included doing a great job.

Happy that Bernardo Silva got the credit for his performance, he must loved this year of football, he won so much this year.

Gonçalo Guedes might not be the greatest striker but he played well this game in terms of passing and defending.

Joao Felix needs more time and should be playing every game in the European Qualifiers to get more playing time.

Rúben Dias & Nélson Semedo need to play all the time for Portugal now they showed they know how to play in the team.

Winning this Nation League felt nothing like the Euros 2016 but it is a good trophy to win to get the winning mentality in the players that weren't there for Portugal in 2016.

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We did ittttttttttt. What a team what a future that is awaiting us. B. Silva you're our Future what a genius on the field. Credits as well to Guedes for that Maniche-y strike? Was I the only one Youtubing the 2006 Maniche's goal to see the...

We did ittttttttttt. What a team what a future that is awaiting us. B. Silva you're our Future what a genius on the field. Credits as well to Guedes for that Maniche-y strike? Was I the only one Youtubing the 2006 Maniche's goal to see the resemblance?lol. Portugal for ever and ever!!! Força.

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Santos was bold and his line up smothered the Dutch in the first half, before the Dutch made changes. That was impressive as the Dutch had been giving many teams problems with their midfield.

Dias was immense. As were Bernardo and Bruno....

Santos was bold and his line up smothered the Dutch in the first half, before the Dutch made changes. That was impressive as the Dutch had been giving many teams problems with their midfield.

Dias was immense. As were Bernardo and Bruno. Actually, the whole team deserves credit.

Guedes, Portugal's unheralded Step Child(cf Eder, Euro 2016), steps up again.

I know some pundits in the USA(ESPN) have been playing down this tournament, "Little better than Friendlies". But from what I saw, almost all teams were using their best available players. I am sure Germany, Croatia and Poland didn't want to get relegated and France, Spain, Belgium and Italy wanted to make it to semi-finals in Portugal.

Heard a lot of the English, wanting to bring it home. The Dutch wanted to show they are back, and they are. So, I don't buy this being a marginal tournament. In fact the twelve teams involved this year were very strong, arguably stronger than a 24 team Euro. Next tournament might not be as competitive, as some promoted league B teams may not be as good as the relegated League A teams.


Forca!

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Great win! Santos got his line up and tactics right I think this is the baseline starting unit with a few tweaks depending on injuries and opponent.

Not a fan of Guedes with his heavy touches but he came through. Overtime he can be a sub and...

Great win! Santos got his line up and tactics right I think this is the baseline starting unit with a few tweaks depending on injuries and opponent.

Not a fan of Guedes with his heavy touches but he came through. Overtime he can be a sub and Felix can get that spot. Silva and Fernandes playing better, hope a sign of things to come.

I posted a few months back that I a Danilo and William pairing made sense given our fullbacks over lap and the motors these guys bring. I believe in getting your best players on the field and figure out a way to use them. These two are way better than Neves (clumsy in tackling and does not cover ground) at DM or any attacking player we put out there as there production would outweigh another attacker especially against first rate teams. They provide great cover for our defense and are underrated with their runs through the middle.

Now we need to continue to improve, develop a few more young guys for depth and go forward with this team.

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Its amazing how often Portugal defy the critics but who cares about them. Defying all the same nutjobs who post garbage on here all the time is satisfying. Same 2 really.

Great job by Portugal in a dominant performance. Bernardo Silva, Danilo...

Its amazing how often Portugal defy the critics but who cares about them. Defying all the same nutjobs who post garbage on here all the time is satisfying. Same 2 really.

Great job by Portugal in a dominant performance. Bernardo Silva, Danilo and Rueben Dias were giants. Semedo great game.


Forca Portugal, great job by Santos.

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Santos was largely out-coached by his Swiss counterpart on Wednesday, but he got his tactics spot on tonight. The decision to move Danilo into the #6 role, along with moving Fernandes and William into their more natural (and central) #8 positions...

Santos was largely out-coached by his Swiss counterpart on Wednesday, but he got his tactics spot on tonight. The decision to move Danilo into the #6 role, along with moving Fernandes and William into their more natural (and central) #8 positions worked to perfection. While the Dutch enjoyed spells of possession in their own of of the field, they found it nearly impossible to work the ball between our midfield lines -- something Frenkie de Jong perhaps does better than any other holding midfielder in Europe. I've watched de Jong quite a few times this season against top quality opposition, and tonight's game was without doubt the most ineffective I have ever seen him.

His inability to dominate Portugal's midfield the way he dominate that of France, Germany, Real Madrid, and Juventus was largely down to our defensive shape and the tremendous individual work of the likes of Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, and William Carvalho in particular.

Nelson Semedo, Jose Fonte, and Nelson Semedo were solid throughout and Ruben Dias arguably had his best ever performance in a Portugal.

Guedes was shaky in the first half, but he took his goal extremely well. Ronaldo didn't have much to work with in terms of goal scoring chances, but his link-up play in between the lines and out wide was excellent throughout. Rafa also looked absolutely unplayable off the bench -- let's hope this superb form continues for both club and country!

My man-of-the-match award, however, has to go to Bernardo Silva. Apart from the away game in Poland, we've only seen flashes of the world-class Bernardo Silva in a Portugal shirt, but in these two Nations League games, fans of the Selecao, were finally treated to the real Bernardo Silva, the Bernardo Silva who has arguably been the best midfielder in Europe this season. His football IQ, vision, technique -- not to mention his extraordinary work-rate -- are world-class.

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