Sweden 0-2 Portugal

Portugal made it a perfect start to the defence of their Nations League crown with a second win in four days thanks to two goals from returning captain Cristiano Ronaldo.

After a hard-fought first half, the game turned on the stroke of the interval after a red card issued to Svensson, with Ronaldo scoring a sublime goal direct from the subsequent free kick.

It was Ronaldo's 100th goal for Portugal and he made it 101 in the second half with another superb strike from range.

Portugal started slowly with Marcus Berg heading a long throw wide. Sweden were testing Portugal’s defence with crosses, Alexander Isak keen to impress up front.

Bernardo Silva created Portugal’s first chance in the 20th minute, his cross to the back post almost finding Pepe. It was Bernardo’s last pass for the evening, he was injured and replaced by Gonçalo Guedes.

The Seleção started to assert their authority on the match. A Bruno Fernandes corner was met by Ronaldo who swivelled and shot, forcing a save from Robin Olsen.

João Cancelo’s ball over the defence found Ronaldo who forced another save from Olsen. Portugal wasted a lovely passing sequence with the match taking a dramatic turn before half time.

Gustav Svensson’s late tackle on João Moutinho resulted in a second booking and red card. Ronaldo stepped up and sent the free kick into the top corner to secure his 100th international goal.

João Moutinho and João Félix fired over to start the second half and Bruno Fernandes deflected Guerreiro’s cross onto the bar. Emil Forsberg went straight through Portugal’s press but Sweden were unable to create chances.

In the 72nd minute Portugal made it 2-0. A lovely long ball from Bruno Fernandes found João Félix, the youngster setting up Ronaldo who guided the ball into the top corner.

Anthony Lopes continued to be a spectator, Félix and Ronaldo trying their luck and Félix forcing a save in the final minutes.

It had to be Ronaldo

It was fitting that Cristiano Ronaldo would score his 100th goal for Portugal goal in Sweden, the scene of one of his greatest display for his country.

Coming in for Diogo Jota in Fernando Santos’ only change, he tested Robin Olsen twice before giving the Sweden keeper little chance with the free kick.

Ronaldo’s second goal was another one for the highlight reel, given little space but using it to beat the Swedish defence and keeper in one effort.

by Matthew Marshall

 

 

Sweden: Olsen, Kraftg, Helander, Jansson, Augustinsson, Kulusevski (Albin Ekdal 90), Olsson, Svenssin, Forsberg (Mattias Svanberg, 79'), Isak (Robin Quaison, 71), Berg

Portugal: Anthony Lopes, João Cancelo, Pepe, Rúben Dias, Guerreiro, Danilo, João Moutinho (Rúben Neves, 73’), Bernardo Silva (Gonçalo Guedes, 22’), Bruno Fernandes, João Félix, Cristiano Ronaldo

Goals

[0-1] Ronaldo, 45’

[0-2] Ronaldo, 72’

 

Comments (15)

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The match unfolded more or lest how I expected. Sweden lack in the individual talent of the Croatian side we faced a few days ago, but they are disciplined, hard-working, and always difficult to beat.

They were playing with more intensity than...

The match unfolded more or lest how I expected. Sweden lack in the individual talent of the Croatian side we faced a few days ago, but they are disciplined, hard-working, and always difficult to beat.

They were playing with more intensity than we were for the first 25 or so minutes, but slowly but surely we started to create some clever and intricate passing combinations. We were also the only side that was creating any chances. We weren't dominant, but definitely in control.

Ronaldo's 100th was world-class, as was his 101st. I would have liked to have seen us take the game to Sweden in the second half, but I understand the rationale behind remaining in second gear. All in all it was a comfortable win against a quality side, albeit aided with a one-man advantage for half of the game.

Anthony Lopes and the defense were never really troubled. Danilo and Moutinho again did well to close down spaces and clog passing lanes in between the lines. Pepe and Ruben Dias for the most part were able to deal with all of the crosses and set pieces Sweden through at us. Guerreiro and Cancelo in particular were not as adventurous today as they were against Croatia, but they still played well.

Bruno Fernandes bossed the midfield and was unlucky not to score early in the second half. Guedes really didn't offer much on the right wing, especially since we didn't have too many opportunities to counter attack.

Felix was actually quite sharp throughout. He had some lovely touches, and his ability to combine well with the likes of Ronaldo, Fernandes, and Guerreiro down the left was fun to watch.

Ronaldo was the man of the match. Intelligent link-up play and two brilliant goals. Pure class.

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I feel like Guedes is a good counter-attacking option. He has the speed to burn and possesses a great shot. I don't know if it was the formation that he was in, but he needs to be higher up the pitch to utilize his abilities better to catch the...

I feel like Guedes is a good counter-attacking option. He has the speed to burn and possesses a great shot. I don't know if it was the formation that he was in, but he needs to be higher up the pitch to utilize his abilities better to catch the opposition off guard.

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Ok this love affair with Guedes just has to stop please. What am I missing here with him? You know who he reminds me of? Remember the kid in gym class in school that could play all of the sports pretty good because he’s athletic but he’s not...

Ok this love affair with Guedes just has to stop please. What am I missing here with him? You know who he reminds me of? Remember the kid in gym class in school that could play all of the sports pretty good because he’s athletic but he’s not actually great at any sport, well that’s Guedes. He’s pointless out there, he’s literally only capable of running in completely straight forward lines. It’s honestly mind boggling to me why santos or any of these teams want him. I know I’m being harsh but seriously though he offers absolutely nothing. He’s not even fast enough to be a decoy actually and he has zero football instinct and intelligence. The drop off between him and Bernardo Silva is like me cooking vs my mother. I don’t watch much of the Portuguese league because in the United States I don’t get rtpi but their has to be 5-10 wingers in Portugal that can play that position better than him. I’d rather see trincao 200% of the time if that means Guedes doesn’t play. I’d rather see Ronny Lopes, Pedro Neto or Jota(Benfica Jota) any day over him. Actually Id rather have Nani over him too. Anyways, I think I like Joao Felix in this false 9 role a lot, I wish he’d leave Atletico but maybe this will be a big year for him. I could type more but all in all I’m happy with the two games I’ve seen us play, there’s always something we could dissect and pick apart but in all reality we look pretty damn good I think. Ronaldo is simply a machine, like it doesn’t even make sense sometimes how easily he scores. I’m a little biased because my parents were born in Madeira but Jesus what a player he is...sometimes I wish he wouldn’t score so much because the narrative about Portugal in the world is Ronaldo is the reason why we win. I think it takes away how good we really are.

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Funny, I used to be like this about Bernardo Silva. I never understood the hype about him. Small, not very fast, but now I see why he is who he is today.

Like I mentioned above, Guedes does have a great shot when he's in position to use it. He...

Funny, I used to be like this about Bernardo Silva. I never understood the hype about him. Small, not very fast, but now I see why he is who he is today.

Like I mentioned above, Guedes does have a great shot when he's in position to use it. He has the speed to burn but needs to play in a 4-4-2, or a wide 4-2-2-2 option. Rony Lopes never gets a shot but that's not here or there.

It's like the defensive position. Who else can we have to sub out Pepe and Fonte when they are gone? Edgar Ie? Domingos Duarte? Why doesn't Daniel Carrico get a shot?

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Just like against Croatia, it was a nother thoroughly dominant display last night against the Swedes. In both matches the final score was kind to the opponents and we could have scored many more goals in both matches. And against tough teams too,...

Just like against Croatia, it was a nother thoroughly dominant display last night against the Swedes. In both matches the final score was kind to the opponents and we could have scored many more goals in both matches. And against tough teams too, finalists and quarter finalists at the last World Cup.

I have been convinced for a few years already that in terms of availability of serious talent, there is currently no stronger national team than us in the world. The amount of major talent we have across all positions is amazing, it really is. We are in the midst of another golden generation, no doubt about it and the majority of these players are young so the future is looking very bright. Look how talented our under 21 team looks too. I am confident of taking on absolutely any national team in the world at the moment. I mean look how dominant we were in these two matches and then think about the talented players who were not even involved at all: William Carvalho, Renato Sanches, Nelson Semedo, Rafa Silva, Andre Gomes, Bruma etc..

With all this talent available, it's all about being able to harness it into a unified team and getting the best out of all of it. And Santos deserves much credit for doing so. He received a lot of criticism from everyone (myself included) for his over-pragmatic approach during his first few years in charge...but we all know now in hindsight how important that was, to make sure that elusive first major title was finally won. And then in the last couple of years he now has us playing exciting football full of fluidity and flair, the Portuguese way! So I think Santos has shown a lot of flexibility and versatility in the years he's been in charge and deserves a lot of praise for that.

As for CR7, what more is there to be said? He simply will not be stopped in his perennial goal-scoring mission! By far the greatest goalscorer of his generation, and by the time he's finished could end up being the greatest goalscorer of all time! He clearly has so much more to offer to the Selecao in the next few years, but the great thing is that even after the time he finally retires the future still looks very bright with all this young talent we have. Exciting times for Selecao fans!

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I agree with Justin and John regarding Guedes. He can be a very effective player, but he needs to be in the right role in the right system. In his first season at Valencia, he was utilized as a left winger in a counter-attack driven 4-4-2, and he...

I agree with Justin and John regarding Guedes. He can be a very effective player, but he needs to be in the right role in the right system. In his first season at Valencia, he was utilized as a left winger in a counter-attack driven 4-4-2, and he was arguably the best left winger in all of La Liga that season.

That being said, he does have his limitations. Apart from being a real handful when given space in transition, he really doesn't offer all that much. He still has the bad tendency to run at defenders with his head down, his touch/close control is pretty average, his combination play isn't all that great, and he is a bit too one footed for my liking.

Rafa Silva at Benfica is a similar in the sense that he is far more effective when games start to open up, but I think he's a clear level ahead of Guedes with regards to technique and vision. If Santos wants to bring a speedy impact sub to the Euros, it should be Rafa rather than Guedes. That being said, I think Francisco Trincao, if given the opportunity has the highest ceiling of any of our other options on the wing.

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Does anyone have comments on Rafael Guerrero? to me he is a liability misses a lot of passes can't keep up very well with attacking players, don't we have better players for that role? Two great games, I just hope the goal difference is not going...

Does anyone have comments on Rafael Guerrero? to me he is a liability misses a lot of passes can't keep up very well with attacking players, don't we have better players for that role? Two great games, I just hope the goal difference is not going to hurt us, I wish we had 2 or 3 more, France can easily catch up, but overall very happy to start with 2 wins. Good reading guys, Thanks

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Unfortunately, we don't currently have better proven left-backs. Mario Rui is average and Rafa plays a lot of midfield at Dortmund. He is a good player but undersized and not the fastest.

I know Cancelo ended playing left back at City, and had...

Unfortunately, we don't currently have better proven left-backs. Mario Rui is average and Rafa plays a lot of midfield at Dortmund. He is a good player but undersized and not the fastest.

I know Cancelo ended playing left back at City, and had that beautiful left footed shot against Croatia, but a couple years back at Inter, he couldn't cross with his left to save his life. Maybe he has improved, didn't get to see him playing left back at City.

Semedo and Ricardo have at times also played on the left, but they may be world class on the right, not sure on the left.

Vinagre not up to task yet, or maybe never will be. Good player, but undersized as well.

Maybe Nuno Mendes in the future? Nuno Sequiera looks good at times, then get injured. Any other legitimate prospects?

That's why I am wondering if a back three with wing-back would be best. Rafa and Cancelo are great wing-backs, they are great at getting forward. But they sometimes neglect defensive duties. Cancelo did play very good defense for the first hour or so against Croatia.

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Can't Danilo and/or William play at the back? More comfortable with Danilo there since he's more taller and agile.

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I think Danilo can probably play center back in an emergency situation, Fernando Santos even alluded to it a while back when he called up one less center back. However, I don't think he can play left back, unless you are thinking of a left side...

I think Danilo can probably play center back in an emergency situation, Fernando Santos even alluded to it a while back when he called up one less center back. However, I don't think he can play left back, unless you are thinking of a left side center back in a back three. In that case Rafa would probably be a left wing back, which I think he is excellent at.

I don't think I have ever heard William playing center back or full back.

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Unfortunately, we don't currently have better proven left-backs. Mario Rui is average and Rafa plays a lot of midfield at Dortmund. He is a good player but undersized and not the fastest.

I know Cancelo ended playing left back at City, and had...

Unfortunately, we don't currently have better proven left-backs. Mario Rui is average and Rafa plays a lot of midfield at Dortmund. He is a good player but undersized and not the fastest.

I know Cancelo ended playing left back at City, and had that beautiful left footed shot against Croatia, but a couple years back at Inter, he couldn't cross with his left to save his life. Maybe he has improved, didn't get to see him playing left back at City.

Semedo and Ricardo have at times also played on the left, but they may be world class on the right, not sure on the left.

Vinagre not up to task yet, or maybe never will be. Good player, but undersized as well.

Maybe Nuno Mendes in the future? Nuno Sequiera looks good at times, then get injured. Any other legitimate prospects?

That's why I am wondering if a back three with wing-back would be best. Rafa and Cancelo are great wing-backs, they are great at getting forward. But they sometimes neglect defensive duties. Cancelo did play very good defense for the first hour or so against Croatia.

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I'm satisfied with the result but have to say I'm not at all satisfied with the performance. At least, not offensively. I get that Sweden are a decent side and are incredibly organized and frustrating to break down, but my God, what was with all...

I'm satisfied with the result but have to say I'm not at all satisfied with the performance. At least, not offensively. I get that Sweden are a decent side and are incredibly organized and frustrating to break down, but my God, what was with all the stopping and starting during this match? Especially on the flanks where Raphael Guerrero and Joao Cancelo simply refused to push the pace and attack the spaces they were given. I'll admit the spaces weren't as big as in the Croatia game, but, they were there, and with their speed, you'd expect them to make something of that. Instead, in this match, it was just backwards pass after backwards pass - far too much hesitation and not enough urgency for my liking. Fernando Santos said something similar about the team as a whole in interviews so I know it wasn't a tactic from him. I guess I'll just assume it was a bit of fatigue as most of these guys, especially Raphael and Cancelo, ran themselves into the ground against Croatia. Tough to recover from that considering some of these guys haven't played a full match in a month or so.

I think that's what happened with Gonçalo Guedes as well. First of all, I was surprised when he was subbed on for Bernardo Silva as he's spent more time on the left than the right for Valencia. And second of all - this man has had an absolutely miserable season for many reasons, most of which aren't his fault. Between injuries and the chaos that is Valencia at the moment - oh and of course the Covid season pause - this man's rhythm and confidence is completely gone (almost like Renato Sanches' was last year). For that reason I'm choosing to give him a break and I'm not at all concerned about him. If he stays healthy and plays, after a couple of months, we'll see the same flashes we seen before. He just has to work on his consistency as most of our young players do. I will say he is more suited to play when we're counter-attacking though. I agree with that sentiment.

Just a couple more things: Been seeing the debate over Danilo/William Carvalho reignite and I still don't understand why it's a debate to begin with. Especially now that William doesn't play the defensive midfield role for his club anymore. If you need size to dominate and dictate the pace of a midfield - like against France *cough, cough* - just play both. Danilo and William can occupy the same position but they can complement each other as well. I seen that in person when they played alongside each other in the Nations League final against the Netherlands. While I love Joao Moutinho and still want him to be a part of the squad, let's face it, at his age, he should NOT be starting every single match in midfield. William, Sanches, Silva, Ruben Neves, or even Joao Mario should deputize there, depending on the opposition, just to name a few. Hope to see more of the Danilo/William combo moving forward once the latter is healthy.

And lastly, was disappointed Cristiano Ronaldo came off for Diogo Jota. Would've loved to have seen those two with Joao Felix for a while, and that's what I thought we were going to get instead of Guedes. I said it in my last post and I'll reiterate it here: I think Jota could be the perfect partner for Ronaldo; a speedy pest who will run himself ragged pressing and doing all the dirty work. Oh well, maybe next time.

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Job done..that was a more Santos esque win versus against croatia where it was progressive and flowing...happy about the win happy about Ronaldos century but think that more is to come.

Fernandes needs to play in the hole, felix is a v good...

Job done..that was a more Santos esque win versus against croatia where it was progressive and flowing...happy about the win happy about Ronaldos century but think that more is to come.

Fernandes needs to play in the hole, felix is a v good false nine but not as effective out wide...guedes is not as gifted as jota, trincao or leao for the matter and would have like to see the other 2 olay with felix and ronaldo yesterday. Also, santos needs to bleed another central defender into the line-up in case Pepe/fonte are not available or our of form. Too much reliance and other with no experience playing at senior level is not great...give duarte the chance or diogo leite or whomever...so they kind build some cohesiom in case something happens...

Danilo is a better defensive mid than carvalho as carvalho excels more as an 8. I was suprised moutinho continued to start....thought neves would get the nod....i expect if sanches has a great season like last year..he would get the nod ahead of moutinho....

I see he has gone with 4-1-4-1 or a 4-3-3 if you like.

I would rather see bsilva in that mid with danilo and fernandes so that a more pacey option can be on the right.

Patricio/lopes

Cancelo-pepe-dias-guerrero
Danilo/neves
B.silva/william b.fernandes/r.sanches
Trincao/jota felix/a.silva/r.leao ronaldo

By the way...his formation agaist croatia amd swedend was almost identical to the liverpool play...but i see france/italy playing with 3 at the back 3-4-1-2 where they drop into a 5 or 4 when defending.....instead of splitting centerbacks, they hold one fullback into a 3 and push the other almost like a winger with the winger moving inside amd the other winger staying out wide....interesting...cant wait for France game....

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I do agree with Guedes being very inconsistent, mostly due to injuries and then trying to get form and confidence back.

However, he and Bernardo together beat the very good Netherlands defense for the winning goal in the Nations League Final....

I do agree with Guedes being very inconsistent, mostly due to injuries and then trying to get form and confidence back.

However, he and Bernardo together beat the very good Netherlands defense for the winning goal in the Nations League Final. Just like I will always appreciate what Eder did helping us win our first senior title, I will appreciate Guedes and his attack minded nature.

As mention here, he almost always plays on the left side, so he was out of his preferred position. But he almost won the ball back when he charged down the Swedish player. If it wasn't for a last second toe poke by the defender he would have been charging one on one with Goalkeeper.

So I think when he is healthy and in form, a call up can be warranted. But as others have mentioned, Diogo Jota is very similar and is more consistent. Also, Rafa Silva when in form is great and Pedro Neto looks like he will be a good option for the Selecao also. And there are others, so it is a nice issue to have if they are all in form. I prefer more options than less.

So don't take this as an unabashed endorsement of Guedes, I am more than fine having other in form players taking his spot.

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I hope Ronaldo leaves on his own terms, not due to injury or noticeable decline.

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