Portugal were unable to imitate what the U21 side did yesterday, drawing 0-0 with Spain.

Some wasteful finishing from Álvaro Morata and co. meant that Portugal earned a goalless draw in front of Spanish fans in Madrid. The seleção were uninspiring and created few clear chances through the game. Fernando Santos and his team have plenty of work ahead of them before EURO 2020 begins next week.

The last time these two sides faced each other earlier in the season – it was also a 0-0 draw at Alvalade. This fixture was at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid with fans in attendance. Fernando Santos was without João Cancelo, Rúben Dias, Gonçalo Guedes and Bernardo Silva for this game, but had Cristiano Ronaldo and João Félix up front, while Adama Traoré was out injured for Spain.

Portugal did not get out of the traps, with Spain dominating possession in the early going and the visitors happy to soak up the pressure. However, Portugal did get the ball in the net halfway through the first half when José Fonte rose highest to head in Raphaël Guerreiro’s corner. However, the veteran defender was penalised for a foul on Pau Torres.

Spain got their first real chance not long after. Portugal were robbed in possession – a recurring theme throughout the night – and Álvaro Morata put in a fantastic cross but Ferrán Torres wasn’t able to convert. Later, Cristiano Ronaldo was almost presented a gift by goalkeeper Unai Simón, when the Athletic Bilbao stopper attempted a clearance that struck the forward in the midriff. The ball could have gone anywhere, but it was a big let-off for Spain.

The home side continued to dominate proceedings, ending the first half with 71% possession, but neither side were yet to register a shot on target.

After the half-time break, Fernando Santos handed a debut to Sporting’s Pedro Gonçalves who took the place of João Félix. But the star of the second half was Morata. The striker proceeded to miss chance after chance as Spain began to create more, although Pablo Sarabia missed the easiest of the chances after good work from Marcos Llorente.

Portugal did have one very good chance in the second half. Ronaldo was able to find space down the right and he put in a cross that Diogo Jota attacked well but his header went over the bar. Santos brought on William Carvalho, Bruno Fernandes, João Palhinha, Rafa Silva, and Nuno Mendes throughout the second half but Portugal still couldn’t find a way into the game.

Spain had a fantastic opportunity to win the game in the 90th minute when Álvaro Morata found himself clean through on goal. Morata got the ball over Rui Patrício but it struck the woodwork and bounced clear.

In truth, Portugal were lucky not to lose in Madrid. But with one more game to play before the EURO 2020 begins – against Israel on Wednesday – there’s still time for Fernando Santos to sort out his team before the opening game against Hungary.

by Richard Cole

Spain XI: Unai Simón; Marcos Llorente, Pau Torres (Eric García, 63’), Aymeric Laporte (Diego Llorente, 79’), José Gayá; Sergio Busquets (Rodri, 63’), Thiago Alcântara (Pedri, 63’), Fabián Ruiz (Koke, 75’); Ferrán Torres, Álvaro Morata, Pablo Sarabia (Gerard Moreno, 75’)

Portugal XI: Rui Patrício; Nélson Semedo, Pepe (William Carvalho, 59’), José Fonte; Raphaël Guerreiro (Nuno Mendes, 81’); Renato Sanches (João Palhinha 70’), Danilo Pereira, Sérgio Oliveira (Bruno Fernandes, 59’), Diogo Jota (Rafa Silva, 70’); Cristiano Ronaldo, João Félix (Pedro Gonçalves, 45’)

Comments (31)

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Fucking team...we will be fucked against France ?? and Germany ??

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I totally disagree that we were dominated and lucky not to lose this match, as suggested in the report. Apart from a dodgy first 20 mins when we still looked on summer holiday mode, I actually thought that after those first 20 mins we looked the...

I totally disagree that we were dominated and lucky not to lose this match, as suggested in the report. Apart from a dodgy first 20 mins when we still looked on summer holiday mode, I actually thought that after those first 20 mins we looked the better team overall, certainly more variety in our players and overall play than Spain. Spain were full of their usual tiki taka, pass, pass and more pass, but they didn't really create much at all apart from the chance right at the death when they hit the bar. We actually got the ball in the net and had a few other big chances too. To my mind at least, we've got the better generation of players right now, with far more variety!

Didn't really like the midfield selection from Santos though in the first half, and our midfield got a lot better in the second half once Bruno Fernandes and William came on. Can we please have enough of Sergio Oliveira in the Selecao first team? He just doesn't bring anything to the table apart from taking corners and free kicks! I thought Pedro Goncalves looked pretty sharp in that second half and he can bring something very different to the team. Renato Sanches looked very dynamic and energetic and could play a big role for us at this tournament.

As I mentioned in a recent post and as other posters have recently mentioned: much is going to depend on the approach Santos takes at these Euros. If he continues to be conservative and cautious, then we are very unlikely to go all the way. But if he takes more chances and maximizes the attacking potential of this talented crop of players, then we have every chance of winning this thing again! Even today, I think if Santos had been bolder, I think we would have won the match. Come on Santos, let's just go for it at these Euros, we have an amazing squad of players, let's make maximum use of all this talent!

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Wow. Well I hope Portugal played the way they did because it’s a friendly. If we play like this, we will finish 4th in our group. I am convinced that Nossa Senhora de Fatima (and Morata’s incompetence) protected us and gave us the clean sheet.

I...

Wow. Well I hope Portugal played the way they did because it’s a friendly. If we play like this, we will finish 4th in our group. I am convinced that Nossa Senhora de Fatima (and Morata’s incompetence) protected us and gave us the clean sheet.

I thought Renato was our best player. Great at going forward and winning the ball, he looked the only player who actually wanted to play today. I thought Guerreiro was pretty solid as well, and defended brilliantly. It’s good to know we rested a few players, so there’s that. For all of you who don’t think Bernardo Silva should be starting, this game and our incapability of keeping ahold of the ball against the remnants of once a great Spanish team, concludes my case. I always thought Bernardo played better in the middle of the park, and we surely could’ve used him, but obviously earned a well-deserved rest. If selection in the midfield ever becomes an issue, Bernardo over Bruno Fernandes any day. I cannot believe how disappointing Bruno has been for the Seleçao, I hope he finds some form soon. HOPEFULLY with a full strength team, we will be playing some great, attractive football.

Sometimes you forget that Ronaldo is the greatest goal scorer of all time. Today he looked like a washed up 2014 Hugo Almeida. Of course, he’s our GOAT but when we don’t have the ball, we are technically always a man down. Patricio was solid and made a great save near the end of the game, but his distribution is terrible, and the amount of balls that we gave away from that were far too many. If we play an actual threatening team with great strikers/wingers, we will surely be punished for defensive and midfield errors.

It’s still just a friendly - so not too worried about this one. Perhaps a win would’ve been worse for us, because then Santos would feel reassured that conservative tactics would be the way to go. I think that we should be approaching this tournament a little different than we did in 2016 considering how much more talented we are this time around.

Força Portugal!

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This team is truly embarrassing. No motivation, no energy, no creativity. The same stuff we’ve been complaining about for years! How do you have jota, CR7, and Felix up front and have 0 attack. I blame the coach. Even though we won 2016, it’s...

This team is truly embarrassing. No motivation, no energy, no creativity. The same stuff we’ve been complaining about for years! How do you have jota, CR7, and Felix up front and have 0 attack. I blame the coach. Even though we won 2016, it’s incredibly embarrassing how others talk about how they shouldn’t have one. Frankly, 100% agree. The way this team plays, they don’t deserve any luck. Fernando santos really needs to change his philosophy and CR7 needs to step up and be a leader and motivator tactically instead of complaining. Enough is enough

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ONE thing learned from this game is that Morata is secretly a Portugal NT fan...

Or that he is terrible, or both?

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Uninspired, uninventive, insipid. Kind of what I expected from Santos.

Friendly games are relatively meaningless but it would still be nice to put in a better display than that.

We owe the draw to Morata and how terrible he is more so than...

Uninspired, uninventive, insipid. Kind of what I expected from Santos.

Friendly games are relatively meaningless but it would still be nice to put in a better display than that.

We owe the draw to Morata and how terrible he is more so than any of our own merits.

Hope o Enginheiro can get more out of these guys and fast.

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Part of me wishes we had been defeated by 2 or 3 goals. Maybe then Fernando Santos would reconsider playing such negative football. This Spain side is talented, but it is no where near as intimidating as the 2008-2012 side that dominated...

Part of me wishes we had been defeated by 2 or 3 goals. Maybe then Fernando Santos would reconsider playing such negative football. This Spain side is talented, but it is no where near as intimidating as the 2008-2012 side that dominated international football. If we had pressed higher and played more offensively, we definitely would have been able to create some quality chances against their less than impressive defense.

It's almost as if Santos really only knows how to coach two types of football.

#1: Sit back, soak up pressure, and don't concede.

#2: Cross the hell out of the ball and hope that Ronaldo or whoever else is in the box can get a head to it.

The first option wouldn't be disastrous if we could counter-attack effectively, but more often than not, our counters lead to nothing.

Santos has proven that either he is unwilling or perhaps even incapable of getting us to play more proactive football without sacrificing defensive solidity. We don't have to throw caution to the wind. Balance is necessary, but if all we can do is sit back and hope to keep the game 0-0 and send it to extra time, we are not going to win this Euro.

The guy has Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernardo, Joao Felix, Jota, Bruno Fernandes, etc. at his disposal and we can never find a way to play any sort of organized, cohesive attacking football.

Cristiano's inability to press effectively for 90 minutes could be one excuse, but we don't necessarily have to be pressing non-stop for 90 minutes. There must be a way to get the most of this incredible talent pool. If Santos can't figure it out, we're going to need someone else to take over.

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Santos coaches Portugal the same way he coached Greece, except with Portugal he was way more talent. Why doesn’t Rui George get promoted to the senior time? I don’t mind losing as long as we lose playing football. Ronaldo needs to go. All he does...

Santos coaches Portugal the same way he coached Greece, except with Portugal he was way more talent. Why doesn’t Rui George get promoted to the senior time? I don’t mind losing as long as we lose playing football. Ronaldo needs to go. All he does is complain like a little child throwing his Hans in the air when he doesn’t get the ball. He is holding the young guys back...

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Spains passing and possession is amazing to watch. If they had proper finishers, this game would've ended 3-0. Portugals passing was wasteful and quite frankly infuriating to watch. We can't soak up pressure every single game. We need to start...

Spains passing and possession is amazing to watch. If they had proper finishers, this game would've ended 3-0. Portugals passing was wasteful and quite frankly infuriating to watch. We can't soak up pressure every single game. We need to start taking control of games and putting these elite teams back in their own half. I can't take another Euro of penalty shoot outs and last minute extra time goals.

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Meh... we knew Spain was going to dominate possession. I think there were some big missed assignments that will get cleaned up.

Portugal lost to Bulgaria and England before Euro 2016. Calma.

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“The game against Germany served as a lesson.”

João Palhinha
(Portugal midfielder highlights the factor behind the huge improvement by Portugal in their final Euro 2020 Group F match against France) 

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