In a candid press conference on Sunday, Portugal coach Fernando Santos described how the debacle that was Portugal’s 4-2 defeat against Germany had left the squad extremely downhearted. However, the veteran coach said lessons would be learned and even predicted that if the two teams were to meet again in the final of Euro 2020 it would be the Portuguese who would come out on top.

Meanwhile, results in the other groups have gone Portugal’s way, with the Seleção almost certain to reach the knockout phase provided they avoid a heavy defeat in their final Group F match against France on Wednesday. On the injury front João Félix is fit again but Nuno Mendes is still unavailable for selection. PortuGOAL rounds up the latest from the Portugal camp. 

 

In an unusual and commendable move, Santos called an unexpected press conference on Sunday to explain some aspects of the disappointing performance against Germany and how it had affected the squad.

Santos has been pilloried in the Portuguese press for his failure to react in-game to Germany’s ascendence on the flanks, but having analysed the match the veteran coach identified the problem. “We needed to put another man next to the centre-backs, so we weren’t pulled out of position and so we could have avoided five-against-four situations, and that’s why I inverted the triangle in midfield, but we couldn’t control Germany’s game.”

Santos also talked about Portugal’s lack of aggressiveness (Germany’s three front players committed more fouls than the whole of Portugal’s team) and defended the target of particularly harsh criticism, Nelson Semedo, explaining that the right-back was left having to mark two players and took the right decision to cover the man inside, thus leaving the wide player (Gosens) in space.

“But we have learned from our mistakes. If it’s a Portugal-Germany final, Portugal will win.”

Santos went on to explain how the mood in the camp was sombre after the match, with almost nothing said on the flight back from Munich to Budapest, “which is perfectly understandable.”

“When we got back we ate and then each player went to their rooms. It’s a very individual moment; we were feeling down. It affects some more than others, but everyone was down, without exception. Today (Sunday) at lunch the mood was a little better, but it was still like waking up from a dream, which had turned into a nightmare.

“Afterwards we all got together, and started talking normally, not only the players but the whole delegation, and we were obviously supporting each other and lifting one another. Now the group is cheerful again.”

Dropped to the bench “not a punishment”

Santos said changes would be made against France, although he was at pains to point out that nobody was being scapegoated. “We’ve had two very intense games; you only need look at the kilometres the players have run, in addition to strategic changes. They (the changes) should not be seen as a punishment. I don’t work like that.”

On Monday, Portugal’s second highest caps holder, João Moutinho, spoke to the press and reiterated that the squad was now fully focused on the France match.

“We weren’t the best team after beating Hungary, and we’re not the worst team after losing to Germany,” said the Wolves midfielder. “The sour feeling is going away. Your face when you win is never the same as your face when you lose. We were disappointed but we have to look at things realistically. As each day that goes by we are thinking about the next task, with is the game against France. We want to give a better image than in our last game.

“France have a great team. We can highlight the three forwards, but they have other players who can do damage. We want to impose our game. The Portugal team has shown it has the quality to overcome difficulties. We have to defend well and attack well, at the right moments.”

Favourable results boost Portugal’s chances

Portugal play France on Wednesday evening in the final Group F match. Given the format of the competition and results on Monday night, Portugal are now well placed to make progress to the knockout stage of the tournament.

The Seleção will be in the round of 16 provided two circumstances are avoided:

  1. Portugal cannot lose against France by a margin of more than two goals.
  2. Any defeat coupled with a Hungary victory against Germany will also knock out Portugal as in this case they will finish bottom of the group.

Injury news

Atletico Madrid forward João Félix has been integrated into normal training following his muscle strain issue and is available for selection against France. Left-back Nuno Mendes continues to sit out the group sessions, and was limited to doing light jogging as he too tries to shake off a muscle injury. The Sporting defender remains a doubt for Wednesday’s clash.

By Tom Kundert

 

 

 

Comments (25)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Very tough match coming ahead. Unlike Germany, France have been playing pragmatically since the last two years. Cracking their defence can be a very hard task to accomplish. All the eleven players have to be at their very best,if we really want...

Very tough match coming ahead. Unlike Germany, France have been playing pragmatically since the last two years. Cracking their defence can be a very hard task to accomplish. All the eleven players have to be at their very best,if we really want to win this game. One player who could do the job for us is ofcourse Ronaldo. I feel slightly pessimistic but hoping for a favourable outcome. This is the perfect time for us to show the whole world that we are not the team anyone should be messed up with.

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hmmmmmm
“We needed to put another man next to the centre-backs, so we weren’t pulled out of position and so we could have avoided five-against-four situations, and that’s why I inverted the triangle in midfield, but we couldn’t control Germany’s...

hmmmmmm
“We needed to put another man next to the centre-backs, so we weren’t pulled out of position and so we could have avoided five-against-four situations, and that’s why I inverted the triangle in midfield, but we couldn’t control Germany’s game.”

It didn't matter you inverted the triangle, William and Danillo could not track back and defend. The fact we where passive and didn't attack played right into Germany's hands. Why Rafa in then?

Santos wake up. Change the team to give us a chance. Moutinho is not the answer.

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From this MATCH onwards its a knockout match for PORTUGAL - DO or DIE to win the EURO2020.

PORTUGAL WILL COME OUT VICTORIOUS NOW ON AND WIN THE EURO 2020

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Love your positive attitude. I only wish it was contagious. That Germany lose is too embarrassing. Also don't like Santos cockiness saying if we played Germany again, we would win. Why? because he gained some great wisdom.

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So all Portugal needs to do to advance is not get massacred by France, something the French have been waiting to do for five years….

At least Santos has seen Nossa Senhora and realized that changes need to be done…. Too bad she didn’t make an...

So all Portugal needs to do to advance is not get massacred by France, something the French have been waiting to do for five years….

At least Santos has seen Nossa Senhora and realized that changes need to be done…. Too bad she didn’t make an appearance at the half on Saturday so maybe Portugal could’ve salvaged a point and not have to fight for their lives tomorrow….

Can’t wait to see Santos’ game plan…. Hope at least it’s one going for the win rather than playing not to lose….

More intensity from some of the players would also help in coming out with a positive result…

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My line up vs. France

Patricio
Semedo---Dias---Pepe---Guerreiro
---------------Paulinha---------------
---------Sanches---Moutinho---------
Guedes---------CR7---------Jota

After watching both France games, I'll be the first to wager that they...

My line up vs. France

Patricio
Semedo---Dias---Pepe---Guerreiro
---------------Paulinha---------------
---------Sanches---Moutinho---------
Guedes---------CR7---------Jota

After watching both France games, I'll be the first to wager that they aren't favorites to win Euro 2020. France will attack us down the left flank with Mbappe. Benzema will be the center forward with Griezmann usually playing just behind him in a #10 position. On the right side of attack, they are very weak. Pavard likes to venture forward from the right-back role but lacks the quality to succeed in a 1v1 and usually gets no support on the overlap. Guerreiro is not a superb defender but I'd back his ability to keep him quiet. Semedo must remain stationary throughout the 90" in order for us to nullify the threat of Mbappe. I'd also send Sanches or Paulinha to that end of the pitch in order to double team which will be critical in denying them room as France will look to overload and operate mostly on that end to try penetrating into our 18-yard box. In the midfield Sanches + Moutinho is a very underrated combo. We have the sheer force, speed and dribbling of Renato combined with the vision, through-ball precision, and tactical nous of João Moutinho. Bruno Fernandes has to be dropped because he will be smothered by the likes of Pogba, Kante, and Rabiot that far up the pitch. Also leaving Bernardo out as he's not suitable to provide any effect against this very defensively astute French side. The pace of Gonçalo Guedes will insure that unlike France, Portugal won't be restricted to a one-dimensional attack.

Now that Dembélé has been ruled out of the tournament France will be missing their secret weapon. They've only scored 2 goals in 2 matches. One was an own goal, and the other gift wrapped by the Hungarian defence. Benzema and Griezmann are not compatible and that team has an identity crisis in my opinion.

I'm predicting a 1-0 Portugal win given this starting 11. On the flip side, I can't see Santos having the mental awareness to make any changes apart from bringing in Renato. Bruno and Bernardo both start and in that case this in a nil-nil draw.

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SupremoGino, I appreciated and like your analysis. I only got sick to my stomach when you mentioned Semedo covering Mbappe.

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LOL SuperemoGino, no kidding dude.

Semedo on Mbappe is like asking a sardinha to cover a shark.

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I'm down with giving that line up a go

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Agree on your selection. The PT flanks are worrying defensively, though.

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Everyone hating on Semedo for not being able to mark a winger and a fullback AT THE SAME TIME.

We were destroyed by Germany because our own wingers are lightly jogging back while Germany's fullbacks were free to terrorize us.

Super valuable...

Everyone hating on Semedo for not being able to mark a winger and a fullback AT THE SAME TIME.

We were destroyed by Germany because our own wingers are lightly jogging back while Germany's fullbacks were free to terrorize us.

Super valuable ghosts like Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva who can't be bothered to do the bare minimum of their defensive responsibilities.

Defending and attacking is a team effort...

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I doubt we will see sweeping changes to the side he picked for the first two games. Nor do I think he will veer away from a double pivot. I think we will see Moutinho and Renato come in for William and Bruno respectively.

Moutinho won't cover...

I doubt we will see sweeping changes to the side he picked for the first two games. Nor do I think he will veer away from a double pivot. I think we will see Moutinho and Renato come in for William and Bruno respectively.

Moutinho won't cover ever blade of grass but his experience could come in handy. He won't get caught out of position and he will be neat and tidy on the ball.

Renato should pose far more of a threat in transition than Bruno. Kante would keep Bruno in his pocket quite comfortably whereas Renato will at least give him a proper fight.

I would also love to see Félix come on in the second half regardless of it is to offer fresh legs or if we need to make an attacking switch. He's one of the most talented players in the entire tournament so if he is fit, he needs to play some role. He's certainly got more to offer than Rafa, Guedes, etc.

I think this will be a tight game without many clear cut chances. We should treat it like a final but if we only come away with a draw it will at least be a huge step in the right direction after the Germany debacle.

We will then likely face Holland in the round of 16, a quality side but one that I think we could definitely beat. Then we could build some momentum going into the latter stages of the knockout round.

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How about a team meeting whereby these experienced players say to Santos, look we will change tactics ourselves on the field if you are not reacting fast enough. How many goals do we go down before you wake up? Santos left Semedo out on an...

How about a team meeting whereby these experienced players say to Santos, look we will change tactics ourselves on the field if you are not reacting fast enough. How many goals do we go down before you wake up? Santos left Semedo out on an island by himself. If I were Semedo i would be saying, i don't need for you to defend me with the press and the fans. I need for you to change the formation and help me during the game. CR7 as captain should tell Santos, William and Danilo are too slow to get back on defend. Switch them out. Why do I care if they back to having cafe and pasteis de nata and talking normally as Santos said. Maybe a honest conversation is needed by all.

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That's what should've happened regardless but Bruno Fernandes is too lazy to mark his fullback...so then Semedo is left with a winger+fullback overlapping him.

When you play that irresponsibly, you deserve to lose. We gift-wrapped the goals to...

That's what should've happened regardless but Bruno Fernandes is too lazy to mark his fullback...so then Semedo is left with a winger+fullback overlapping him.

When you play that irresponsibly, you deserve to lose. We gift-wrapped the goals to them. I'd give Bruno Fernandes a pass for ditching the bare minimum of his defensive responsibilities if he was able to score hattrick himself but he didn't, did he?

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Sucks the Mendes can't play yet I believe his size speed and strength would match up well against France.

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Imaging Mbappé and Hernandez at Portugal‘s right flank causes sleepless nights. Hell, the fullback positions are really a reason to worry. It‘s really a pity Santos never invested into the idea of a back three. I mean by playing 343 or 352 you...

Imaging Mbappé and Hernandez at Portugal‘s right flank causes sleepless nights. Hell, the fullback positions are really a reason to worry. It‘s really a pity Santos never invested into the idea of a back three. I mean by playing 343 or 352 you could compensate so much of this weakness. And the weakness is known not just since yesterday… I am very curious to see the game plan

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At this point I have 0% hope in Portugal winning the Euro. I just want them to make a good account for themselves. They looked like an amateur club team against Germany. Let's beat or tie France, then make it to the semis and lose to the winning...

At this point I have 0% hope in Portugal winning the Euro. I just want them to make a good account for themselves. They looked like an amateur club team against Germany. Let's beat or tie France, then make it to the semis and lose to the winning team.

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