Just like in the 2018 World Cup, Portugal’s participation in the big summer football bonanza finishes with a frustrating round-of-16 exit.

Unlike in Russia though, there was a palpable sense that the Seleção deserved more than they got, but ultimately they were unable to recover from Thorgan Hazard’s first-half goal. Having ousted reigning champions Portugal, Belgium will be confident of going all the way and backing them at Free Bets now looks an enticing prospect.  

“They scored, we didn’t,” was one of Fernando Santos’ simple but succint comments after the match, while several players lamented Portugal’s lack of luck. PortuGOAL rounds up the reactions from Seville. 

 

 

Fernando Santos, Portugal manager:

“It’s a huge disappointment because we believed we could win the tournament like in 2016. There are players crying in the changing room. They gave it everything. Belgium had 6 shots, scored from one, we had 29, hit the post. But a defeat is a defeat. I sincerely don’t have much to say. It’s not a question of justice or injustice. They scored a goal, we didn’t.

“We have to lift our heads because we played a tremendous game. The ball hit the post – it didn’t want to go in. The players gave everything. Portugal deserved to win and that’s why we are sad.

“We tried everything. We tried attacking from wide, from inside, putting more men in the box, but the ball hit the post, from another chance the ball went straight at their goalkeeper. That’s football, there’s nothing you can do about it.

“In 2018 we were knocked out of the World Cup in the last-16 and the year after we won the Nations League. We have to look ahead to go and win the World Cup.”  

 


Portugal out of Euro 2020: Belgium 1-0 Portugal match report


 

Rúben Dias, Portugal defender:

“I wouldn’t say our game plan failed. I’d actually say the game plan made us comfortable and feel superior on the pitch. We were always close to scoring. Even in the first half in an extremely tight game. They scored from one shot in the first half, when they had a bit of luck because of the strange way the ball moved.

“We were close to scoring several times, but the ball didn’t want to go in for us. The only thing to take from this game is that it’s a lesson to come back stronger. The second half was all ours. The result just didn’t go for us. Thank you to the Portuguese for all the fantastic support.”

 

Raphaël Guerreiro, Portugal defender:

“We’re disappointed because our opponents only had one chance and scored from it. We lacked a bit of luck. We played a good game but the only thing that mattered was the victory. We had to react after going down, we played a great second half, but we lacked a bit of luck. We left everything we had on the pitch.”

 

Danilo, Portugal defender:

“We had very good moments when we managed to pass the ball in the attacking third. I think we needed to create more danger. When we managed to, we hit the post. Belgium scored a goal which gave them a big boost, and they defended well.

“We weren’t expecting to get knocked out so early in the competition. We tried our best to equalise as you saw at the end of the game. We weren’t effective and we were unlucky with hitting the post. It’s tough going out like this in the last 16. We could have gone further. Life goes on. Now we have to think about the World cup and qualifying.”

 


Belgium 1-0 Portugal - Player Ratings


 

João Palhinha, Portugal midfielder:

“We created more chances than Belgium. In the first half we managed to control the game well. I can’t remember any other chance for Belgium apart from the goal which was like pulling a rabbit out of the hat. There you have it. It’s with a lot of bad luck that we’re going back to Portugal. In the second half we knew we had to give it everything. We had clear chances to score but we didn’t manage to. Belgium had that bit of luck.

“Although we are a small country, we have a lot of quality in all areas. Football is no different. The fact we have been European champions and won the Nations League translates the value of this team. You can’t always win. We fought to the end and gave it our all. Today we lacked a bit of luck. A victory for us would have been completely fair.”

 

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Roberto Martínez, Belgium manager:

“In the first half we played very well, controlled the game and scored a great goal. In the second half Portugal took the initiative, attacked us and we had to show maximum commitment. We never lost concentration, despite Portugal pushing hard at the end for the draw. I couldn’t be prouder of my players.

“It was the toughest test we’ve had at this European Championship. We weren’t as good as we could have been but Portugal have an incredible team.”

By Tom Kundert

 

Comments (29)

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I’m tired of people trying to say Portugal played well. We didn’t. Belgium scored and let us attack them. We only crafted 3-4 dangerous opportunities . Not nearly enough.

This team will not go anywhere until both Santos and Ronaldo are out....

I’m tired of people trying to say Portugal played well. We didn’t. Belgium scored and let us attack them. We only crafted 3-4 dangerous opportunities . Not nearly enough.

This team will not go anywhere until both Santos and Ronaldo are out. Ronaldo inhibits the other players from playing as a team and he is now a penalty box player nothing more.

Don’t expect anything in 2022.

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Are you stupid? Ronaldo is still at the top of his game. No one else came close on that team

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Clearly, Ronaldo is not at the top of his game. Can you honestly say, he inspires the fear that he used to? Of course not. Is he still our best, most consistent attacking threat, YES! But it is more his mentality than his ability now.

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Believe Ronaldo played great all 4 games only criticism is that free kick in the second half against Belgium should of given to another (not that he would of done much but at least a change).

And maybe the last 15 min against Belgium Santos...

Believe Ronaldo played great all 4 games only criticism is that free kick in the second half against Belgium should of given to another (not that he would of done much but at least a change).

And maybe the last 15 min against Belgium Santos should of grown some and considered subbing him. 2 reasons.
1. The amount of minutes he played.
2. Felt our attacking players were constantly looking for him and may of potentially changed it up.

CR7 still has allot to offer and is irreplaceable but now as he is getting older it's time he let's others step up and take responsibility. That includes substitutions, free kicks and even penalties.

Maybe that is Bruno F problem, he thrives as a leader does CR7 give him that opportunity? Maybe not.

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I’m gonna say we played well but weren’t lucky. Belgium is a quality team. We have to deal with this.

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Mr. z pick another sport to follow this one you don’t know much.

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I am going to be completely objective here. This is not one of my troll posts. I will always let you know when I am trolling you as I did with Chris. He still has not gotten over that yet.
Objectively,
Portugal is not as dangerous, offensively,...

I am going to be completely objective here. This is not one of my troll posts. I will always let you know when I am trolling you as I did with Chris. He still has not gotten over that yet.
Objectively,
Portugal is not as dangerous, offensively, as we like to think. Yes, we have offensive weapons, but they are not cohesive as a unit. Most are playing out of position. Some are playing out of position for their clubs, hindering their growth, as in the case with Bernardo Silva. He should really pull a Rui Costa and go to a good but not great club, where he can shine as a number ten. Others are either too raw or too cooked as in the case with Ronaldo. He is cooked. Yes, he scored five goals, but three of them from the penalty spot, and one against a dejected Hungarian side that had already quit. He looked old out there.
Portugal needs to play more modern football. We need a coach that will implement a three-four-three formation. We have great wingbacks when they're not tearing ACLs and contracting "covid" wink wink. Even Guerrero would benefit from this or better yet Mendes. This play four in the back just is not working. It encourages the defensive mentality that all too often leads to goals conceded. Belgium knew what we were going to do, cross into the middle and hope for someone to be on the other end of it. They just simply packed the middle. That is why we did not score. Luck had nothing to do with it. Belgium knew our game plan. The whole world knows our game plan. That is why we do not win. Now, Cancelo's crosses are otherworldly, and he can score. I like Dalot a lot after this game, but losing Cancelo hurt much more than anyone was willing to give it credit.
Ronaldo should either come off the bench for now on or be limited to forty-five minutes. We need a coach with the balls to tell him no. Santos is not it. He is not going to change to a three-four-three. He needs to go.

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Gabriel who are you? Are you in Toronto? If so jus pick a time and place I would be happy to meet you in person and punch you out.

Portugal were weak today as is exemplified by this horrible manager who should have been let go after the 2018...

Gabriel who are you? Are you in Toronto? If so jus pick a time and place I would be happy to meet you in person and punch you out.

Portugal were weak today as is exemplified by this horrible manager who should have been let go after the 2018 tournament .

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Mr Z completely correct with your assessments, if Portuguese fans think that this coach will take us to the promise land once again, think again. The first half of yesterday's game was Germany again. Anyone here please tell me otherwise. And if...

Mr Z completely correct with your assessments, if Portuguese fans think that this coach will take us to the promise land once again, think again. The first half of yesterday's game was Germany again. Anyone here please tell me otherwise. And if you could explain otherwise why play conservative, do we not trust our players? Moutinho couldn't even track back. Pote didn't even play a minute. I love William, but he started over Renato? Explain that. This manager did an excellent job in 2016 with the players he had. He cannot coach our talent today because he doesn't know how. Anyone else see that?

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Santos is a genius coach, I will always be thankful and admire him. He realized Portugal needed to build a solid defense in order to win. And he delivered 2 trophies, the last Euro against all odds. But....

Santos has to go. Everyone knows what...

Santos is a genius coach, I will always be thankful and admire him. He realized Portugal needed to build a solid defense in order to win. And he delivered 2 trophies, the last Euro against all odds. But....

Santos has to go. Everyone knows what we are doing and way to predictable. The problem with parking the bus is once you are behind what do you do?

You have to throw everything to try to get back in the game. We couldn't against Germany, got bailed out with a penalty to tie against France, and we couldn't today.

If you see once the first subs were made, Fernandes and Felix, we started to put immediate pressure on Belgium. This should have been at half time. Now Fernandes and Felix aren't at the levels they should be, but, even then they immediately changed the balance of power.

Can you imagine this group of players that are able to use there combined offensive skills as a cohesive unit?

Ok, you might scream, but what about our defense? Do you think Belgium have a better defense? No, so they use what they have, extremely talented offensive, proactive players to keep the other team under pressure and keep pressure off their average defense.

Can anyone here say after seeing the second half performance after the subs that we were the second best team? Now of course we couldn't do anything with our chances....

But what else would we expect, then don't develop that teamwork and chemistry playing attacking soccer. So even though we can have and keep the ball, we don't know how to move to exploit the other team. Is anyone surprised? We only know how to defend and counter.

One shot on Goal, one Goal(Patricio could have done better and once again, Bernardo didn't track back to pick up the winger playing as a full back. How is that for attacking soccer).

Big teams, WE ARE THE BIG TEAM.

Let's quit with this small mentality BS. Belgium has a population of 11.5 million and they aren't a small team. It's Belgium golden generation, our generation actually won gold, twice. Remember the Swiss killed them to make it to the nation's league finals, which we won. By the way, we are able to get great players from Cabo Verde, Guinea, Angola, France and even Brazil, so we have a large talent pool to choose from. And soccer is where are best athletes go, so we have more than enough talent.

The players just need to go to teams that help them develop or at least keep them at the level they were. Players have to stop going for the money to bad situations. Bernardo has disappointed, but of course he would, he has just become Pep's running stooge(and looked tired and out of ideas). He needs to go to some place that need his strengths. Felix, you know the story.

Look at Sanches. It took a while, but now he is back. He is being used for his strengths and now to fit in some coach's box. Andre Silva, final being used for his strengths. I hope Palinha, Pote and Mendes stay another year or more at Sporting, that is where they successful at. It would be a shame to go some place to be misused. Especially Pote, he was terribly mismanaged at the Wolves under 23's. Look at him now.

Never have so many players been at top teams and leagues. And as we see with Fernandes and Dias(Premier league player of the year), going from the Liga straight to England or anywhere else, isn't a jump if you are ready and you go to the right team situation.

So if Dias would have to defer to Stones & Ake or Fernandes would have to play in a fixed DM position, yes they might have crapped out.

I would rather lose being a fierce force, then puds who are afraid of their shadow. Even if you are lucky to win, you get no respect. How is it as champions, we still feel small? That has to change.

We have an exceptional group of young talented players coming up from the under 21's. Let's see if we can forge a new attacking identity, knowing of course tight defense wins championships. Those two concepts are not mutually exclusive.

Maybe Ruben Amorim as new coach? Would he even come? I don't know who else, not NES or Mourinho, both too defensive. I we have to be defensive, then stay with Santos.

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Paulo I applaud your comments. End of an era on being a defensive team.

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Lol to say that Ronaldo is the problem is just plain STUPID! It's not his fault that nobody else can score when needed. Santos put on an extremely offensive team in the 2nd half and still nobody could score!! That's not on CR7!!

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I feel like a huge factor that is being missed that not many people are commenting on, is a large majority of our big players were in bad form coming into this tournament. Even Ronaldo coming into this euro was in arguably his worst form. But, to...

I feel like a huge factor that is being missed that not many people are commenting on, is a large majority of our big players were in bad form coming into this tournament. Even Ronaldo coming into this euro was in arguably his worst form. But, to his credit he changed that. He was probably our 2nd or 3rd best player this euro.

Bruno was undoubtedly our most disappointing player. But if you watched the last couple months of the Man U season, the majority of his performances were average at best(he did play amazing in the Europa semis). So it wasn’t too shocking for me how he played. Was it the system that we played, or was it his poor form? I think it’s the latter. If you look at our best performance in the last 2 years. It was the nations league final. We completely dominated the first half and were in control the whole game. Bruno, was arguably our best player that game. His passing, shooting and intensity was fantastic.

Bernardo for me was almost as disappointing as Bruno. He didn’t offer much against Hungary, made one good pass against Germany, played decent against France and again, offered nothing going forward today. Bernardo isn’t in bad form necessarily, but as a winger he is. He hardly played on the wing for city this year. He was mostly used as box to box player/supporting cm. Going forward he was pretty meh. And the numbers show it. This 20/21 season he played 41 matches 3 goals and 6 assists. Compared to the season before which was 31 matches 7 goals and 9 assists. All year for city when he would go forward he would do the following: drive the ball up the wing, do 1, 2, 3 fintas, stop pass the ball back to mahrez/cancelo/walker or kdb. He has been lacking in lethalness all year. Losing Pedro Neto was a huge loss. In my opinion he had a better season than Bernardo. 31 matches 5 goals and 6 assists. Not mention his pace and direct style of play suits this team. I don’t think Neto is better overall as a player, but he was in far better form before the injury than Bernardo. Bernardo has been our 2nd best forward for the seleção in the last 5 years. It’s a shame he didn’t show up this time.

If we had the jota from the beginning of this season, we would of won that game 2-1. Jota scoring both goals. He was in white hot form at the start of the season, but that injury really hindered him. Rightfully so. Not many can have that much time off and come back hitting the ground running. Hopefully he gets back to his lethal self soon.

I’m not surprised we only saw João Félix in this last game. His season for atlético was meh at best. He had moments, but overall very underwhelming.

Two players who have been immense for Santos and his system are Danilo and William. Over the years these guys have always been the unsung heroes. But not this euro. Both coming in on bad form. Watching any psg game where Danilo was playing, he always looked shaky. No where near dominating like he used to. Same goes for William, who was injured for large parts of the season. And when he was fit, he was on the bench for betis. That says everything. I know people were complaining about the double pivot, but it used to work and worked well. Like I said, our best performance in the last 2 years was the nation’s league final. We played a double pivot. We also played the double pivot in Paris against france last year. Which we were unlucky to win that game. Do I think the double pivot is the way forward? Absolutely not. Danilo and William are naturally only going to get worse. The way forward is Palhinha as cdm and Renato as cm.

Going into this tournament cancelo wasn’t in the best form, but mediocre cancelo is still better than inform semedo and dalot. It was such a massive blow to lose him before this tournament. Probably the best RB in the world going forward.

As for Santos I think he had a really bad euro. Made very strange calls before and throughout. Only calling on 3 cb, using a double pivot with two players in bad form, calling dalot over pereira, not fixing the overload on the right in the Germany game and probably other things I am forgetting. He was uncharacteristically off. In euro 2016 and the run to euro 2016, he picked players who were inform. Not players based on their names. Or players he was very familiar with. He picked the players who were playing their best. He was more like Paulo bento than Fernando Santos in that aspect this euro.

I do think he did get things right in the game today, but, All the luck we had in 2016 has been spent. I do back Santos, however I am not opposed to getting a new manager. But one that fits these players. Problem is, who is currently available that can do that job. To sack Santos for sacking sake, is just stupid. I’d rather keep Santos than rush into something that’s not the right fit.

Rant over. Let’s lick our wounds, learn from our mistakes and go all out for the World Cup.

Força Portugal!

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It is so incredibly sad - but true and maybe it was inevitable, as the Portuguese NT shows up at the moment: To me, the Team has NO IDENTITY. The chameleon Portugal worked in 2016, when b.t.w. Portugal luckily grabbed the much weaker side of the...

It is so incredibly sad - but true and maybe it was inevitable, as the Portuguese NT shows up at the moment: To me, the Team has NO IDENTITY. The chameleon Portugal worked in 2016, when b.t.w. Portugal luckily grabbed the much weaker side of the "way to the final". No Italy, no Spain, no Germany and no France in the way. Portugal is only reactive, not pro-active. And I don't see that to change under Santos. It is NOT his fault, that Bruno and Bernardo underperform in 90% of the matches - to me, the "out of position" is not much of an argument. If it was, then you don't have to line up these guys at all. What I have seen yesterday was a Joao Felix that brought something, that Bruno or Bernardo never did during their NT career - pure creative offensive thread. But I would have subbed Bernardo with Guedes, not with Bruno. Wit Bruno and JF in the center, Renato was forced out to the left flank. Bad decision. I repeat myself, but I really want to see now a turn around. I want to see a back three. And t.b. honest, I would not like to see Bruno or Bernardo in the starting eleven anymore. I prefer to see Renato and Joao Felix together, doing real damage to the opposition.

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Rolf great comments, but was it Santos when asked on press conference about playing 3 in the back that he commented - what do you think we are playing a video game? Is that quote correct?

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Antonio, t.b. honest, I don‘t know. Which PC was this? What do you think he wanted to express with this? That numbers are just numbers and the players float? If he‘d have said that after the Germany match, it would have been very ridiculous. I...

Antonio, t.b. honest, I don‘t know. Which PC was this? What do you think he wanted to express with this? That numbers are just numbers and the players float? If he‘d have said that after the Germany match, it would have been very ridiculous. I mean, as others already stated: Portugal with the wingbacks that are available is imperative to play a 343 or 352.

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I cannot count how many times we struck the ball either wide or wayward. Some of them went 90 degrees way up. Never once was I convinced that we would score. Belgians have better finishers than us, the only reason they were quiet was because we...

I cannot count how many times we struck the ball either wide or wayward. Some of them went 90 degrees way up. Never once was I convinced that we would score. Belgians have better finishers than us, the only reason they were quiet was because we didn't let them dictate the tempo. That Thorgan Hazard goal looked like a Free-kick without a wall and a goal keeper. Absolutely no one ran into him maybe we were too far away from him. I think from now on, we should Implement more of a 3-4-3 formation. Imagine Guerreiro and Cancelo in wide roles! Guerreiro is really good at shooting. He almost scored the equalizing goal if it wasn't hit the post. Overall we were below average all throughout the tournament. Only against Hungary did our defence looked good. We conceded 7 goals and scored 7. Lots of homework to do for Santos, if we have any ambition to win the World Cup.

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No Belgium had one better finisher than us, and a better performing goalkeeper. Had Rui not leaned in anticipation, the ball was coming right at him, before it curved away, and would have easily been blocked.

You know that finisher, Thorgan...

No Belgium had one better finisher than us, and a better performing goalkeeper. Had Rui not leaned in anticipation, the ball was coming right at him, before it curved away, and would have easily been blocked.

You know that finisher, Thorgan Hazard, who plays attacking mid and winger for Dortmund. Had a massive goal hall of 1 goal in 16 League games.

Odd, why would Belgium put a winger at left full back. Sounds like they wanted to exploit space like Germany did with some guy named GOSENS.

Nah, don't have to worry about that, we know Bernardo will track back. On to my next strategic decision, how can I get William on?

JK, I still love Santos. But he needs to go.

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By the way, doesn't Rafa G play for Dortmund on the left side also, ah, indeed he does...

Ah, 5 league goals in 27 games. But he isn't as good as T. Hazard.

He can only he a first time volley into the post.

Wow, Belgium is really better than...

By the way, doesn't Rafa G play for Dortmund on the left side also, ah, indeed he does...

Ah, 5 league goals in 27 games. But he isn't as good as T. Hazard.

He can only he a first time volley into the post.

Wow, Belgium is really better than us at every position. Oh well, maybe we can get lucky again in the future.

I wish one day, we would have the talent of that 2004 Greece team.

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When I read some of these comments I start to wonder if perhaps I don't understand the game as well as I think. We lacked a cutting edge to be sure and should have put a few more on target. Jota early on in particular had me fuming. I also wish...

When I read some of these comments I start to wonder if perhaps I don't understand the game as well as I think. We lacked a cutting edge to be sure and should have put a few more on target. Jota early on in particular had me fuming. I also wish Patricio got to that ball in the manner in which he robbed Pogba the other night. But I'm proud of the fight we displayed. As my old man says... "the ball is round", some days it just doesn't go your way even when you've done a lot of the right things.

Maybe its my age? I'm in my mid/late 40's and I've seen some real low points and of course the joy that was 2016. Up until 2016 there was this tension/feeling that we'd never win even with profoundly talented golden generations. Having seen them win (in a manner that was unexpected with Ronaldo on the sidelines! and in a game where France arguably deserved better) I can accept that some times things just don't go your way.

A couple observations...

For all those posters saying Portugal should have played a full 90 minutes like that in the 2nd half... You do realize that De Bruyne coming off was a clear turning point no? Likewise, Belgium having the lead altered their tactics some.

Being in form > having a pedigree. I love Jota but he showed on a couple of occasions that he isn't quite ready for the big stage. Big Wolves fan so I've been watching him for a while, his impact with Liverpool early on was spectacular but something was off later in the season. I wonder if things would have been different if Guedes or Silva were featured at all and more often respectively.

Cancelo's crosses were missed, especially yesterday. But! Dalot was better than I would have expected.

Pepe's eyes at the end of the match told me that was the end of an era. Yes he is arguably one of the biggest hot head's at CB of all time, but 2016 would not have happened without him. I suspect he will retire from international football. Parabens Pepe!

About Santos... After a run of laughably bad (Bento) to mediocre mangers I think we need to give him his due respect. He lost a tactical battle in spectacular fashion vs Germany but the last two matches (against the world champs and #1 ranked team no less) were well played. I know I was entertained!

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You make a very valid point about De Bruyne leaving, but is he a good defender?

The point being is how effective is he going to be without the ball chasing are guys around(Think Bernardo)? Since he left, it is hypothetical, so we can't answer...

You make a very valid point about De Bruyne leaving, but is he a good defender?

The point being is how effective is he going to be without the ball chasing are guys around(Think Bernardo)? Since he left, it is hypothetical, so we can't answer for sure. But I would rather have Kevin chasing Renato, then Felix , then..... Instead of having time and space with the ball at his feet.

A basketball analogy, I remember Michael Jordan saying Mitch Richmond the hardest match-up he's ever faced.

You maybe thinking, hmm, I don't remember Mitch being that great of a defender(if you remember him at all).

He wasn't, but boy could he light up Jordan, forced him to play defense, so Jordan's offense struggled. By the way Jordan was a great defender.

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