Portugal beat Qatar 3-1 in an international friendly at Nagyerdei Stadion in Debrecen. Two quick goals to André Silva and Otávio established a 2-0 lead before the World Cup hosts were reduced to 10 men on the stroke of half time.

The Seleção failed to run away with the contest however, Abdelkarim Hassan making it 2-1 before a late Bruno Fernandes penalty sealed the deal. 

Despite a poor run of form, Portugal remains a popular team to back on bet365 bonuskod and other gaming sites, gamblers convinced performances will improve given the players available to the coach. The match allowed Fernando Santos to tinker with the formation and personnel with Otávio making his debut. Danilo Pereira started at centre-back with Rúben Neves and João Moutinho running the show in midfield. 

Qatar go close

Qatar created the opening chances and went close to taking the lead. Abdulaziz Hatem shot wide before Akram Afif broke clear, isolating Domingos Duarte and feeding Almoez Ali who rattled the post.

There was more to come as Boualem Khoukhi’s shot through traffic took a deflection off Danilo which forced a smart save from Anthony Lopes.

Boom boom

Portugal worked their way into the game and took the lead in the 23rd minute. João Mário’s cross deceived Abdelkarim Hassan, the ball finding André Silva who reacted well to head past Meshaal Barsham.

A minute later it was 2-0. Gonçalo Guedes’ cross saw Abdelkarim back off which allowed Otávio to sneak in and head into the top corner.

Portugal took complete control and pushed for a third goal. João Mário won possession and shot wide, André Silva’s shot was blocked with Otávio’s follow up saved before Silva blazed over the bar.

On the stroke of half time Qatar were reduced to 10 men. Guedes was fouled by Barsham, and after a VAR intervention Qatar's shot stopper was sent off as the Valencia forward would have fired into an empty net.

João Moutinho’s free kick was deflected over the bar as the teams went into half-time. Many would have expected the floodgates would open but it wasn't to be.

Second half to forget

Portugal entrenched themselves in Qatar’s half, but their deep 5-3-1 formation saw the Seleção struggle to create clear cut chances.

João Mário blazed over as Fernando Santos started to make substitutions in the 59th minute. André Silva and Moutinho made way for Diogo Jota and Bruno Fernandes with the formation morphing into a 4-3-1-2.

Two minutes late Qatar pulled a goal back. It came out of nowhere as Abdelkarim rose high and headed a corner past Anthony Lopes.

Rúben Dias and Trincão were introduced for João Mário and Rúben Neves which saw Danilo move into the holding midfield role.

Portugal’s cohesion was suffering but chances soon began to flow as Jota headed Fernandes’ cross wide, Nuno Mendes’ shot was deflected wide and Trincão’s shot failed to trouble Yousef Hassan.

Trincão won a free kick in a dangerous position from which Fernandes narrowly missed the top corner. With 10 minutes remaining Rafa Silva came on for Guedes and Raphaël Guerreiro replaced Nuno Mendes.

In the 88th minute Portugal made it 3-1 to end the contest. Bruno Fernandes released Diogo Jota who was too clever for Tarek Salman, drawing a foul in the box with Fernandes stepping up and smashing the penalty into the bottom corner.

Shades of 2016

Portugal’s midfield was very fluid in the first half with João Mário, João Moutinho and Otávio frequently rotating and proving hard for Qatar to pick up. There were similarities with the 4-4-2 formation and tactics Fernando Santos used effectively at Euro 2016.

João Mário

After playing an important role for Portugal at Euro 2016, João Mário moved from Sporting CP to Inter Milan for €40m. He continued to be an important player for Santos until the 2018 World Cup.

Any thoughts he would go on to become one of the elite midfielders in world football quickly dissipated however, and problems at club level meant that he found himself on the outside looking in.

Since the Russian campaign he has played a total of 220 minutes for Portugal, but it’s great to see him back and doing what he does best.

Mário is very effective in Santos’ system and could be an important player for the remainder of the World Cup qualifiers.

Otávio makes his mark

Otávio was slow to get going on his Portugal debut, guilty of some poor touches and passes, but scoring in the 24th minute provided the confidence to become more involved and display his class.

The Brazilian born playmaker has long been one of Porto’s best players, if not the best. His versatility, skill, attitude and work rate can only be a bonus for the Seleção.

Cross the ball

Four of Portugal’s last five goals have come from heading crosses into the back of the net.

With Cristiano Ronaldo the best in the business, André Silva an elite finisher with his head and Portugal often struggling to break down deep lying defences, it makes sense that crosses towards those target men should continue to be a legitimate part of the attacking philosophy.

Defensive issues

Against Republic of Ireland we saw Portugal’s defence susceptible to fast breaks and opposition attackers profiting from isolating Pepe.

Qatar went very close to opening the scoring from a similar situation, this time Akram Afif isolating Domingos Duarte which resulted in Almoez Ali hitting the post. It's something Santos needs to fix as elite nations will surely be more ruthless.

Both of the goals conceded this week came from corners, another problem Portugal need to address.

Line Up

Portugal XI (4-4-2): Anthony Lopes - Nuno Mendes (Raphaël Guerreiro 81’), Domingos Duarte, Danilo Pereira, Nélson Semedo - João Mário (Trincão 68’), Rúben Neves (Rúben Dias 68’), João Moutinho (Bruno Fernandes 59’), Otávio - Gonçalo Guedes (Rafa Silva 81’), André Silva (Diogo Jota 59’)

Unused substitutes: Rui Patrício, Diogo Costa, Pepe, João Cancelo, João Palhinha, Bernardo Silva

Coach: Fernando Santos

Goals:

[1-0] - André Silva 23'

[2-0] - Otávio 24'

[2-1] - Abdelkarim Hassan 61'

[3-1] - Bruno Fernandes 88' P

By Matthew Marshall

Comments (37)

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Observations:

Aside from the penalty, both goals came from the only tactic Fernando Santos knows: 1,000 crosses and prayers.

Other than that, a ton of shots outside the box. 22 shots total, 8 on target.

I'm a big Danilo fan but have never...

Observations:

Aside from the penalty, both goals came from the only tactic Fernando Santos knows: 1,000 crosses and prayers.

Other than that, a ton of shots outside the box. 22 shots total, 8 on target.

I'm a big Danilo fan but have never thought using him as a CB was good, and today I think we saw he was adequate, but nothing more.

All the Santos apologists used to have one irrefutable fact to prop up the "Keep Santos" narrative: Portugal were hard to break down and score against.

Can we honestly say that is still true? We can't even keep a clean sheet against Qatar WITH a man advantage.

So, I would love to see what the next excuse will be.

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Agree. At this time Santos needs to get fired.

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Can we all agree that these players are not listening to this coach. Santos post game comments - well I think he correctly said the 2nd half was terrible, hmmmmm, does he not know who is coaching the team?? I am truly sorry to the Portuguese...

Can we all agree that these players are not listening to this coach. Santos post game comments - well I think he correctly said the 2nd half was terrible, hmmmmm, does he not know who is coaching the team?? I am truly sorry to the Portuguese Futebol Nation we are not going to win anything under Santos again PERIOD

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Agree. He lost this team. His tactics are so out of touch that Santos doesn't even know what to do. The Portuguese FA is total a corrupt joke. Please hire a foreign coach so that we could play our best 11 and a system that fits the layers we have...

Agree. He lost this team. His tactics are so out of touch that Santos doesn't even know what to do. The Portuguese FA is total a corrupt joke. Please hire a foreign coach so that we could play our best 11 and a system that fits the layers we have now.

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I think it's really touching that you agree with yourself. It's always nice to see someone support themself.

Either that or you forgot to sign into your other account name.

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Chris, I was logged in out and must have sent, without even knowing. But for you to think I have two accounts and assuming the negative right away, you must be really Portuguese. F off.

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I was just busting chops my dude, please don't take it too personally. I am 100% Portuguese, and you know there are no better ball breakers than us, lol. Guilty as charged.

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So many shots on goal in the last two games and so few goals from them, they just can’t finish.

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I am not sure it is bad finishing as much as it is not having quality shots available. Being in a good scoring position definitely helps your scoring percentage go up. They don't get into enough dangerous scoring positions.

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Changes need to be made... Santos just isnt cutting it anymore for Portugal. The defending on that corner when Qatar scored was horrible, Semedo was left all alone with two players. Qatar was getting behind our defensive line with their through...

Changes need to be made... Santos just isnt cutting it anymore for Portugal. The defending on that corner when Qatar scored was horrible, Semedo was left all alone with two players. Qatar was getting behind our defensive line with their through balls and that should not be happening considering the quality of players we have. I am not convinced on Domingos Duarte, he let the Qatari player have a shot which fortunately for us ended up hitting the post. Danilo didn't look to comfortable at CB. Otavio had a lot of energy and scored a nice header. Anthony Lopes looks quick on his feet and his reflexes are great but it scares me knowing he is short, he looks so small...

These players are not performing at their best. Seems like they are just to calm....

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The corner was pathetic. Semedo was even blocked off of the scorer and Danilo wasn't anywhere and Duarte couldn't get there in time.

And even though I rate Lopes, his one main weakness is length. Not sure Patricio or Sa would have gotten there...

The corner was pathetic. Semedo was even blocked off of the scorer and Danilo wasn't anywhere and Duarte couldn't get there in time.

And even though I rate Lopes, his one main weakness is length. Not sure Patricio or Sa would have gotten there either, but might have had a better chance.

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Zone marking. When you get beat by Ireland on a corner, you would think you would learn, Santos comes up with excuses and the fact that we missed two goals in the beginning of the game. Stop making excuses and please retire already Mr Santos.

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I WILL NOT BLAME THE COACH, THERE IS SOMETHING REALLY WRONG SOMEWHERE WITH THE PRESENT CROP OF PLAYERS, Are they too pricey to play for the national team? or are they too scared to put up their best performance, possibly afraid to get...

I WILL NOT BLAME THE COACH, THERE IS SOMETHING REALLY WRONG SOMEWHERE WITH THE PRESENT CROP OF PLAYERS, Are they too pricey to play for the national team? or are they too scared to put up their best performance, possibly afraid to get injured.

The Players that are playing with their heart and soul are the domestic Portuguese players like Pepe, Paulinha, Joao Mario.... not forgetting CR, Renato..

We need to look back at players of the winning Euro 2016 team, who are still playing for clubs with a wining attitude like André Gomes, Adrien Silva ....

Portuguese team of Euro2016 had not only C Ronaldo, but also NANI & Queresma who where equally lethal and opposition knew very well the damage that they could cause., but todays most talented players are awful.

I thought Portugal would hit 1/2 a dozen against Qatar, but shockingly was hit by a goal, need very badly a CB like Ricardo Carvalho pairing with PEPE. RUBEN DIAS?????????? need to be benched

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"I will not blame the coach"... Then you are denying reality. This team is one of the most talented in the world.

Italy won the Euro with a team that was considered in the bottom half talent-wise of all 24 teams in the tournament.

So tell me,...

"I will not blame the coach"... Then you are denying reality. This team is one of the most talented in the world.

Italy won the Euro with a team that was considered in the bottom half talent-wise of all 24 teams in the tournament.

So tell me, where does the blame go if 1 team has all stars and plays like shit, while the other team has mediocre players but is undefeated in 30 games?

Honestly, whatever drugs you Santos apologists are on is some really good shit.

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I don't think it is a lack of hunger with these players, I think some of these players are good club players but are not as talented as some may think or a case of as has been stated that too many players of the same attributes. Do we have an...

I don't think it is a lack of hunger with these players, I think some of these players are good club players but are not as talented as some may think or a case of as has been stated that too many players of the same attributes. Do we have an explosive player who is NT material besides Neto with pace and skill? Do we have a midfield who can really make the Deco or Rui Costa type passes and hold the ball through the middle? I do not think this team has enough explosive players or true playmakers, the little extra quality you need. The talent is not able to produce a well balanced team, I question if our talent is really as good as some think.

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Can you remind me again who's job it is to select the players?

Ah yes, it's the coach. So again, we reach the same conclusion.

5 years ago we were able to win the Euro with a lesser team, so what is the excuse now?

I have long argued and...

Can you remind me again who's job it is to select the players?

Ah yes, it's the coach. So again, we reach the same conclusion.

5 years ago we were able to win the Euro with a lesser team, so what is the excuse now?

I have long argued and still do that "flair players" like Deco and Rui Costa are increasingly rare and snuffed out of soccer these days.

Santos was also consistent in doing this. Flair has been replaced with tactics. But what can you do when the coach has no tactics?

So again, we end up where we started; it starts and ends with Santos.

I hope while you're busy making excuses for Santos, you take careful notice of how much suffering and nerves will be shot (unnecessarily) during this WC qualifying. And that is IF we qualify, since I'm still 50/50 on whether or not we will qualify at all with Santos at the helm.

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Chris, I would welcome your input on the tactics required and line up you would put in.

Not sure what you've been watching, yes tactics can help but you still need players to execute and have the moment of some brilliance for a final pass or...

Chris, I would welcome your input on the tactics required and line up you would put in.

Not sure what you've been watching, yes tactics can help but you still need players to execute and have the moment of some brilliance for a final pass or convert an opportunity.

First, 2016 we didn't have quite the same midfield talent as now but William and Mario were form plus Sanches was a force Moutinho was a productive player as I recall.. We had individual talent with pace and flair with Nan and RQ7. Plus Eder was a physical force as a 9. Our back 4 were pretty solid.

Today, please don't tell me that our wingers have the effectiveness of the above mentioned? The 2016 midfield will hold its own against this team. 2016 team played compact with effective counterattacking with some pretty good players as mentioned.

Do you agree this team is slow? Where is the pace? Besides CR7 where is the cutting edge? This team has too many players with duplicate attributes that get taken out of games against athletic and tough defenses, I don't see this same effectiveness up front or explosiveness today.

Not defending Santos but the form and attributes of the players makes it difficult to settle on line up. I understand why Santos struggles to find a consistent midfield and front line. If you have too many line up changes that usually means you don't have the right mix of speed, and skill to execute the tactics. I look forward to your solutions to help Santos. I think you will find it not that simple, but I do look forward to your line up.

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I don't presume to say I have the answers. And I am not being paid $2.5 million euros to manage the team, like Fernando. I just think that for that money, there should be results.

When you watch the team, do you see any clear identity? Do you...

I don't presume to say I have the answers. And I am not being paid $2.5 million euros to manage the team, like Fernando. I just think that for that money, there should be results.

When you watch the team, do you see any clear identity? Do you see them chase down the ball to regain possession? Do you see any clear plan for attacks or creating space? The answer to all of these is "No".

If Portugal had come out from the Euro and shown some real desire, identity and tactical evolution, I would be first to say that Santos should stay.

Instead, we see team performances that are somehow WORSE than the shambles of the Euro. Many will say it's because we have no Renato. But so what? We already have an over-reliance on one player, do we want to extend that to a 2nd player now?

Santos is not cutting it, and when we either fail to qualify for the WC, or do qualify but put up a garbage tournament, I hope all the Santos apologists are ready to stand up and be counted.

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A team needs to have a Winning Attitude, Pride, Optimism, Determination and Team work to win a Game.

When one has a winning attitude he is focused on set goals, thinking positively to win a match and committing oneself to targets to achieve the...

A team needs to have a Winning Attitude, Pride, Optimism, Determination and Team work to win a Game.

When one has a winning attitude he is focused on set goals, thinking positively to win a match and committing oneself to targets to achieve the goals.

Do you think Fernando Santos can instill values in these players? This values cannot be taught it comes from within oneself like C Ronaldo Pepe, Nani Queresma etc .

If you are the best coach in the world you cannot win trophies without players having the Winning Attitude, Pride, Optimism, Determination & team work.

Euro 2016 Portuguese players had what it takes to win, the team might have had not players with talent as the present crop of players.

Today's Players are more focused to get in the top clubs, ones they are there, they do not want to get injured so they dont give 100% unlike few like CR, PEPE etc.

Fernando has to think outside the box to select players, bring in Andre Gomes, Adrien etc and see the difference.

Ruben Dias needs to go, bring in David Carmo ( nursing injury), Diogo Queiros, Diogo Leite. Ruben Dias is not agile, not a good tackler.

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You make some great points, especially about attitude and desire.

I think Santos did bring that when he first came. But now it seems the players aren't all onboard. It is his job to pick, start and bench that players.

If Fernandes doesn't get...

You make some great points, especially about attitude and desire.

I think Santos did bring that when he first came. But now it seems the players aren't all onboard. It is his job to pick, start and bench that players.

If Fernandes doesn't get a call up and Horta does, will that send a message? Yes, perform for the NT or stay home. If Horta isn't up to the task, no call up again. Pretty soon you will get a hard working, committed group.

Look at Otavio, not his best game, but you could see he was trying to help. And his hunger for the goal was obvious. He isn't taking it for granted that he will be called up again or even get playing time.

Mario and Guedes came off the bench and directly helped us win the game against Ireland. Those two did it again, without Ronaldo, the help directly win against Qatar.

Guedes seems to always go for it. Mario, by nature a little more calm, but I think after being off the team for a while is more appreciative of the chance.

In the end reputations and performance at clubs, don't count if it isn't seen at the NT level.

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Neville, I agree and disagree...

You make an astute point and I agree that there is something off with the "made" players. The motivation seems definitely down compared to the performance for the clubs. Maybe they know they will get the call up,...

Neville, I agree and disagree...

You make an astute point and I agree that there is something off with the "made" players. The motivation seems definitely down compared to the performance for the clubs. Maybe they know they will get the call up, or maybe it doesn't matter as much now that they have the big contracts. And avoiding injury could be another consideration.

Even Dias now that he is at a big club and Player of the Year, isn't at the level he was before.

Maybe we need more up and coming hungry players. Otavio was definitely out to prove something, he fearlessly attacked that header. No need to worry about if he wants to play for Portugal. We need all the players to show that commitment, always.

After you made the great point about players and motivation, who chooses them and motivates them, but the coach?

I do disagree about the coach. I will repeat for the nth time, I respect and admire Santos, for sure my favorite NT coach so far. The way he didn't buy tickets until the 2016 Euro was over, was pure belief.

But he has to go.

No coach or player is above the team. If a coach or player is hurting the success of the team, Santos or maybe at some point Ronaldo, they have to go.

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Great article, enjoyed reading your thoughts after watching the game, keep it up...

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I’m going to try and make sense of this as much as possible and I hope you guys understand what I’m saying. I’m only talking about the players we’ve seen recently too. Think of our players in terms of either being athletic or being finesse...

I’m going to try and make sense of this as much as possible and I hope you guys understand what I’m saying. I’m only talking about the players we’ve seen recently too. Think of our players in terms of either being athletic or being finesse players.

Bruno, Bernardo, trincao, otavio, joao Mario, joao felix, Moutinho etc. all of those guys have the same ideas and same qualities as a whole.

Jota, Guedes and Rafa, those guys are athletic and not very skilled. Very direct and sloppy in possession.

The problem with this is more often than not the first group of players dominate the ball and everything attack wise must go through the middle of the field and that’s easy to defend. The only way this works is when you can pass so quickly and create combinations around the box efficiently. These finesse players are capable of doing that but the problem is these small international breaks don’t give the players enough time to gel together.

Guedes and Rafa should never see the field for the national team. Now I understand that many of you follow Portuguese clubs and I’ll admit I don’t so if anything I say is upsetting to you I apologize but that’s not my intention at all.

We desperately need Neto to come back healthy because he provides both qualities in that he’s incredibly athletic and he’s skilled/smart. We need more dynamic players who can do both. A few weeks ago an article came out on here about Gelson martins and I said he should be called up again. Now I’m not saying he’s the greatest player in the world but if you put him on the wing, he’ll take players on 1 vs 1 and create for us.

We’re sort of inbetween cycles right now I think. Guys like Neto, Jota(Benfica one), Conceicao, Leao etc, those guys offer qualities that we don’t have in Guedes, Rafa, Trincao and Bernardo.

Hope that makes sense.

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I agree, I feel the same way. We can knock Santos but we have a gap in the combination of technical and athletic abilities in one player. The attributes that RQ7 and Nani provided have not been replaced. These small technique players are...

I agree, I feel the same way. We can knock Santos but we have a gap in the combination of technical and athletic abilities in one player. The attributes that RQ7 and Nani provided have not been replaced. These small technique players are overrated in my mind plus they get nullified by tough athletic defending and our athletic players are very limited, I've incessantly have stated Jota is not a first team national player.

We need Neto and a few other players of this ilk to step up to refresh the game and give us more options. I know people will hate this, I don't think this generation is as good as everyone may think. One can debate the coaching but these players don't pass the eye test and plus the goal scoring recording (data) proves it. These players can't break down defenses, can dribble by people with speed and skill, and don't have the cool composure to finish. Is this fault of Santos? We sometimes need to breakdown the team and look at the attributes.

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I would say it is mostly Santos fault. Who else chooses the players, the system, the training?

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I meant to say these players can't dribble by people with speed and skill.

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Justin, great take.

I did notice that in the beginning of the game, it was choppy and disjointed. But then Portugal got into a rhythm and started to flow. Then they were in control until half time. Of course half time breaks the game up, but...

Justin, great take.

I did notice that in the beginning of the game, it was choppy and disjointed. But then Portugal got into a rhythm and started to flow. Then they were in control until half time. Of course half time breaks the game up, but they really lost rhythm when Bruno and Jota come on. Not blaming them for coming on, my main point is the team needs more continuity and structure.

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Guedes and Rafa not on NT, bit shortsighted.

Guedes(along with Ronny), saved the day against the Irish. His soft floater makes it so hard for the defense to time and clear. The king of the cross, Quaresma, would have appreciated it. And of...

Guedes and Rafa not on NT, bit shortsighted.

Guedes(along with Ronny), saved the day against the Irish. His soft floater makes it so hard for the defense to time and clear. The king of the cross, Quaresma, would have appreciated it. And of course of his repeated floater against Qatar, allowed a 5'8" Otavio time to fly in from nowhere and pound it into the net.

Oh yeah, and of course we may not have a Nation's Cup trophy without his excellent nutmeg and shot in the final.

Of course he is injury prone due to his fearless, direct attacking style. And he falls out of form because of it, so I am fine if he is out of form not to be called up. But when he is balling, he is a proven performer.

Did you noticed how often Guedes was fouled by Qatar? His movement causes defenders to have to hack him, I wonder why he gets injured so often. How about him drawing the red card on the goalkeeper? Not helpful for the win at all, right?

Rafa, did you watch the Hungary game? Yeah, one game doesn't make a career, but never to be called up?

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First off you cannot compare both players. Guedes is way above Rafa. I agree with you that the move Guedes made on the first goal was spectacular, if healthy he should start. Rafa's passing skills are probably one of the worst on the team.

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I didn't make a comparison, I just made a case that both have been at different times effective for the NT.

I spent about 10 sentences on Guedes and 1 on Rafa. So yeah, I wouldn't equate their performance for the NT as equal.

Therefore, in...

I didn't make a comparison, I just made a case that both have been at different times effective for the NT.

I spent about 10 sentences on Guedes and 1 on Rafa. So yeah, I wouldn't equate their performance for the NT as equal.

Therefore, in case of confusion, I believe when healthy, Guedes is superior to Rafa.

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But of course Mr Santos is starting Moutinho, WTF

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What am I reading here??

Guys like Neto, Jota (Benfica one), Conceicao, Leao, etc., those guys offer qualities that we don’t have in Guedes, Rafa, Trincao and Bernardo.

You're saying Neto, Jota (now a Celtic player), Conceicao, Leao offer more...

What am I reading here??

Guys like Neto, Jota (Benfica one), Conceicao, Leao, etc., those guys offer qualities that we don’t have in Guedes, Rafa, Trincao and Bernardo.

You're saying Neto, Jota (now a Celtic player), Conceicao, Leao offer more qualities? Please tell me how, where?

I get it, Neto has been injured and Leao, well, he has not started the season so brightly. But the others, they hardly play for their teams. These guys are still up and coming players with lots of potential. Let's keep it at that. All of them haven't played for the national team (Neto 3 games) and the way things are at their clubs, they will bring no qualities to the national team.

On the other hand, Guedes and Rafa have been excellent for their teams. And apart from scoring goals, Trincao and Bernardo aren't doing so bad either. Anybody who follows Portuguese football will pick these players instead of some unproven teenagers with fancy dribbling abilities.

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Just a friendly with some squad players getting the start, but a win. I much rather Santos go with the 4-4-2 over the 4-3-3, even with the starters. Provides more balance, more creativity against a low block, and clogs the midfield field in the...

Just a friendly with some squad players getting the start, but a win. I much rather Santos go with the 4-4-2 over the 4-3-3, even with the starters. Provides more balance, more creativity against a low block, and clogs the midfield field in the transition to defense.

With a full healthy squad could see something like below:


Ronaldo/Andre Silva
Joao Mario/Sanches/Ruben Neves/Bernardo
Nuno Mendes/Dias/Pepe/Cancelo
Patrico

Jota/Guedes off the bench to provide scoring punch if needed for a goal, taking off Bernardo/Joao Mario

Paulinha in for Neves for physical matches.

Danilo off the bench for Sanches to protect a lead and close out a match. Could even swap in Guerreiro for Joao Mario.

Bruno Fernandes does not fit in this team. Even though he’s been deployed at an 8, he is an out and out 10. At this point he plays at a CF for Man U and I just don’t see it happening while providing balance to the team.

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Portugal started slowly but after the first goal were in complete control. The second half was a mess.

Otávio looked lively throughout and proved that he should be considered as an option from here on out.

João Mário and Gonçalo Guedes have...

Portugal started slowly but after the first goal were in complete control. The second half was a mess.

Otávio looked lively throughout and proved that he should be considered as an option from here on out.

João Mário and Gonçalo Guedes have also used these two games to improve their positions on Santos' roster. Both players have their limitations and with a healthy squad, neither make the starting 11, but it is good to have decent back ups who are familiar with the national team set up.

I think both guys earned a spot in the starting 11 against Azerbaijan. Bruno Fernandes could very well start on the bench.

I also agree that Domingos Duarte perhaps isn't the most convincing defender in a back four, especially when he's forced to defend 1 v 1. I'd love to see Inácio get a look as soon as he's available.

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I agree with you in regards to Joao Mario and Guedes not good enough for our starting 11 better as bench players....

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Before reading the comments I was under the belief that Santos was solely the problem. But, being reminded that we’ve had umteen shots on goal and converted only one or two per game, the problem isn’t getting the ball to goal, but rather...

Before reading the comments I was under the belief that Santos was solely the problem. But, being reminded that we’ve had umteen shots on goal and converted only one or two per game, the problem isn’t getting the ball to goal, but rather finishing it. So then the real question should be, who is best at finishing and how do you field your team around that?

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It’s been Portugal’s problem for years - we lack clinical finishers

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