Portugal had few difficulties beating Qatar 3-0 in an international friendly at Estádio do Algarve. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 37th minute with second half goals to José Fonte and André Silva wrapping it up.

Fernando Santos handed senior Seleção debuts to Diogo Costa, Matheus Nunes and Rafael Leão, full-back Diogo Dalot producing a man of the match performance. PortuGOAL's Matthew Marshall reports from the Algarve. 

Portugal dominate from the get go

Portugal’s dominance over Qatar was established early in the contest with the Seleção probing for openings against a packed defence.

Ronaldo sent André Silva through on goal, he appeared to be pushed by Abdelkarim Hassan but no penalty was forthcoming after a VAR review.

Silva had another chance minutes later, played in by Matheus Nunes with goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb coming out and making an important save.

Nunes was next to have a penalty claim denied, latching on to Danilo Pereira’s pass and taken out by Hassan.

Hassan’s problems against Portugal persisted, Gonçalo Guedes robbing him of the ball and going on great solo run, beating two players before his shot took a touch off Al Sheeb and went wide.

Diogo Dalot shot wide before providing a cross for Ronaldo who headed straight at Qatar's goalkeeper who was becoming increasingly involved.

Ronaldo makes amends

Portugal’s best effort was soon to come, Dalot releasing Ronaldo who shot wide with Al Sheeb to beat. He wouldn’t have to wait long for another chance.

Matheus Nunes’ ball over the top found Dalot near the goal line, he headed back towards goal where Bassam Hisham had an amateurish airswing, Ronaldo accepting the invitation and smashing the ball into the back of the net.

Fernando Santos made two changes at the break with Nélson Semedo and Rafael Leão replacing Nuno Mendes and Ronaldo.

Portugal extend their lead

Three minutes into the second half Portugal doubled their lead.

Guedes was fouled near the touch line, João Mário’s free kick met by Danilo who saw his header saved, but only as far as José Fonte who was on hand to score from close range.

Santos made two changes in the 61st minute with João Palhinha and Bernardo Silva replacing William Carvalho and Gonçalo Guedes. 

Dalot’s switch to left back was not diminishing his impact on the game, beating Tarek Salman before André Silva volleyed his cross over the bar.

The changes kept coming as João Moutinho and Bruno Fernandes replaced João Mário and Matheus Nunes in the 71st minute.

It's the Rafael Leão show

Rafael Leão became increasingly involved against a tiring Qatar defence and would dominate the final 10 minutes of play. His cross found André Silva whose shot was saved, but Leão was just getting started.

The in-form AC Milan forward hit the bar with a shot from distance, Hisham’s clearance collected by Diogo Dalot who fired home from a tight angle but was ruled to have handled the ball.

A lovely long ball from Bruno Fernandes then released Leão, the ball taking a deflection past Al Sheeb, and just when it seemed Leão would finish into an empty net he managed to hit the post from a yard out.

Leão still had time to make an impact however, an accurate cross picking out André Silva who headed past Al Sheeb in the 90th minute to add some gloss to the performance.

Diogo Dalot

The writing was on the wall early on for Diogo Dalot, regularly switching positions with Gonçalo Guedes which allowed him to advance into attacking positions.

Dalot provided chances for Ronaldo, one of which resulted in the opening goal and was confident enough to take shots on goal.

The Manchester United full-back was just as effective at in the second half after switching flanks. He had a goal ruled out in the closing stages which would have been the icing on the cake, but he was still the standout performer and an easy choice for man of the match.

Matheus Nunes

Matheus Nunes made his first appearance for Portugal after a brief tug of war between his adopted country Brazil, his birthplace. He won an early free kick that Ronaldo fired into the wall before sending André Silva through on goal.

The Sporting CP midfielder made a number of interceptions and it was his pass that was the precursor for Portugal’s opening goal.

Portugal have an abundance of talent in central midfield, but having the 23-year-old in the mix gives Santos another valuable option moving forward.

Rafael Leão

Rafael Leão took some time to get involved, but once he did Qatar's defence had few answers.

Leão hit the bar from distance before managing to miss a glorious chance to score on his senior international debut.

His assist for André Silva was a consolation prize, but he showed enough to suggest he will continue to be part of Santos' squad for the remainder of the World Cup qualifiers.

Diogo Costa

Diogo Costa had little to do against Qatar, but it was a significant match for him and a significant selection from Santos.

Costa was a consistent performer for Portugal's youth teams and deserved his chance to be Porto's first choice goalkeeper this season.

Rui Patrício and Anthony Lopes are currently ahead of him in the pecking order, but it seems logical that Costa is on target to be Portugal's next number one.

Line Up

Portugal XI (4-3-3): Diogo Costa - Diogo Dalot, José Fonte, Danilo Pereira, Nuno Mendes (Nélson Semedo 46’) - João Mário (João Moutinho 70’), William Carvalho (João Palhinha 61’), Matheus Nunes (Bruno Fernandes 70’) - Cristiano Ronaldo (Rafael Leão 46’), André Silva, Gonçalo Guedes (Bernardo Silva 61’)

Unused substitutes: Rui Patrício, Anthony Lopes, Rúben Dias, Pepe, João Cancelo

Coach: Fernando Santos

Goals:

[1-0] - Cristiano Ronaldo 37’

[2-0] - José Fonte 48’

[3-0] - André Silva 90’

Comments (20)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

It would be a preference of mine to see the selecção play with an out-and-out striker but holy moley Andre Silva makes me want to pull my hair out. This guy fluffs his lines way too much.. and I had high hopes for him, that he would become a real...

It would be a preference of mine to see the selecção play with an out-and-out striker but holy moley Andre Silva makes me want to pull my hair out. This guy fluffs his lines way too much.. and I had high hopes for him, that he would become a real match winner. Great season at Frankfurt, but if you watch his goals, there's nothing too special.

I'm happy Guedes is finally getting his chance to shine, I've seen some comments writing him off when he's barely had a chance to settle down. He is a direct player with lots of speed, electric when played in the proper position and one of Valencia's best players. Never want to see Bernardo on the right wing ever again. Pedro Neto is outstanding but time to start questioning if we can rely upon someone who's injured for half the year.

Rafael Leão looked very lively coming on but I don't believe anything matters until Santos is finally gone. Every mediocre win that justifies keeping him is accompanied with scorching pain.

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Andre Silva has to play imo, its the same with Eder.

You take the good with the bad and recognize Silva misses alot but he is always in space. He creates space for Ronaldo and Guedes and best of all Bernardo Silva is OFF the pitch so he cant...

Andre Silva has to play imo, its the same with Eder.

You take the good with the bad and recognize Silva misses alot but he is always in space. He creates space for Ronaldo and Guedes and best of all Bernardo Silva is OFF the pitch so he cant abandon his team mates as he always does.

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Here's my review of the game:

Fernando Santos drew some names out of a hat and threw them on the field, said his prayers and took his vitamins.

Danilo as a CB against Qatar, ok, but he's not a CB and shouldn't be one against top opponents.

Da...

Here's my review of the game:

Fernando Santos drew some names out of a hat and threw them on the field, said his prayers and took his vitamins.

Danilo as a CB against Qatar, ok, but he's not a CB and shouldn't be one against top opponents.

Dalot finally showing he's great going both ways. Solid on defence and very good bombing forward as well.

Good first game for Mateus Nunes. Good goal for Fonte as well.

Still hoping to see some kind of gameplan next time.

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The harsh criticism of Santos is something I’ll never understand. No matter what the result is, either a win or loss, fans will never be happy.

Portuguese fans will get their wish one day when Santos retires, and we get the mediocrity...

The harsh criticism of Santos is something I’ll never understand. No matter what the result is, either a win or loss, fans will never be happy.

Portuguese fans will get their wish one day when Santos retires, and we get the mediocrity individualistic football that we had in the past. All flash, no finish, poor results

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Not exactly, John. We can hire a coach who will make us play with an identity, offensive football and still winning matches like we always did with Santos.

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The thing is Santos never looks satisfied or confident he exudes fear and frustration. We won to a team that never pressed in our own half. Our bench was still void of talents like Sanches and Felix and Neto so to have so much talent pool to draw...

The thing is Santos never looks satisfied or confident he exudes fear and frustration. We won to a team that never pressed in our own half. Our bench was still void of talents like Sanches and Felix and Neto so to have so much talent pool to draw from and produce such poor results in tournaments leaves one to think that if a different mind was behind the talent could not betters results transpire?

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Hey John, can you tell me how happy you were when we were getting demolished by a mediocre German team?

How about when we lost to a 1-shot Belgium and couldn't do anything to draw?

Can you tell me what our playing style is? Can you honestly...

Hey John, can you tell me how happy you were when we were getting demolished by a mediocre German team?

How about when we lost to a 1-shot Belgium and couldn't do anything to draw?

Can you tell me what our playing style is? Can you honestly tell me, based on the performances you see on the pitch, that you think Portugal has a shot at winning another tournament?

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Santos has one leg in retirement and is doing nothing tactically.

Portugal were again boring, lifeless.

Santos was exposed at the Euro and seems to have given up.

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No game plan no identity. You could legitimately argue with a straight face that Portugal may be stronger than Italy or Spain in paper. However, those teams play much better than we do. They actually have an identity and game plan.

Like Chris...

No game plan no identity. You could legitimately argue with a straight face that Portugal may be stronger than Italy or Spain in paper. However, those teams play much better than we do. They actually have an identity and game plan.

Like Chris mentioned, there is none of that with Santos. It is pulling names out of a hat and hoping it works.

Even when we won euro 2016, Santos only figured out his best lineup after we drew our way through the group stage. He came into euros 2021 unprepared with no game plan or idea of what tactic to use to get the best out of his best players .

Lucky for us, we have an easy group and Portugal is consistent against the teams they should beat. We should top the group without much difficulty.

However, be prepared to be eliminated in the round of 16 in Qatar and see Ronaldo throwing his armband on the ground.

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I'll go a step further: we are definitely better than Italy and much better than Spain.

On paper, the only team that may have slightly more talent than us is France.

Italy, respectfully, is a top 20 team in terms of talent. But their manager...

I'll go a step further: we are definitely better than Italy and much better than Spain.

On paper, the only team that may have slightly more talent than us is France.

Italy, respectfully, is a top 20 team in terms of talent. But their manager actually knows how to plan tactically.

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As Chris and Z say: Under Santos, Portugal has NO IDENTITY, and that‘s what hurts the most. And yes, the continuous sense of uncertainty and the nervosity that Santos is spreading during the match is just not what a team needs. But to those who...

As Chris and Z say: Under Santos, Portugal has NO IDENTITY, and that‘s what hurts the most. And yes, the continuous sense of uncertainty and the nervosity that Santos is spreading during the match is just not what a team needs. But to those who see Portugal ahead of all others: There is no Gavi in PT team, no Chiesa and no De Bruyne. Wake up. The only setup where PT becomes a thread to world class teams is when Renato drives the team - the lack of identity covered by the individual esprit and class of one individual. A no-go in a team sport. Beware of the Germans. They would NEVER fall into that pitfall. Germany, Spain, France, Italy. They have identity. Portugal has not. That‘s why Portugal is inferior to all four of them. No matter who stands on the pitch.

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@chris and Z

You know I’d like to agree with you about the talent being higher but to be honest I’m not so sure about that. Spain and Italy are the types of countries that historically hang on to their players. For example, theres a lot of...

@chris and Z

You know I’d like to agree with you about the talent being higher but to be honest I’m not so sure about that. Spain and Italy are the types of countries that historically hang on to their players. For example, theres a lot of talented kids in this Spanish team that I’m watching right now play against France but the difference between a kid like Nuno Mendes and someone like Gavi is the Portuguese league sells off all their young kids to the big sharks. We hear about the Psg and man city’s etc making moves so we assume our talent is world class. I think that’s been the case for almost ten years now, same thing happened to Guedes when he left for PSG or Renato to Munich etc. these Spanish kids stick around and develop well into their late 20s usually and that’s the same with Italian players. Chiesa is another example for Juventus, he is miles better than any winger we have at 24 years old but he didn’t make a move to man city 3 years ago so you’d never know that. I just think the talent sometimes that we think we have is either overhyped because of big team transfers or guys like Bruno Bernardo and Cancelo play on the biggest money team. The epl is the most recognizable league so it’s only natural that we hear more about them. Joao Felix doesn’t really look even a tiny bit better than a few of these Spanish kids on this Spanish team but they play for Sevilla or a Real Betis side.

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Justin, I don't really like hyperbole, so when I say something, I'm pretty big on being able to back it up.

Portugal has the greatest to ever play, 3 Champions League finalists, 1 La Liga champion, 2 EPL players of the year in the last 2 years,...

Justin, I don't really like hyperbole, so when I say something, I'm pretty big on being able to back it up.

Portugal has the greatest to ever play, 3 Champions League finalists, 1 La Liga champion, 2 EPL players of the year in the last 2 years, 3 Ligue 1 winners, and a guy who almost beat the consecutive scoring record in Germany.

Not to mention, a total value of between €800,000,000 - €900,000,000, depending on the selection of players. It's not hype, these guys are that good.

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Look up the rosters Justin, on paper Portugal are a powerhouse and yet as a team.....no matter what is said it was Ronaldo (again) the ONLY player with any scoring potential, its sad really.

Neto-Lite had a great game (Guedes) but William...

Look up the rosters Justin, on paper Portugal are a powerhouse and yet as a team.....no matter what is said it was Ronaldo (again) the ONLY player with any scoring potential, its sad really.

Neto-Lite had a great game (Guedes) but William looked awful and he was lucky not to be tossed for his studs high kick of the Qatar player.

Its pretty obvious Andre Silva HAS to play and take the misses as his potential is huge and he cant miss forever. He creates so much space its silly really. Ronaldo and Guedes were never marked as Silva took 2 defenders with him, he is very intelligent footballer.

Shuffling the deck constantly leads to what we have now. No identity, no tactics, no drive, no one to put the ball in the net outside Ronaldo.

Italy are a model to look up to. Players who are comfortable in the system and able to exceed expectations because they understand their place and position. Who the hell is our DM again?? Danilo? William? Palinha or wait is it Nuno Mendes??? I dont know, do you?

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Whether we like it or not, Santos is going to stay come the World Cup next year, so can we just stop with the complaining, moaning and groaning! It's not healthy for you guys.

In the meantime, could any of you guys tell me who should replace...

Whether we like it or not, Santos is going to stay come the World Cup next year, so can we just stop with the complaining, moaning and groaning! It's not healthy for you guys.

In the meantime, could any of you guys tell me who should replace Santos then, so we could have an identity??

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Sir Alex Ferguson

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OK this game was a gimme. Now we have to see what they can do against a soccer powerhouse like Luxembourg ;)
With Portugal nothing is a forgone conclusion.

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Lately every national major team has transitioned to a back 3.

I think with Portugal, there are more problems than what meets the eye.

In terms of intensity, Portugal is amongst the worst teams in Europe.

Either there is no team spirit at all,...

Lately every national major team has transitioned to a back 3.

I think with Portugal, there are more problems than what meets the eye.

In terms of intensity, Portugal is amongst the worst teams in Europe.

Either there is no team spirit at all, or the coach has created a very tense atmosphere within the roster.

I see Portugal winning against Luxembourg. But I see a big debacle at home coming against Serbia.

This team needs a young coach with offensive mentality.

I am hoping one day to see this team get back the intensity it had back in 2007.

Portugal will make it to the world cup, but they won't go past the group stages.

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Will, great points.

The back three would really give us an ability to play to one of our strengths, unleashing a group of 6(or more) great wing-backs. Even with Ricardo and Rafa G. out, we still have a good 4 wing-backs.

Danilo was coming so...

Will, great points.

The back three would really give us an ability to play to one of our strengths, unleashing a group of 6(or more) great wing-backs. Even with Ricardo and Rafa G. out, we still have a good 4 wing-backs.

Danilo was coming so far up, he could definitely do this in a back three with Pepe and Dias, who are also good bringing up the ball and passing. I haven't seen alot of our other CB's, but in the past I felt a couple would work as a CB in a back three, i.e. Vezo and Djalo. Also, I think Dalot could fit in.

If we do lose to Serbia and go the playoff route, then I can see us getting in a Group of Death and that makes the prospect of getting out of the group tough. But, I think we will get out of the Group Stages, barring major injuries or red card influenced games(bad memories of 2014).

On intensity, you are right on. We only seem to kick it up when behind, and by then, since we don't have a controlling offensive strategy, it is too late(Belgium Euros, Uruguay, WC).

Also, the 2016 team was intense, ready to go all the way. I think the new players, who may be more talented, are more lackadaisical, they think it will just happen. I see true intensity, belief and dedication in the Italy team. France, shows up on talent, which as we have seen maybe enough. Spain is about talent and tactics, and it is almost enough.

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Serbia is a worry, but I keep thinking EVERY game is a potential debacle, the way Portugal plays.
Beating Luxembourg(!) is no sure thing, and I'm just as worried about Ireland, as Serbia, too.
Unlike most top 5 or 10 world teams, Portugal is the...

Serbia is a worry, but I keep thinking EVERY game is a potential debacle, the way Portugal plays.
Beating Luxembourg(!) is no sure thing, and I'm just as worried about Ireland, as Serbia, too.
Unlike most top 5 or 10 world teams, Portugal is the one that makes every victory seem like a minor miracle.
With Santos, I still see a continuous repetition of underachievement & mediocrity, despite a world class lineup on paper.

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