Portugal beat Luxembourg 5-0 at Estádio do Algarve in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Ronaldo scored a hat-trick with goals to Bruno Fernandes and João Palhinha wrapping up a one-sided victory.

The win keeps the Seleção on track for automatic qualification for Qatar with two matches remaining.

It’s the Cristiano Ronaldo show

Portugal needed just eight minutes to take the lead in the Algarve.

Bernardo Silva went on a great solo run, beating Sébastien Thill and Michael Pinto before being fouled by Thill on the edge of the 18-yard box. Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up and slammed the penalty home.

It wasn't long before Ronaldo would get another chance from the spot. André Silva pounced on a loose touch from Dirk Carlson, Ronaldo taking the ball and surging into the 18-yard box where he beat Carlson before being taken out by goalkeeper Anthony Moris.

Ronaldo scored the penalty, but due to André Silva’s encroachment had to take it again and he made no mistake despite Moris diving the right way.

Portugal maintain the pressure

Portugal kept piling on the pressure and creating chances as André Silva saw his shot deflected over the bar. It was soon 3-0.

João Palhinha intercepted a poor pass from Moris and found Bernardo Silva who released Bruno Fernandes, the Manchester United playmaker firing a shot past Moris from a tight angle.

The opportunities kept coming in the Algarve. Ruben Dias headed Fernandes’ cross straight at Moris, Ronaldo and Bernardo forcing saves from Luxembourg's shot stopper who was getting plenty of practice.

André Silva headed Fernandes’ free kick straight at Moris as the half-time whistle sounded, much to the relief of the visitors who were struggling to make any impression with the ball.

More of the same

Portugal had a succession of shots following a corner with Rúben Dias, André Silva and Palhinha seeing shots blocked. Ronaldo fired narrowly wide after some great build up play from Nuno Mendes and André Silva.

Luxembourg finally managed a shot on target, but Danel Sinani’s shot was weak and easily saved by Rui Patrício. 

Palhinha fired wide from a Fernandes free kick before André Silva broke free and shot wide from long range. It seemed a matter of time before Portugal extended their lead, Fernandes missing the target after a great cross from Nuno Mendes.

João Mário replaced João Moutinho in the 65th minute and Portugal made it 4-0 three minutes later.

Palhinha on target

João Cancelo’s cross found Ronaldo who produced an overhead bicycle kick that forced another save from Moris. From the resulting corner Palhinha rose highest to head the ball into the back of the net.

Luxembourg fashioned their best chance of the match not long after. Patrício’s poor pass was picked out by Leandro Barreiro, he released Gerson Rodrigues whose shot was tipped wide by Patrício.

Portugal failed to capitalise on a fast break after Ronaldo cleared the resulting corner.

Santos made two changes in the 73rd minute as João Palhinha and André Silva made way for Rúben Neves and Rafael Leão. Two more changes occurred in the 80th minute as Matheus Nunes and Gonçalo Guedes were introduced for Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva.

Inevitable hat-trick

Cristiano Ronaldo only had one thing on his mind and he wouldn't be denied, securing yet another hat-trick in the 87th minute. A great pass from Rúben Neves found Ronaldo at the far post who headed past Moris.

He had one more chance to add to his international goal tally, firing a free kick over the bar after Cancelo had been fouled on the edge of the 18-yard-box.

Too easy

It was too easy for Portugal who never gave Luxembourg a chance, ending the game as a contest after just 17 minutes.

Fernando Santos is starting to put the pieces together with Bruno Fernandes playing in his preferred position. João Palhinha has definitely made the holding midfield role his own after a fantastic performance at both ends of the pitch.

Santos has so many options and with Diogo Jota, João Félix and Renato Sanches to return, he will have some difficult choices to make if the entire squad is fit.

Harder tests are on the horizon with Portugal taking on the Republic of Ireland in Dublin before the final World Cup qualifier against Serbia in Lisbon.

By Matthew Marshall

Line Up

Portugal XI (4-2-3-1): Rui Patrício - João Cancelo, Pepe, Rúben Dias, Nuno Mendes - João Palhinha (Rúben Neves 73’), João Moutinho (João Mário 65’) - André Silva (Rafael Leão 73’), Bruno Fernandes (Matheus Nunes 80’), Bernardo Silva (Gonçalo Guedes 80’) - Cristiano Ronaldo

Unused substitutes: Anthony Lopes, Diogo Costa, José Fonte, Nélson Semedo, Diogo Dalot, Danilo Pereira, William Carvalho

Coach: Fernando Santos

Goals:

[1-0] - Cristiano Ronaldo 8’ P

[2-0] - Cristiano Ronaldo 13’ P

[3-0] - Bruno Fernandes 17’

[4-0] - João Palhinha 69’

[5-0] - Cristiano Ronaldo 87’

Comments (25)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Another game, another Santos victory. His naysayers will come out of the woodwork to say that Portugal played only a ‘decent’ game, but when you’re up 3-0 against a minnow why would you even bother running up the score when you have the game in...

Another game, another Santos victory. His naysayers will come out of the woodwork to say that Portugal played only a ‘decent’ game, but when you’re up 3-0 against a minnow why would you even bother running up the score when you have the game in the bag?

Ronaldo continues his legacy. He will always be the greatest player of all time. Messi can’t even come close.

I appreciate Leão and what he brings to the team. He’s quick, agile, and has the strength to muscle off players. He kinda plays similar to a lanky Renato.

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I am a Santos naysayer, and it was a good performance. The team actually pressed and was mostly clinical.

I think you should maybe see things less as being in black and white and understand that there is nuance in the world and things can be...

I am a Santos naysayer, and it was a good performance. The team actually pressed and was mostly clinical.

I think you should maybe see things less as being in black and white and understand that there is nuance in the world and things can be grey.

When Santos gets the team to perform well, he will be commended. Same as how when they are poor, he will be criticized.

The team looked solid, incisive and put on a very good show.

Nuno Mendes and Palhinha (along with the obvious captain), were standouts.

One thing I found interesting, was that Santos was extremely irritated in the post match interviews. I've never seen him like that before. Will be interesting to see how that plays out in the remaining games.

Cheers.

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Chris, very well said.

I am a big Santos fan, both as a person and a coach. But, we have seen some poor performances without a direction, identity and intensity. So as you said, it is fair to be critical. The team success before any individual...

Chris, very well said.

I am a big Santos fan, both as a person and a coach. But, we have seen some poor performances without a direction, identity and intensity. So as you said, it is fair to be critical. The team success before any individual coach or player is most important to me.

Today's performance is worthy of praise. The BruNardos were on fire, it was nice to see. Bernardo hadn't been himself for a while and Bruno up until that game against the Azeris, hadn't really performed up to club level.

By the way, where did you see the Santos post game where he was irritated? I would like to take a look.

Maybe he was upset they got sloppy after going up 3. They definitely gave Lux more space and weren't sharp on finishing, should have had a few more goals. I am not complaining, 5-0 is the best we have done against Lux, since 2011. By the way, I think this is the strongest I have seen a Lux team, unfortunate to lose to Serbia, given also the were out two players, 1 being their talisman Gerson.

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Take a gander:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phAivspXzuM

When the Serbia result is mentioned he seems a bit irritated.

Thanks for sharing your opinion. Please never use the term Brunardo again. I am a colleague and fellow Seleccao fan, but...

Take a gander:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phAivspXzuM

When the Serbia result is mentioned he seems a bit irritated.

Thanks for sharing your opinion. Please never use the term Brunardo again. I am a colleague and fellow Seleccao fan, but even I cannot defend that horrible name.

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CR7 needs to come off the bench…Bwahahahaha!!!!

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Joe D. - you do realize the same way Portugal dominated Azerbaijan without CR, they easily could have done that again without him against Luxembourg. You cant cry it's only Azerbaijan and then hold this game up as proof they are a better team...

Joe D. - you do realize the same way Portugal dominated Azerbaijan without CR, they easily could have done that again without him against Luxembourg. You cant cry it's only Azerbaijan and then hold this game up as proof they are a better team currently with him That's part of the problem, we can't do some controlled experiment where we run the game back without him. I wish we could.

Look at Ronaldo for United, scored 5 goals in 6 games and if you actually watch the games their performances haven't been any better and you could argue they have been worse. Crazy how Benzema has performed at Real once Ronaldo left. It is possible for others to step up when they get to step out of the shadow.

It's hard to take much from this game. Luxembourg threw in the towel in the 13th minute after the 2 pks.

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JP, its not trial an error method process to bring in some young players which you feel is good enough to play for Seleção.

You need a blend of experience, skilful players, team work and most importantly you need a good leader to lead with...

JP, its not trial an error method process to bring in some young players which you feel is good enough to play for Seleção.

You need a blend of experience, skilful players, team work and most importantly you need a good leader to lead with example.

We should be proud and confident that we have Cristiano Ronaldo leading the Portuguese team and wining matched.

Todays match was not the best but good for Selecao to qualify that is what we needed.

Just dont jump the gun

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The game was aggressive, purposeful and meaningful. It would be more meaningful if Selecao wins against the top 10 teams as is Portugal and maintains its consistency.

This game need some smoothing to a finished product before the WC kicks in.

Co...

The game was aggressive, purposeful and meaningful. It would be more meaningful if Selecao wins against the top 10 teams as is Portugal and maintains its consistency.

This game need some smoothing to a finished product before the WC kicks in.

Consistency of players is key to successful outcome to win the tournament, Bruno has his ups and down at club level.

This match Nuno Mendes made lot of mistakes, he should not be the first choice. Rafael Gurreiro is a good player with experience and confidence.

We need to try Diogo Leite, Diogo Queiroz, David Carmo (injured) to pair up with PEPE. Ruben is lost during a counter attack, he has no speed.

The BEST to come is Ricardo pereira, Renato Sanchez, Joao felix, Nelson Samedo etc to give a further momentum to the team.

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Nuno Mendes made a lot of mistakes? Were we watching the same game?

Mendes made arguably the 3 best scoring chances in the 2nd half while not leaking anything in defence. Do you expect a player to never lose the ball?

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Its about reliability,

What is the responsibility/role of a deep defenders. Is it how well he defends his team or how well he attacks. If a player gives you both options than he is good.

In big games you cannot make mistakes you need to be...

Its about reliability,

What is the responsibility/role of a deep defenders. Is it how well he defends his team or how well he attacks. If a player gives you both options than he is good.

In big games you cannot make mistakes you need to be as perfect as you can to defend your opponent from scoring.

RAFAEL GUREIRO requires to be the first choice because he plays in a high intensity league and a recognised player with experience at Club & National team level.

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Great to see Ronaldo get the hat trick! I would not put it past him to score 20 more goals for the Seleção before he hangs up his boots.

Also promising to see Bernardo and Fernandes continue to play well. They can coexist but only in clearly...

Great to see Ronaldo get the hat trick! I would not put it past him to score 20 more goals for the Seleção before he hangs up his boots.

Also promising to see Bernardo and Fernandes continue to play well. They can coexist but only in clearly defined roles.

Palhinha has made the #6 spot his own since the Euros. Néves is a more than adequate back-up.

Mendes should be our starting left back from here on out. Guerreiro is an outstanding wing back but can be exposed defensively in a back four.

Mourinho and João Mário are quality #8s but that position belongs to Renato once he's back to full fitness. I also expect Jota and Félix to be back with the squad next month.

The only weakness in our squad is at center back. Dias is the only reliable center back we have under the age of 35. One of Inácio, Duarte, Leite, etc. needs to step up.

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I actually think Dias is the least reliable CB right now. He seems to have the same problem as Bruno Fernandes. Amazing at club level, trash on the Seleccao. Pepe has been a top 3 defender in the world over the past 18 months. I would say he...

I actually think Dias is the least reliable CB right now. He seems to have the same problem as Bruno Fernandes. Amazing at club level, trash on the Seleccao. Pepe has been a top 3 defender in the world over the past 18 months. I would say he is the only CB we have right now that can be counted on to deliver every game.

I agree with trying Inacio out, though that Ajax game left a bad impression. Not sure if it was down to Inacio's inexperience or Ruben Amorim's poor tactics.

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I’m a Santos naysayer but there was something different today. Yes it was Luxembourg but everyone including Ronaldo applied pressure. There weren’t as many miscommunications or lazy passes that were intercepted. It was more enjoyable and less...

I’m a Santos naysayer but there was something different today. Yes it was Luxembourg but everyone including Ronaldo applied pressure. There weren’t as many miscommunications or lazy passes that were intercepted. It was more enjoyable and less frustrating. Can’t wait till November and test out Serbia.

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The play was Purposeful, Aggressive and good team work, but it would make it more meaningful if we where playing todays play against the Elite teams.

Nevertheless, we could consider that we are changing our approach playing aggressive football.

...

The play was Purposeful, Aggressive and good team work, but it would make it more meaningful if we where playing todays play against the Elite teams.

Nevertheless, we could consider that we are changing our approach playing aggressive football.

Nuno Mendes did lose the ball couple of times, he cannot be a first choice. We need Rafael Gurreiro who has the experience playing big games.

Need a good CB to pair up with PEPE, how about Diego Leite ?

Bruno consistency will be in question?

Ricardo Perreira, Nelson Samedo, Renato Sanchez, Joao Felix would make the wining team against the best team.

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Great won but the real tests are ahead. It took last minute heroics to beat Ireland at home. I think Portugal has a tough game ahead in Dublin on November. Ireland is one of those ough defense minded teams that are hard to break down. And...

Great won but the real tests are ahead. It took last minute heroics to beat Ireland at home. I think Portugal has a tough game ahead in Dublin on November. Ireland is one of those ough defense minded teams that are hard to break down. And thank God, we play Serbia in Lisbon. Another tough game with a WC qualification on the line.

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Solid showing here. Was not against a GREAT side, but Luxembourg do have some talented players in their squad (Barreiro, Rodrigues, Thill, etc.)

Lots of comments earlier calling on Bernardo to never play on the wing again, but especially in the...

Solid showing here. Was not against a GREAT side, but Luxembourg do have some talented players in their squad (Barreiro, Rodrigues, Thill, etc.)

Lots of comments earlier calling on Bernardo to never play on the wing again, but especially in the first half, he was our standout player. He operates best in the middle yes, but if Bruno is on the pitch, it is best if he’s on the wing. Bernardo has been incredible for City this year so far, he looks so comfortable and back to the best version of himself. Bruno looked great also, and you can see the chemistry he and Ronaldo are building at United.

I wonder perhaps how Portugal would operate in a narrow 4-1-2-1-2 given the absence of strong powerful wingers (Neto). Looking forward to having Inacio in the squad and seeing him pair with Rúben one day, or join a back three with him and Pepe (which we all would love but will never happen)!

Serbia will be a tough match. Still cursing the referee and goal line technology from the first game, which makes this match harder for us. They have lots of talent (especially Vlahovic, this kid is really something) and will be a real test for the Seleçao. This is a game that we should win at home. Força!

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Good pressing resulted in three quick goals within 18 minutes. I don't like Bruno's style of play but he has a knack of pulling out a great pass or through ball from difficult angles plus he is a set piece specialist and has an eye for goal. I...

Good pressing resulted in three quick goals within 18 minutes. I don't like Bruno's style of play but he has a knack of pulling out a great pass or through ball from difficult angles plus he is a set piece specialist and has an eye for goal. I don't know how would Felix come into the line up when he returns. He is fit, his ankle problem is gone and would expect him to be lethal this season. Missed Diogo Jota but Andre Silva came up looking very improved. Nuno Mendes had a slow start, then grew into the game and showed why he is one of the best young LBs in the world. I don't think Dias was bad at all. He was composed on the ball, doesn't have the blistering pace but makes up for it by positioning and calculated blocks and interceptions. He is a smart guy and we can count on him for years to come. Joao Palhinha is a wrecking ball in the middle of the pitch, and he has a tendency to make fancy dribbles all of a sudden which I absolutely enjoy. Bernardo Silva always has ball stuck to his feet. Ronaldo seems to be enjoying international breaks. Portugal are going to win the Qatar World Cup for the first time in their history.

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With a coach that has no clue to develop an accurate identity, INTENSITY could be the saviour for Portugal. A decent result against a Luxemburg team which isn't as inferior as they used to be 7 years back. Ok but not more than that. Everyone who...

With a coach that has no clue to develop an accurate identity, INTENSITY could be the saviour for Portugal. A decent result against a Luxemburg team which isn't as inferior as they used to be 7 years back. Ok but not more than that. Everyone who watched Spain against Italy recognized how comfortable and calm the Spanyards are with the ball even in the tightest situations and how genius-like they occupy the space. And how the French can rely on the sheer dynamics and class of their star players. None of this is provided by the PT team. I don't get why so many on this page are seeing Portugal on top of the world. BUT: I have also seen something else against Luxemburg. The name of the game is intensity. Since Santos will never be able to give that team an identity left alone to shift the tactical schemes towards a more fitting and appropriate manner, he could at least recognize what he has in hands to give PT the edge. Back in 2016, there was less talent, but there was the bite of an Adrien, William (back then), Moutinho, Renato in midfield. And on Tuesday, there was a glimpse of that. I am NOT a fan of Leao, since I think he might be a stinker. But in the few minutes he was on the pitch, he showed something. Dynamics, intensity in his game. If he would be able to integrate in the team, great - welcome. I hope Santos looks a bit for muscles. He has it in his hand to build the team. to my mind, it must be built around the DM/CM Palhinha/Renato. Add Bruno and Sergio Oliveira, and you suddenly have a midfield that can destroy AND build up. With these players it doesn't matter so much if the basic formation is a 442, a 4231 or a 433. Bet on muscle, agility, dynamics, intensity. Offensive options also to be chosen according these criteria. Combinations Neto/Leao, Leao/Ronaldo, Guedes/Ronaldo, Jota/Leao are thinkable. Not sure about André Silva.

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