Portugal’s World Cup hopes remain alive after a tense 3-1 victory against Turkey at Estádio Do Dragão.

Otávio was involved in both goals as Portugal established a 2-0 lead at the break, converting from close range after Bernardo Silva’s shot hit the post and delivering a pinpoint cross that was headed home by Diogo Jota.

Fernando Santos’ side refused to coast to the finish line however, Turkey getting back into the contest in the 65th minute when Burak Yilmaz converted from close range.

Yilmaz had a chance to equalise from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute, but he fired way over the bar with Matheus Nunes sealing the deal for the Seleção in added time.

Portugal will take on North Macedonia on Tuesday, the winner booking their ticket to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The Seleção will start that match heavy favourites to make it to their sixth successive World Cup, but the fact that North Macedonia have beaten both Germany and Italy in qualifying shows the danger of underestimating the opposition. 

Portugal on top in Porto

There were some surprises in Portugal’s starting side as Fernando Santos gave Porto duo Diogo Costa and Otávio their first competitive starts. Diogo Jota started up front alongside Ronaldo with José Fonte next to Danilo in central defence, João Moutinho occupying the defensive midfield role.

Diogo Dalot was heavily involved early on with his opposite number Berkan Kutlu lacking confidence in an unfamiliar position. Dalot’s first cross was cleared, his second picking out an unmarked Ronaldo who fired over the bar.

Kutlu was looking like a liability, giving away a free kick after he dawdled on the ball and was robbed by Otávio. Bruno Fernandes’ delivery found Diogo Jota, but somehow the Liverpool forward fired over the bar from point blank range.

Portugal’s persistence paid off and they deservedly took the lead in the 15th minute. Bernardo Silva's shot was pushed on to the post by Ugurcan Çakir, Otávio fastest to react and squeezing the ball home from a tight angle.

Kutlu headed wide from close range after some nice play between Cengiz Ünder and Muhammed Aktürkoglu, but most of Turkey’s chances were coming through cheap turnovers from the Seleção. Their best chance fell to Orkun Kökcü who forced a save from Costa.

Otávio on fire at the Dragão

Portugal extended their lead in the 42nd minute, a free flowing move that began when Ronaldo released Otávio down the right wing. The ball was recycled back to Otávio who had time to pick out Diogo Jota who headed powerfully past Çakir.

Portugal started the second half with more dominance. Bernardo forced a save from Çakir and Jota fired over the bar after Çakir got stranded in no man’s land. Jota had another chance when his shot bounced over the bar as Turkey’s inability to create opportunities from open play continued.

 


Related: Portugal 3-1 Turkey match reaction: “It was undisputedly a deserved victory for Portugal”


 

Turkey turn it around

The game took a dramatic turn in the 65th minute when the visitors got back into the contest. It was a simple 1-2 between Burak Yilmaz and Cengiz Ünder, Yilmaz getting behind José Fonte and beating Diogo Costa from close range.

Stefan Kuntz brought Enes Ünal on for Aktürkoglu as Turkey enjoyed their best spell of the game, dominating possession and playing with confidence. Fonte’s poor header allowed Yilmaz to break free as Portugal were looking tentative, increasingly retreating into their own half which brought the pain of the Serbia performance back to the forefront.

Yilmaz went down in a tussle with Danilo but no penalty was forthcoming. Santos made his first substitution in the 71st minute when João Félix replaced Diogo Jota, Guerreiro’s cross headed wide by Otávio before William replaced Bruno Fernandes.

Yilmaz can’t convert

The tide had turned however, and in the 82nd minute Turkey had a golden chance to equalise after Fonte fouled Ünal and referee Daniel Siebert awarded a penalty following a VAR intervention. Yilmaz stepped up skied it over the bar to the delight and relief of the home crowd.

Santos made a triple switch with Nuno Mendes, Matheus Nunes and Rafael Leão coming on for Raphaël Guerreiro, João Moutinho and Otávio.

Two of them combined to seal the deal in added time, Leão racing clear and releasing Nunes who held his nerve and made no mistake. There was still time for one more chance, Ronaldo hitting the bar after Félix’s shot was saved, but it was job done as Portugal reached the final.

Portugal Line Up (4-4-2) Diogo Costa - Raphaël Guerreiro (Nuno Mendes 88’), Danilo Pereira, José Fonte, Diogo Dalot - Bernardo Silva, João Moutinho (Matheus Nunes 88’), Bruno Fernandes (William Carvalho 80’), Otávio (Rafael Leão 88’) - Diogo Jota (João Félix 71’), Cristiano Ronaldo

Unused substitutes: Rui Patrício, José Sá, Tiago Djaló, Cédric Soares, Vitinha, Gonçalo Guedes, André Silva

Coach: Fernando Santos

Turkey Line Up (3-4-3) Çakır - Söyüncü, Demiral, Kabak - Kutlu (Dursun 90’), Çalhanoğlu, Kökçü (Toköz 80’), Çelik (Yazici 80’) - Ünder, Yilmaz, Aktürkoğlu (Ünal 66’)

Unused substitutes: Bayindir, Ömür, Ayhan, Antalyali, Erkin, Aziz, Bolat, Müldür

Coach: Stefan Kuntz

Analysis

Santos surprises

Fernando Santos sprung two surprises with Diogo Costa and Otávio making their first competitive starts for Portugal. I said after the 2021 U21 European Championship that Costa was the obvious candidate to be Rui Patrício’s successor, but I didn’t expect it to come this soon.

Otávio’s work rate, mobility, tenacity and aggression were all on display in front of his home crowd. Santos’ tactics were reminiscent of Euro 2016, and it therefore made sense to start the Brazilian born midfielder who justified the decision with a goal, assist and solid performance across the pitch.

João Moutinho

João Moutinho deserves a lot of credit for adapting to a deeper midfield role. Many might have thought the 35-year-old was over the hill, but he continues to compete in the Premier League and proved he belongs in Santos’ squad.

You don’t earn 143 caps without being a top-quality player, and it's a joy to continue watching Moutinho play the beautiful game. His experience, professionalism and passing ability will all be invaluable as Portugal start planning for North Macedonia.

Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo struggled to make an impact on the game, one of his most subdued performances for the Seleção. It seemed unnecessary for him to play the full 90 minutes with speedsters Gonçalo Guedes and Rafael Leão waiting to come off the bench.

CR7 was still influential in the build up to Portugal’s second goal and went close to scoring in the closing stages, but it seemed like a late substitution would have benefitted the team as Turkey’s desperation provided Portugal with counter attacking opportunities.

Defence gets through, just...

Pepe’s forced withdrawl and Rúben Dias’ injury meant Santos predictably started José Fonte next to Danilo in central defence. Danilo had some nervy moments early on before settling into the game, but the second half showed why he and Fonte are backup options in the heart of defence.

Fonte was largely at fault for Turkey’s goal, the start of a nervy spell for the 38-year-old that culminated in him giving away a penalty. Danilo went close to giving away a penalty of his own as Yilmaz came alive, and there is no doubt that Portugal’s defence will be far stronger if Pepe can recover for the final.

By Matthew Marshall

 

Comments (35)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I have had enough of Ronaldo. Don't get me wrong. He can still be lethal but his battery has reduced quite a lot. His sharpness declines rapidly after the first 30 mins. If he could swallow his pride and come off the bench during the WC then we...

I have had enough of Ronaldo. Don't get me wrong. He can still be lethal but his battery has reduced quite a lot. His sharpness declines rapidly after the first 30 mins. If he could swallow his pride and come off the bench during the WC then we might have punchers chance. I think Leao should start as the lone striker with Bruno, Silva and Jota behind him.

Santos conservative approach especially after going up denies this team to realise it's full potential. He is a liability.

Game against North Macedonia is a trap game. It could go to penalties if Santos keeps coaching like this. He could easily fall into the plan of North Macedonia which is into take the game as deep as possible.

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21_savage
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Glad the get it done and move one step closer to getting into the WC. I thought Otavio was brilliant abd for me the man of the match. I feel like FS got his tactics right for the most part tonight but a few of the players lacked energy.

At...

Glad the get it done and move one step closer to getting into the WC. I thought Otavio was brilliant abd for me the man of the match. I feel like FS got his tactics right for the most part tonight but a few of the players lacked energy.

At some point the discussion has to be made about bring CR7 in as a sub. He was absolutely horrible today. Very lazy, touches were horrendous, looked out of place, no urgency, and failed to hold the ball up. We are lucky to face North Macedonia and hopefully we can see it through but if CR7 plays like this again we have to consider a bench seat for him.

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dave c
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Well...victory...some good performances, some obvious personnel issues, late substitutions but correct tactics.

I had no issue with otavio starting, I thought however, if you had him, you could have replaced him with another attacking forward...

Well...victory...some good performances, some obvious personnel issues, late substitutions but correct tactics.

I had no issue with otavio starting, I thought however, if you had him, you could have replaced him with another attacking forward based on tactics being deployed. However, inwas shocked at the lack of technical/athletic balance in midfield, 35 year old moutinho has little pace to cover ground, Guerrero is slow, Bruno isn't the quickest, fonte is molasses. Fine, it worked for the first half but athletic players with pace and physicality was screaming in our faces at about 60 mins just before the goal!!! This was my single biggest issue, oodles of talent on bench that could run circles around players not being used because he will take no chances. There is no way that Felix should come on before leao on current form, nunes should have been in mid for his energy and pace.

Santos won BUT he is wasting the talent he has and still based on players, we should be doing better.

Luckily despite dalot being okay today, cancel is back for next game, hopefully Pepe is back for Danilo to move into holding role, nunes and Bernardo as the 8's, nuno mnedes for guerrilla and a front three with leao playing on left, stay out wide, take players on and cross the ball for ronaldo, move jota to bench , not popular but there is no way ronaldon sits with Santos, and either keep otavio on the right as a creative attacking mid or bring in Felix or guedes on the right, guedes far better form in Lalita than Felix currently.

We really miss renato and dias!

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Joe
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Ronaldo was horrible today.

dave c
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Agreed, should have come off earlier. Really, hurt us with the pressing, that allow Turkey back into the game.

Paulo
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Portugal games always give you a full range of emotions. Good first half. Nerve wracking 2nd half. Defense was sloppy and gave Turkey unnecessary changes throughout the game. Glad that Pepe and Cancelo will be back. And did Italy just...

Portugal games always give you a full range of emotions. Good first half. Nerve wracking 2nd half. Defense was sloppy and gave Turkey unnecessary changes throughout the game. Glad that Pepe and Cancelo will be back. And did Italy just give us a gift? We better beat North Macedonia playing at home. Oh my God, I think I am starting to see the WC light.

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John Senos
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Forcaaa well done ? my lord well done ,but danilo omg please please ? never again ?...

fonte solid game he is 48 yrs old...

octavio good game

sorry not to see guedes get a start or a look in ,vitinha also...

was very shocked with diego costo...

Forcaaa well done ? my lord well done ,but danilo omg please please ? never again ?...

fonte solid game he is 48 yrs old...

octavio good game

sorry not to see guedes get a start or a look in ,vitinha also...

was very shocked with diego costo but fair play he was good...

we were lucky not to concede but turkey were also lucly not too loose 10 .0

Ronaldo was ok but he need to play for the team hes 37 ffs...

after 2.0 tactics whent bk to pick ronaldo out ...


forcaaa macadonia wont be easy

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Tomas Sheehan
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Fonte solid?

You mean getting burned by his Lille teammate(he should know Yilmaz better than anyone), lack of pace and giving up a needless penalty?

Fonte shouldn't be on this team again, once Nation's League start, bring on the young guns....

Fonte solid?

You mean getting burned by his Lille teammate(he should know Yilmaz better than anyone), lack of pace and giving up a needless penalty?

Fonte shouldn't be on this team again, once Nation's League start, bring on the young guns. Better that they learn, even if we lose games than be dependent on Fonte for the WC(if we make it).

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Paulo
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Who are these ‘young guns’ you are talking about? Besides Dias and Inacio there is a big drop off in quality. (And BOTH are/were injured!)

John
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Inacio, isn't injured, he was just left off the final game squad.

Portugoal did a nice piece on the potential "young guns" at CB, take a look at it.

I also did a comment a while back on Portugoal, if you would like I can go look for it, I name...

Inacio, isn't injured, he was just left off the final game squad.

Portugoal did a nice piece on the potential "young guns" at CB, take a look at it.

I also did a comment a while back on Portugoal, if you would like I can go look for it, I name names.

This gist of the comment is we have CB's that are better suited for a 3 at the back system. For example, Inacio and Djalo, both called up, would fit better into a 3 at the back system. It also would let are fullbacks be wingbacks, which I think they are better suited for.

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Paulo
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Regarding Fonte, one of the things in having experienced, but possibly slower CB's is you get better decision making and timing to make up for pace.

Fonte failed on the pace, and the decision making. Lost Yilmaz for the first goal. And could...

Regarding Fonte, one of the things in having experienced, but possibly slower CB's is you get better decision making and timing to make up for pace.

Fonte failed on the pace, and the decision making. Lost Yilmaz for the first goal. And could have cost us the tying goal by giving up a rookie error.

If we go 2-2, all bets are off. Look what happened when Serbia tied us. Turkey had figured out how to attack our back-line with a tired and non-pressing team.

If Inacio or Djalo had made both those mistake, fans would be complaining we need experience and they would have demanded the inexperienced(at NT level) never be seen from again. The good thing about players making mistakes, is if they learn not to do it again, they become better players. So sometimes it is a necessary risk to take for the long term. We have no long term with Fonte, and he should have known better.

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Paulo
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The shot off the post for the first goal was from B. Silva not Raphaël Guerreiro.

Aside from that, some good tactics considering the players not available this time around (especially in defence), but looked very shaky towards the middle of the...

The shot off the post for the first goal was from B. Silva not Raphaël Guerreiro.

Aside from that, some good tactics considering the players not available this time around (especially in defence), but looked very shaky towards the middle of the second half. I dream of the day we can have CR7 as a power sub to give 100% for the last 20-30mins. Scares me, imagine oppositions. Just doesn't have the legs to carry the team for the full game and the rest of the team is great on paper. Otávio is definitely man of the match.

Next opposition need to be given the credit they deserve and not be underestimated.

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Tiago
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Cheers for that I only just saw the replay.

Matthew Marshall
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Mark my words and the administrator of this site can even pin this and hold me to this. We didn’t win because of santos and we’ll beat Macedonia because we’re simply better than them just like I think about if we play Italy too. None of our...

Mark my words and the administrator of this site can even pin this and hold me to this. We didn’t win because of santos and we’ll beat Macedonia because we’re simply better than them just like I think about if we play Italy too. None of our success will be because of santos in the World Cup. We’ll go as far as our talent goes and that’s it. Where this Santos regime will fail is when he faces a team that we’re “equal to” on paper, that’s when we’ll resort back to being a nervous pragmatic team. Am I happy we went through? Of course I am but this result has nothing to do with santos so don’t get it twisted. We won and we’ll beat Macedonia because we’re better 11 vs 11 simple as that.

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Justin/rochester
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@Justin/rochester

I tend to agree with your analysis here. The players carried despite Fernando's incompetence. I'll give him my credit for playing Bernardo centrally but that's about it. Respectfully hope today you saw the way in which...

@Justin/rochester

I tend to agree with your analysis here. The players carried despite Fernando's incompetence. I'll give him my credit for playing Bernardo centrally but that's about it. Respectfully hope today you saw the way in which Moutinho brings value to our team that the others can't.

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SupremoGino
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Why does Santos always wait so late in the game to make changes? He should have made some changes at the 60-minute mark and one of them should have been Leo for CR7. He continues to disturb the flow of the younger player since when they get near...

Why does Santos always wait so late in the game to make changes? He should have made some changes at the 60-minute mark and one of them should have been Leo for CR7. He continues to disturb the flow of the younger player since when they get near the 18-yard box they are always looking to cross to him. Ready for CR7 to retire and take Santos with him. We really got lucky with this game. If they would have made the penalty shot I can guarantee you Turkey would have won 3-2 using the momentum.

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ant-santos
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I am not ready to see CR7 off to retirement just yet, he can still be a great contributor to the national team but I agree he can no longer be counted on for 90 minutes every game. Today is another example, when up by 2 goals, we have to much...

I am not ready to see CR7 off to retirement just yet, he can still be a great contributor to the national team but I agree he can no longer be counted on for 90 minutes every game. Today is another example, when up by 2 goals, we have to much attacking talent on the bench. You could see the game shifting to Turkey, we needed to sit ronaldo and let those other young players to kill off the game. I felt the same way about serbia, when we had the lead late was no reason to keep CR7 on field.

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Miguel Pires
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Spot on with, "disturb the flow of the younger players". They start to pass it to him so he can get his goals and extend his record to 47 teams scored on.

Interestingly, Leao instead of passing to an open Ronaldo, waited for help in the middle...

Spot on with, "disturb the flow of the younger players". They start to pass it to him so he can get his goals and extend his record to 47 teams scored on.

Interestingly, Leao instead of passing to an open Ronaldo, waited for help in the middle and did a great pass to a streaking Nunes, who took a great shot. And finally gave us a comfort goal and killed the game.

If he had passed it Ronaldo, he would either have slipped or done 10 step overs while standing still and stiff.

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Paulo
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The positives?
Diogo Costa instead of Rui Patricio.
Otavio.
Moutinho in a 6 role.
Otavio ignored the offside-Ronaldo when crossing for Jota‘s goal.
Leao‘s energy in the dying minutes.
Ylmaz missing the penalty.

The negatives?
The whole rest:...

The positives?
Diogo Costa instead of Rui Patricio.
Otavio.
Moutinho in a 6 role.
Otavio ignored the offside-Ronaldo when crossing for Jota‘s goal.
Leao‘s energy in the dying minutes.
Ylmaz missing the penalty.

The negatives?
The whole rest: Danilo as CB. His passing (!). Ronaldo on the pitch after the first 30 mins, being slow, stealing the starting-11 place from somebody more agile (Leao?). The many poor passes all over the pitch. The lack of sharpness in the final third. Bringing on William instead of bringing in Nunes. Subbing too late.

Over all: Ylmaz not converting was key. If he does, Portugal is toast „à la Santos“ 100% sure.

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Rolf Gerber
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Credit has to be given to Diego Costa on the penalty. His timing and guess was perfect. Yilmaz had committed to that side, so in a split second he knew he had to power it, which led him to sky it.

By the way, if he just shoots, Costa had it...

Credit has to be given to Diego Costa on the penalty. His timing and guess was perfect. Yilmaz had committed to that side, so in a split second he knew he had to power it, which led him to sky it.

By the way, if he just shoots, Costa had it covered because he guessed right.

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Paulo
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Moutinho being on the field is not a positive.

Rodrigues Antonio
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