Portugal vs Ghana - Player Ratings

It was a tale of two halves at Stadium 974 as Portugal just barely scraped past Ghana with all three points intact.

It was Portugal in all of her melodramatic glory, much to the chagrin of legions of heartattack-prone supporters!

In what many supporters might describe as a thoroughly unconvincing team display, Seleção correspondent Nathan picks through the wreckage highlighting last night's key performers as well as those with the most to improve in the next match against Uruguay on Monday.


Diogo Costa - 4.5

Truthfully had very little to do in the first half, and did naught else but pick the ball out of his own net in the second half. Clearly flat-footed on the second goal as the cross was permitted to float in casually, a rather serious error in a tournament of this magnitude. But it got worse for him as he was extraordinarily lucky not to be punished by Iñaki Williams deep into stoppage time. When this is all over, Diogo needs to buy Rúben Dias and Danilo a beer for coming to his rescue. Will be interesting to see if Santos keeps faith in him.

João Cancelo - 5

It was all very average for João last night going forward and several times he was too easily bypassed on Portugal's right flank. Won some tackles and aerial challenges, but his passing was the worst among the back four and he seemed genuinely uncomfortable all evening. A shadow of his Manchester City self. Will Diogo Dalot get an opportunity to take over for him against Uruguay?

Danilo - 5

Even before he made mistakes contributing to both of Ghana's goals, Danilo looked as if the moment was just too much for him. He was very heavily involved, however, with the most touches of any Portugal player, and he also proved himself one of the few to regularly win aerial challenges against the physically robust Ghanaians. Ultimately, the only reason I have not rated him lower is because of his role in clearing the danger after Diogo Costa's blunder at the end of the match. Will be very surprised if Pepe does not take over from here.

Rúben Dias - 6

Kudos to Rúben for being the first on-scene to stop Iñaki Williams from scoring the equalizer, but when I say he was Portugal's best defender on the night I am only saying he did not commit any wholesale blunders. He was the most competent passer on the backline, but he does not exude that sense of control over a match like Pepe. Lots of room for improvement.

Raphael Guerreiro - 5.5

Beaten a few times by Ghana's speedy forwards and could have been a bit more alert to help his struggling centrebacks on occasion. It honestly looked as if he was not completely ready for this match and that is understandable because Nuno Mendes would surely have played if fit. Guerreiro passed the ball fairly well and even recorded a couple key passes including a peach of a cross for Ronaldo in the first half which should have resulted in a goal. 



Portugal 3-2 Ghana match report



Rúben Neves - 5.5

Portugal supporters have pleaded for Rúben to take over from the likes of William Carvalho and it was more of the same from him. Nothing special in defence, and nothing special in attack, and he just does not have the pace to break down counterattacks. He was probably Portugal's most anonymous player on the night - he made no big mistakes, but he made no overwhelming contributions either. 

Bruno Fernandes - 8, PortuGOAL.net Man of the Match

I have been very critical of Bruno but the last few matches he seems to have turned a corner. He recorded 94% passing - incredible by his standards - two assists, and what should have been a third when he split the defence open for Ronaldo in the first half. He never stopped running and was the only player who tried to warn Diogo Costa that Inaki Williams was behind him. In the midst of so much chaos, this is a performance which will hopefully inspire him to even greater achievement in the next few weeks.

Bernardo Silva - 6.5

Unsurprisingly Portugal's best passer on the night, but his lack of pace and strength showed against Ghana. He was Portugal's most relied-upon midfield outlet with 76 touches, and he made no glaring errors. Still, for a player of his quality it was a fairly muted performance.

Otávio - 6

The Porto man specialized in his utility role, making challenges and linking play. On this night it is a compliment to say he made no egregious mistakes, but he was fairly untidy with the ball and was the first player substituted by Fernando Santos. May also have picked up a knock.

João Félix - 7

He finally did what we really needed him to do: score a big goal when the rest of the team seemed out of ideas. Much of the criticism against him in this match seems to draw upon our past experiences with him. He did float in and out, but he does not have to be perfect for 90 minutes. Could he have passed better? Yes. Could he have influenced proceedings more? Also yes (only 44 touches). But keep in mind Portugal really need him to assert himself as a genuine threat and score clutch goals. He did that last night, finally. I look for him to have a big tournament if he continues in this vein of form. 

Cristiano Ronaldo - 6

As with other players, it was a complicated night for Portugal's leading figure. Should have scored at least once in the first half, saw a soft foul chalk off what would have been a really nice goal then got Portugal into the match when he kept his nerve and blasted a penalty beyond the Ghanaian keeper. Aside from all of that, he had the fewest touches of any starting player, passed poorly (79%) and was dispossessed multiple times. Near the end of the match he burst onto a pass out of midfield and showed he can still gallop when needed. Ronaldo was there for us last night, as ever, but he needs to play better or he should be substituted much earlier. 



Portugal 3-2 Ghana match reaction




William Carvalho - 6.5

William was William. He won challenges, recorded 93% passing and was genuinely competent. For as much criticism as he gets for being so lethargic, he is a better DM for Portugal than Neves, plain and simple. Hard to envision him not replacing Neves if Santos continues to ignore Pahlinha.

Rafael Leão - 7.5

Fans were screaming for him to come on and when he finally did it was glorious. Ghana were extremely narrow and compact and Leão just ate that up using his outstanding pace and finishing Bruno's layoff with a wonderful far-post effort to put the game out of reach. There remain questions about his decision-making and how to fit him into Portugal's tactical set-up, but he has that special-something other Portugal players do not have. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, he is hugely important to Portugal's tournament ambitions.

João Pahlinha - not rated

João Mário - not rated

Gonçalo Ramos - not rated

by Nathan Motz