Goals galore as Portugal beat Sweden 5-2 in Guimarães

Portugal beat Sweden 5-2 in an international friendly at Estádio Dom Afonso Henriques in Guimarães.

The Seleção opened the scoring in the 24th minute when Bernardo Silva hit the post, the ball falling perfectly for Rafael Leão who found the top corner.

Roberto Martínez’s side doubled their lead in the 33rd minute when Matheus Nunes went past some feeble defence and found the bottom corner. Portugal made it 3-0 before the break, Palhinha releasing Nélson Semedo who put the ball on a plate for Bruno Fernandes.

There was no let-up in the second half, Fernandes stealing the ball off Isak Hien and giving it to Bruma who had a simple task in front of an empty net.

Viktor Gyökeres converted Emil Holm’s cross but there was no comeback as Portugal made it 5-1 in the 61st minute. António Silva sent Nélson Semedo clear, Gonçalo Ramos getting into prime position to convert his pinpoint cross.

Jota Silva came off the bench to make his international debut, the forward unable to convert a glorious chance in front of his home crowd as Robin Olsen saved from close range.

Gustaf Nilsson headed home a consolation goal in the final minute, the Seleção immediately turning their attention to another friendly in Slovenia on Tuesday.

Portugal get on top

Sweden fashioned the first chance in Guimarães when Alexander Isak got to the byline, his cut-back deflected off Rúben Dias and rolling narrowly past the far post.

Portugal worked their way into the game with Nuno Mendes and Rafael Leão looking dangerous, Leão getting past Emil Holm who did well to recover and block the wingers’ shot.

The Seleção went close in the 15th minute when Bruno Fernandes released Leão who cut inside and decided not to shoot, instead passing to Gonçalo Ramos who teed up Matheus Nunes, his fierce strike saved by Robin Olsen.

Seleção build 3-0 half time lead

Portugal persisted and deservedly took the lead in the 24th minute. Ramos sent Bernardo Silva clear, his shot hitting the post and falling straight to Leão who sent the ball into the top corner.

Dejan Kulusevski won a free kick on the edge of the area, the Tottenham star stepping up and firing straight at Rui Patrício.

Roberto Martínez’s side got back on top and doubled their advantage in the 33rd minute. Bernardo Silva played a simple pass to Nunes who went past Jens Cajuste, Victor Lindelöf impersonating a statue which allowed the midfielder to measure his shot into the bottom corner.

Portugal kept pressing and made it 3-0 on the stroke of half-time. Palhinha instigated the attack with a long pass to Nélson Semedo, the right-back holding the ball up before presenting Fernandes with a simple tap-in.

Martínez made three changes at the break with Toti Gomes, António Silva, and Bruma replacing Pepe, Mendes and Leão.

Sweden sustained a spell of pressure as Viktor Gyökeres headed wide, Jens Cajuste tested Patrício and Kulusevski fired wide.

Three goals in five minutes

The visitors were made to pay as Portgual made it 4-0 in the 57th minute. The move started with Palhinha’s interception, Fernandes stealing the ball off Isak Hien and rolling the ball into the path of Bruma who stroked it into an empty net.

Sweden scored less than 60 seconds later, Alexander Isak finding Emil Holm who had raced into the box, his cross picking out Gyökeres who couldn’t miss from a yard out.

Portugal didn’t let the setback affect them and regained their four goal advantage three minutes later. A fantastic pass from António Silva sent Nélson Semedo clear, Sweden’s defence failing to track Ramos who was left wide open to convert Semedo’s cross.

Portugal cruise to the finish line

Nunes and Ramos immediately made way for João Neves and Jota Silva as the chances dried up, Semedo then making way for João Mário in the 82nd minute.

It didn’t take long for Mário to get involved. The right-back got forward and sent a perfect cross to Jota Silva who looked certain to score, Olsen coming up big to deny the local hero.

Gustaf Nilsson headed Kulusevski’s cross into the top corner in the final minute of the game, a solid runout for the Seleção before their trip to Slovenia where Cristiano Ronaldo, João Félix, Rúben Neves, Otávio, Vitinha, Danilo, João Cancelo and Diogo Dalot will be available.


Roberto Martínez’s first friendly provided the manager with plenty of valuable information as he fine-tunes his squad before the European Championship.

There were some nervy moments in defence that need to be ironed out, particularly playing the ball out from the back and the centre-backs improving their communication with the goalkeeper.

Conceding two goals is not ideal, but allowing them in the second half of a friendly makes it easier to digest. Portugal largely did well to nullify Sweden’s dangerous attack which included Anthony Elanga, Dejan Kulusevski, Alexander Isak and Viktor Gyökeres.

Pepe had appeared just once under Martínez when he played all 90 minutes in the 1-0 win in Iceland. If the 41-year-old can avoid injury and stay fit, he could be an important player in Germany.

Matheus Nunes was last seen in a Seleção shirt at the 2022 World Cup. He tested Robin Olsen early on, got on the score sheet and gives Martínez another option in the middle of the pitch.

What Bruno Fernandes does at Manchester United means absolutely nothing when it comes to playing for Portugal. He was influential once again and is completely indispensable.

Fernandes became the 12th Portuguese player to score 20 international goals, joining a select list which includes Ronaldo, Pauleta, Eusébio, Luís Figo, Nuno Gomes, Hélder Postiga and Rui Costa. He needs five more to overtake Nani, João Pinto, Simão and Nené.

Nuno Mendes returns

Nuno Mendes hadn’t appeared since Portugal’s 6-0 win in Luxembourg a year ago. He made a number of important interceptions, got forward and linked up well with Rafael Leão down the left wing.

I asked Martínez about Mendes after the match, the manager clearly happy to have the left-back return to the squad: "He’s a unique footballer, to have that pace, that quality, that close control, usually players who have real pace haven’t got that close control. Nuno Mendes’ special attribute is that he’s got both.

"He’s got a sense of control, technical ability and he’s got that pace to burn that allows you to stretch teams and penetrate. Today we tried something different, that is to play inside rather than the outside, I liked the combination between Rafael Leão and Nuno, he showed a real intelligence as well.

"Nuno shows the technical ability, the pace and the tactical application so it’s very positive. Now we have to be cautious over the next two months. He’s had a long injury and he’s a player who is building his fitness, and his muscles back to what is needed for 90 minutes of football."

By Matthew Marshall at Estádio Dom Afonso Henriques


Portugal (4-2-3-1): Rui Patrício; Nélson Semedo (João Mário, 82’), Pepe (António Silva, 46’), Rúben Dias, Nuno Mendes (Toti Gomes, 46’); Bruno Fernandes, João Palhinha, Matheus Nunes (João Neves, 62’); Bernardo Silva, Gonçalo Ramos (Jota Silva, 62’), Rafael Leão (Bruma, 46’)

Sweden (4-2-3-1): Robin Olsen; Emil Holm (Nordfeldt, 60’), Isak Hien, Victor Lindelöf, Gabriel Augustinsson; Mattias Svanberg (Gustafson, 70’), Jens Cajuste (Olsson, 75’); Dejan Kulusevski, Alexander Isak, Anthony Elanga (Forsberg, 60’); Viktor Gyökeres (Nilsson, 70’).


[1-0] Rafael Leão, 24’

[2-0] Matheus Nunes, 33’

[3-0] Bruno Fernandes, 45’

[4-0] Bruma, 57’

[4-1] Viktor Gyökeres, 58’

[5-1] Gonçalo Ramos, 62’

[5-2] Gustaf Nilsson, 90’