Portugal 7-0 Estonia
The Seleção ended their EURO 2016 preparations in style, thrashing Estonia 7-0 on a balmy evening in Lisbon tonight.
Ricardo Quaresma was the star of the show, scoring twice and directly contributing to three other goals, and on the evidence of Portugal’s three recent friendly games the mercurial Besiktas winger has surely earned a starting spot in France this summer.
Captain Cristiano Ronaldo only played the first half, but it was enough to notch two goals, with Danilo and Éder also finding the net, in addition to an own goal from the hapless Estonians.
Fernando Santos started with Cédric and Raphael Guerreiro (impressive showing) occupying the full-back positions, and Fonte and Pepe in the centre of defence. The midfield comprised Danilo, Moutinho, André Gomes and João Mário, with Quaresma and Ronaldo deployed as a mobile front two.
In front of over 52,000 fans at the Estádio da Luz Portugal started off playing some zippy football, albeit without troubling Estonia goalkeeper Pavel Londak.
Over half an hour passed before the first chance was created, Ronaldo racing clear but seeing his shot kept out by Londak, who also blocked the follow-up effort from Guerreiro. The match was waiting for a spark, although a festive atmosphere was evident in the stands, with several spontaneous renditions of the official Seleção anthem for the tournament, Pedro Abrunhosa’s “Tudo o que eu te dou”.
It needed a piece of Quaresma magic to break the deadlock, the winger producing a fabulous trademark trivela cross directly onto Ronaldo’s head, the captain making no mistake with a thumping finish into the top corner.
Quaresma then went one better with a sensational goal, curling in a shot over the goalkeeper from a tight angle. He scored a similar goal against Norway in the friendly ten days ago and nearly did the exact same thing against England.
Portugal were now flying and it was no surprise when they breached Estonia’s defence again just before the break. João Mário robbed the ball in midfield and combined beautifully with Ronaldo, before setting up the Real Madrid man for his second and Portugal’s third.
Ronaldo and Cédric were replaced for the second half by Nani and Vieirinha respectively. Estonia briefly threatened as Patrício’s punch was intercepted on the edge of the box and the ball ricocheted to Puri, who hooked his shot against the bar.
Different flank, same magic
But Portugal were soon pushing forward again, Quaresma especially causing havoc any time he got hold of the ball, in spite of switching to the right flank for the second forty-five minutes.
It was a Quaresma corner that originated Portugal’s fourth, his cross met by the unmarked Danilo who made no mistake. Quaresma then swung in another cross that caused panic, goalkeeper Londak punching against Mets with the ball rolling into the net to make it 5-0.
Quaresma, undoubtedly having his best ever game in a Portugal shirt, scored his second with a firm low finish across Londak from the edge of the box, after being set up by a typically forceful run from substitute Renato Sanches.
Another substitute Éder then got in the act, finishing from close range after being neatly set up by André Gomes.
All in all it could not have been a more satisfying night for Fernando Santos. The Portugal squad travel to France tomorrow and play their Euro 2016 opener against Iceland in St. Etienne on Tuesday 14 June.
Should they reproduce this form Seleção fans are in for something special over the coming month.
By Tom Kundert at the Estádio da Luz
Portugal: Patrício, Cédric, Pepe, Fonte, Raphael Guerreiro, Danilo, Moutinho, João Mário, André Gomes, Ronaldo, Quaresma (subsitutes used: Vieirinha, Nani, Renato Sanches, Ricardo Carvalho, Éder, William Carvalho)
[1-0] Ronaldo, 36’
[2-0] Quaresma, 39’
[3-0] Ronaldo, 45’
[4-0] Danilo, 55’
[5-0] Karol Mets (o.g.), 61’
[6-0] Quaresma, 77’
[7-0] Éder, 80’