Latvia 0-3 Portugal

It was far from a vintage performance, but Portugal were too strong for Latvia in Riga this evening, winning 3-0 as they continue to chase down Switzerland in their quest for first place in Group B and automatic qualification for the Russia World Cup.

Two goals from captain Cristiano Ronaldo and another by André Silva continued their prolific partnership. Since being paired up front after Euro 2016, the duo have netted 17 goals between them in five World Cup qualifying matches.

Santos gave Gelson Martins a start on the right flank, with André Gomes joining William and Moutinho in midfield, while Bruno Alves came in for the injured Pepe. Manchester City’s new €50m man Bernardo Silva had to be content with a place on the bench.

The hosts surprised Portugal with a bright start, albeit without creating chances, but after Latvia’s burst of energy in the opening ten minutes, the Seleção began to hog possession. Nevertheless, the European champions laboured to fashion any clear chances, a series of crosses into the box proving easy pickings for the Latvian defence.

Inevitably, Portugal’s only moments of real danger came from the boot of Cristiano Ronaldo, two well struck shots from 25 yards bringing sharp saves out of Vanins.

Ronaldo breakthrough

It was third time lucky for the Real Madrid man as Portugal broke the deadlock shortly before half time. André Gomes chipped an inviting cross into the box where José Fonte rose well and thudded a header against the post, with Ronaldo diving to head in the rebound from point-blank range.

As in the first half, Latvia started well after coming out of the dressing room for the second 45 minutes, putting together a modicum of pressure. Patrício helped over a powerful free kick by Laizans, but Portugal soon resumed control.

Ronaldo continued his battle with Vanins forcing the goalkeeper to save low to his left, before William just failed to turn in a typically towering Bruno Alves header from a corner. Portugal’s nerves were settled in the 63rd minute as Ronaldo was again in the right place at the right time to head in a deflected cross by Ricardo Quaresma, on as a substitute for the ineffective Gelson Martins.

Silva strikes

It was soon 3-0 as André Silva showed tenacity to win the ball with a sliding tackle, knocking the ball back to William. A simple combination play saw the Sporting midfielder immediately provide a short pass to Ronaldo, who laid on a perfect assist for Silva to coolly slot into the net.

From that moment onwards you sensed Portugal were starting to think about their upcoming Confederations Cup participation, although there was still time for Ronaldo to twice come close to completing his hat-trick.

It was not the most memorable of games, but the Seleção remain on course for the 2018 World Cup and Santos adds to his incredible qualifying record that now reads 12 wins and 1 defeat in 13 matches.

 

Football, the most loved sport in the world, is followed by billions of fans, many of whom love to bet on these matches. Winning and losing is part of game and betting has something for all. Internet has the best betting offers for them. One just needs to go online and check them out.

by Tom Kundert

Latvia: Vanins, Jagodinskis, Kolesovs, Gorkšs, Maksimenko, Laizans, Kazacoks (Vardanjans, 73’), Kluškins (Indrans, 62’), Solovjovs, Šabala, Ikaunieks (Rakels, 68’)

Portugal: Rui Patrício, Cedric Soares (Nelson Semedo, 72’), Fonte, Bruno Alves, Guerreiro, William, (Quaresma, 55’), Moutinho, André Gomes, André Silva (Nani, 79’), Ronaldo

Goals:

[0-1] Ronaldo, 41’

[0-2] Ronaldo, 63’

[0-3] André Silva, 67’

 

Comments (21)

  1. Ash

Team was very lethargic. Once again Santos got the midfield wrong and had to be bailed out by Ronaldo. I don't understand his fascination with Gomes but dislike for Bernardo. In any other team Bernardo would be the first name on the squad sheet...

Team was very lethargic. Once again Santos got the midfield wrong and had to be bailed out by Ronaldo. I don't understand his fascination with Gomes but dislike for Bernardo. In any other team Bernardo would be the first name on the squad sheet after Ronaldo and Pepe. Bernardo MUST start especially now that we don't have João Mário.

Santos also needs to fix our Centerback issue before the World Cup or we'll go from being very optimistic about our chances, to it being a complete disaster.
Defense wins you championships as we all know. No way are Fonte and Pepe going to be able to play every game at the World Cup. Especially not with Pepe's ever increasing injury worries. Imagine being in the Quarter finals and one of them gets injured and has to be replaced by Alves. Ugh. I don't even want to think about it. Let's not have another Bento 2014 situation on our hands where the proper and adequate players aren't called up.

Read More
  Attachments
 
  1. Steve Australia    Ash

Hi Ash. "I don't understand his fascination with Gomes but dislike for Bernardo"

Let me explain this for you

Andre Gomes is a number 8 or even 6.
Andre Gomes is a link player between attack and defense
With Andre Gomes in the team there is...

Hi Ash. "I don't understand his fascination with Gomes but dislike for Bernardo"

Let me explain this for you

Andre Gomes is a number 8 or even 6.
Andre Gomes is a link player between attack and defense
With Andre Gomes in the team there is flexibility to change formations (traditional 4:3:3 or the hybrid 4:4:2).
Renato Sanches (with games and forms) plays more like Andres Gomes and could replace him at some stage

Bernardo Silva is a number 10 that can also plays wings
Bernardo Silva is not a defensive player - he's a creative one
In this formation I think Bernardo Silva will replace Joao Moutinho eventually

Read More
  Attachments
 
  1. Steve Australia

A lot of talk from people saying Bernardo Silva should be replacing Andre Gomes.

Personally, I don't agree, because a team without balance looses shape and cohesion. Here is my thoughts

Andre Gomes is a number 8 or even 6.
Andre Gomes is a...

A lot of talk from people saying Bernardo Silva should be replacing Andre Gomes.

Personally, I don't agree, because a team without balance looses shape and cohesion. Here is my thoughts

Andre Gomes is a number 8 or even 6.
Andre Gomes is a link player between attack and defense
With Andre Gomes in the team there is flexibility to change formations (traditional 4:3:3 or the hybrid 4:4:2).
Renato Sanches (with games and forms) plays more like Andres Gomes and could replace him at some stage

Bernardo Silva is a number 10 that can also plays wings
Bernardo Silva is not a defensive player - he's a creative one
In this formation I think Bernardo Silva will replace Joao Moutinho eventually

What do others think?

Steve

Read More
  Attachments
 
  1. jon/usa

My takeaways from the match:

1. While this was far from a vintage performance, the 3-0 scoreline was a fair reflection of the match as a whole. I just would have preferred to have seen us play with a little more intensity. we shouldn't take any...

My takeaways from the match:

1. While this was far from a vintage performance, the 3-0 scoreline was a fair reflection of the match as a whole. I just would have preferred to have seen us play with a little more intensity. we shouldn't take any opponent lightly - especially away from home, but for most of today's game they looked extremely lethargic.

2. Ronaldo was brilliant yet again in his second striker role. Andre Silva's presence up top gives Ronaldo the freedom to roam out wide and in between the lines, where he was a constant danger. Unfortunately, with Gelson having an absolute stinker on the right wing and Andre Gomes offering next to nothing in terms of creativity on the left, we were extremely dependent on our captain to both create and finish.

3. The four-man midfield of Moutinho, William, Gelson, and Andre Gomes was really disappointing. Sure, we dominated possession, but we were lackadaisical, predictable, and one-dimensional going forward. Gelson got himself into really promising positions but his final ball was always poor, Andre Gomes looks like a square peg in a round hole on the left, and Moutinho, while neat and tidy as always, continues to struggle to assert himself in a 4-4-2. Why not start Adrien alongside William, his Sporting teammate? They play together on a daily basis at club level in a 4-4-2 and they formed the heart of our midfield last summer. Moutinho is a great guy to come off the bench to add an extra body in midfield, but he simply isn't suited for Santos' preferred set-up.

Also, why on earth didn't Bernardo start. He is, by some distance, the second most talented player on the entire squad, and he has plenty of experience playing as a false winger in a 4-4-2 set-up at Monaco, but he's left on the bench? I have no doubt that we would have been far more incisive in possession had Bernardo been on the field.

At the end of the day, I still have faith in Fernando Santos. I simply fear that his overly conservative midfield selections are holding this team back. We have the potential to play far more attractive and incisive football without having to sacrifice defensive solidity, so it's really frustrating to see this team look so one-dimensional and out of ideas.

Read More
  Attachments
 
  1. SupremoGino

Was it that necessary for a DM e.g William Carvalho to be playing against Latvia? 95% of the time he's makes the super safe short pass which is good for nothing. Andre Gomes also looks lost out there. The team needs the energy of Sanches, like I...

Was it that necessary for a DM e.g William Carvalho to be playing against Latvia? 95% of the time he's makes the super safe short pass which is good for nothing. Andre Gomes also looks lost out there. The team needs the energy of Sanches, like I said before even if he's out of form just his sheer energy and high performance level is an asset that the Seleccao desperately needs. Didn't Santos see how stagnant we were? Why didn't Bernardo get a run? Gelson Martins needs more time to gel with teammates and work on his crossing. Surprised Nani or Quaresma didn't start this critical match. Anyway, I'll take a disjointed 3-0 win. Bruno Alves is past it btw. Let's not kid ourselves. Do not need to reopen that conversation. Andre Gomes gave the ball away off a Portugal corner and Bruno and Fonte were not in the picture as the Latvians countered.. neither was William. But William needs to play CB since that's about the only position he might excel. We just have too many slow players.. The CBs are slow. William is slow. Moutinho has already turned the page. That leaves Andre Gomes needing to cover loads of ground. Ronnie is not Liedson. So Andre Silva is more tasked as well. Love Quaresma and Nani but same problem. Not the speedy wingers of the past and like I said Gelson needs time. The full backs can't push up at will. They have to worry about these turtles and this is your result.

Read More
  Attachments
 
  1. Hélder

I personal believe they should play a 4-2-3-1 formation to maximize the teams output/performance, especially with the talent available to Fernando Santos.

  Attachments
 
  1. Nelly - canada

Positives -
CR7 and Andre Silva are really developing a great chemistry.

Our wingbacks played well as expected.

Bruno Alves looked strong today.

Negatives -

Midfield, where we have the most depth looked disjointed and without ideas. Andre...

Positives -
CR7 and Andre Silva are really developing a great chemistry.

Our wingbacks played well as expected.

Bruno Alves looked strong today.

Negatives -

Midfield, where we have the most depth looked disjointed and without ideas. Andre Gomes didn't offer a lot.
Gelson was awful today, I think he was trying too hard to impress and his shots were awful. 4-4-2 might not suit him as he's a full on winger

I think Adrien for gomes and Bernardo for Gelson should help balance the team and provide creativity.

I'm really looking forward to the confederations cup!

Read More
  Attachments
 
  1. George

Bernardo Silva was one of the best players in Europe this season. He was so good that a certain Pep Guardiola wasted no time in scooping him up and making him the player for Manchester City to build their future around. Why can't Fernando Santos...

Bernardo Silva was one of the best players in Europe this season. He was so good that a certain Pep Guardiola wasted no time in scooping him up and making him the player for Manchester City to build their future around. Why can't Fernando Santos see what Pep and pretty much everyone else sees?

I don't care if it's for Andre Gomes, Joao Moutinho, Gelson Martins... Bernardo must start. Period. He is our most creative player, and yes, he can contribute defensively as well - his statistics in Ligue 1 prove that (he's especially good at tackling, intercepting, and recovering the ball in the final third).

I agree with Ash - Santos got the whole midfield wrong. In fact, I'll go even further - he got the whole team wrong. Somebody please tell me why, after all this time, and all the success playing in a 4-4-2 Diamond has given us, did Santos decide to switch back to a 4-3-3? If there's one thing that swings me into a rage more than anything else, it's when people try to fix things that aren't broken. That's exactly what Santos did with his tactics today.

Playing in a 4-3-3 forces Ronaldo out wide for large portions of the game where he is less effective. He doesn't have the pace anymore to beat defenders on the flank one on one so why did Santos think it was a good idea for him to waste his energy in that way? Fortunately for us he still lead the charge and had the bulk of the chances, but in truth, it should've been so much easier than what we seen, and, we should've played so much better.

Joao Moutinho was God awful today - what a difference a week makes. Same goes for Gelson though I'll give him more of a pass because I'm sure nerves played a part in that. Andre Gomes and William weren't great but they weren't horrible either - just WAY TOO MUCH sideways and backwards passing from them. And our CBs? Don't even get me started on that situation... If Pepe has decided to morph into Fabio Coentrao and will be getting himself injured every couple of months - this team's got a major, major, problem. Confederations Cup/World Cup... Portugal won't be winning either with Bruno Alves on the pitch.

I've been losing my faith in Santos over the past couple of months and I don't want to feel this way. I'm hoping that he was simply saving Bernardo for the Confederations Cup instead of ignoring his worth yet again. Tom said it himself - you'd think that with Joao Mario's injury Bernardo would get more opportunities not less. Well, so far, he's yet to come off the bench. Let's see if this worrying trend continues.

I still believe our best team moving forward has Ronaldo, Andre Silva, Bernardo, and (today notwithstanding) Gelson on the pitch at the same time in a 4-4-2. If we stick to a Diamond (and I believe we should) I'd have Bernardo at the tip of the Diamond and Gelson further behind in midfield filling the same role that Luis Figo did for Real Madrid when he and Zinedine Zidane were playing together. We could also go with a straight 4-4-2 and play Bernardo and Gelson on the wings, with the former cutting inside like he did for Monaco all season (again, not fixing what isn't broken).

That's all I'll say for now. Never has a comprehensive 3-0 win left me as frustrated as this one today. I want to see this team moving forwards on the pitch - not backwards, and I want progressive tactics not regressive tactics. We need to play to our strengths, not create our own weaknesses which is what I feel Santos is doing at the moment. I hope he has a plan, and I hope he proves me wrong.

Read More
  Attachments
 
  1. Boston

João Mário is very underrated. It showed how important he is for our midfield to work.
When everyone is fit this is our best team

-----------Rui Patrício--------
Cédric--Pepe--Fonte--Guerreiro
-------------William------------
Bernardo----Adrién--...

João Mário is very underrated. It showed how important he is for our midfield to work.
When everyone is fit this is our best team

-----------Rui Patrício--------
Cédric--Pepe--Fonte--Guerreiro
-------------William------------
Bernardo----Adrién----J.Mário
-----A.Silva----------Ronaldo---

Maybe try Pizzi in that Mário position
I'm hoping by the time we face New Zealand we've secured all 6 points so we can give Ronaldo, Pepe, and maybe Fonte a rest.
Real Madrid are giving Ronaldo a full month off after the Confederations cup and will integrate him slowly. They want him to be coming into form towards the last few months like this season. That's excellent for Portugal's aspirations next summer. Let's just home for no major injuries and some new players stepping up to secure a spot on the squad

Read More
  Attachments
 
  1. Ricardo

Agree with everyone on Bernardo. He needs game time to gel with this group. I think Gelson was preferred in the match to stretch the defence; all other mids and fwds starters are players that play through the middle. A Gomes could've been dropped...

Agree with everyone on Bernardo. He needs game time to gel with this group. I think Gelson was preferred in the match to stretch the defence; all other mids and fwds starters are players that play through the middle. A Gomes could've been dropped for this game. He never seems to be used in the correct role, but he did create the opener, and he a safe player, which I think was Santos rational. Just enough in attack.

Read More
  Attachments
  Comment was last edited about 11 months ago by Tom Kundert Tom Kundert
  1. James

Same old complaints from Portuguese fans. I get the fun in deciding selections, but yes, we all know more than the Euro winning coach. There are obviously reasons for his selections, especially when it comes to Bernardo. Just remember it wasn't...

Same old complaints from Portuguese fans. I get the fun in deciding selections, but yes, we all know more than the Euro winning coach. There are obviously reasons for his selections, especially when it comes to Bernardo. Just remember it wasn't that long ago when Portugal would either draw or lose this type of game. Lastly, to think Portugal can play expansive football even against Latvia with those CBs on that narrow pitch is delusional.

Read More
  Attachments
 
There are no comments posted here yet
Load More

Leave your comments

Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location

      

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Is this squad stronger than the Euro 2016 squad? That's impossible to say. What I can say is that I'm as confident in this squad as I was for the Euro."

Fernando Santos
(Portugal coach after announcing the Seleção squad for World Cup 2018)

Partners