Portugal 2-1 Mexico (a.e.t.)

Portugal have clinched a third-place finish in the 2017 Confederations Cup after defeating Mexico 2-1 in extra-time, courtesy of an Adrien Silva winner from the penalty spot.

After the heartache against Chile from the 12-yard-mark this Wednesday, Fernando Santos’ men continued to find difficulties in converting penalties before an own goal gave the Gold Cup winners the lead in the second half.

Late heroics from Pepe would offer Portugal the chance of retribution, with Adrien’s composure from the spot completing the mission to propel the national team onto the podium, amidst an ill-tempered finish to the game that saw the referee brandish one red card to each side.

New-look line-up

As Nani led the Seleção out in the hunt for bronze, authorised absences for Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva and Raphaël Guerreiro meant there’d be first starts in the tournament handed to Gelson Martins, Pizzi, Danilo Pereira and Luis Neto, while Nélson Semedo was also recalled. It was the chance for this quintet to stake a claim for a place in the team ahead of next years World Cup. Before choosing a bookmaker to bet on who will lift the most coveted trophy in Russia next summer, the football predictions and tips at Bethut are well worth a read.

Mexico’s 4-1 defeat to Germany in the semi-finals served up a real inquest into the future of El Tri’s boss Juan Carlos Osorio, with the Colombian calling on the experience of Rafael Márquez, as well as greater firepower in Carlos Vela and Oribe Peralta, to attempt to provide a strong final outing in Russia.

The anticipated reaction didn’t quite manifest itself as the Mexicans had hoped in the early exchanges, with Gelson instead being the player with the bit between his teeth. The Sporting winger, with five minutes on the clock, was able to expose space down the right flank and create the game’s first opportunity with a calculated cut-back, only for the emerging Nani to volley the ball back in the same direction.

Javier Hernandez offered Portugal a small warning of what damage he could inflict after finding space inside the area to head towards Rui Patrício’s goal, but Fernando Santos men continued their early dominance and soon found a way to isolate Mexico’s defence, as a late challenge from Márquez on André Silva left the European champions claiming a penalty, subsequently granted by the Video Assisted Referee.

More penalty woe

André Silva himself claimed full responsibility from the 12-yard-mark in the 16th minute, but a strong save from Guillermo Ochoa prolonged Portugal’s thorny relationship with penalties after Wednesday’s shootout whitewash against Chile.

All worries would’ve been placed on the back-burner had Nani found the target with his head just a minute later, but a lagging cross saw the Valencia man struggle to keep his effort down from a sound position inside the box.

Having survived Portugal’s early stronghold, Mexico began to put the pieces together and create some problems of their own for the opposition, as a tricky free-kick from FC Porto’s Miguel Layún almost initiated a goal-mouth scramble before being collected by Rui Patrício.

The Sporting shot-stopper proved to be just as decisive in the 30th minute, as Hernandez was allowed the room to turn and fire a wicked strike on his left foot, with Patrício palming the effort over in acrobatic fashion.

Portugal’s reply came via Gelson, again motoring down the right to provide Pizzi with a cross at the far-post, but Layún was quick to deny his Primeira Liga rival from finding the target in the 33rd minute. Mexico’s Peralta then game close to deceiving his own goalkeeper with a headed clearance at his near-post, finding the side-netting instead, as the two nations drifted into half-time with a goalless draw.

A new half was introduced with the same characters rising to prominence, as the Seleção almost broke the deadlock through Gelson’s right-footed volley courtesy of André Silva’s creativity in the final third, but this time Portugal would be made to pay for their wastefulness.

Mexico take lead

Working the channels, Hernandez utilised the time given to him to pick out Peralta at the near-post, but the Club América striker’s movement and non-contact with the ball would go on to deceive both Patrício and Neto, with the latter deflecting the ball into his own goal in the 54th minute.

Gelson continued to look like Portugal’s best bet in registering on the scoreboard, as the Sporting man hit the by-line before finding Pizzi unmarked and witnessing the playmaker drag his effort wide rather uncharacteristically in the 59th minute. Danger continued to orbit Ochoa’s goal, with Gelson meeting João Moutinho’s header across goal just two minutes later to nod an effort in the direction of the Malaga keeper who pulled off a tremendous save.

From the resulting corner, Nani was gifted the perfect opportunity to equalise from within the six-yard-box, but failure to make solid contact with the ball saw today’s skipper glance a header wide towards the far-post. With the game stretching, El Tri almost made full use of the gaps beginning to open up in Portugal’s defence, as Carlos Vela’s half-volley from inside the box offered a scare to Santos’ backline before crashing into the side-netting in the 64th minute.

Pepe to the rescue

Ricardo Quaresma came into the scene in the 70th minute, at the expense of Nani, in hope of turning Portugal’s fortunes around, with the tricky winger alleviating the furious nail-biting when delivering a delightful cross in the 91st minute that was stabbed in by Pepe on the volley, securing extra-time football in the third-place play-off.

The fresh legs of PSV Eindhoven’s latest acquisition, Hirving Lozano, promised to be a handful going into the latter stages of the tournament for the two nations, with the young Mexican becoming the latest to be denied by an inspired Rui Patrício after emerging all alone at the far-post from a corner.

Fatigue on both sides began to induce scrappiness into the game, but a neat attempt at a sombrero from Gelson would spring the game back to life when hitting Layún’s arm an earning a second penalty for Portugal. This time it was Adrien, a favoured taker for his club, that was trusted with bringing the penalty hoodoo to an end, as he sent Ochoa the wrong way to give the Seleção das Quinas a 2-1 advantage just before the break in extra-time.

Tempers boiled in the second period, with Nélson Semedo becoming the first to feel the force of the referee’s disciplinary powers when picking up a second yellow card for a high foot. His Benfica teammate, Raúl Jiménez, replicated the full back’s actions soon afterwards and was also red carded.

Herrera pulled yet another save out of Patrício with a sweetly-struck volley in the 117th minute before calls for a penalty on Héctor Moreno transcended into Mexican fury late on and led the game into a 2-1 victory for Portugal at full time, subsequently clinching third place prior to the Confederations Cup final later this evening.

by Patrick Ribeiro (twitter: @P_SRibeiro)

Portugal: Rui Patrício; Nélson Semedo, Pepe, Luis Neto, Eliseu; João Moutinho (Adrien Silva, 82’), Danilo Pereira (André Gomes, 82’), Pizzi (William Carvalho, 90’); Gelson Martins, André Silva, Nani (Ricardo Quaresma, 70’)

Mexico: Guillermo Ochoa; Néstor Araujo, Héctor Moreno, Rafael Márquez, Miguel Layún; Luis Reyes, Andrés Guardado (Jonathan dos Santos, 80’), Héctor Herrera; Javier Hernandez (Raúl Jiménez, 85’), Oribe Peralta (Hirving Lozano, 61’), Carlos Vela

Goals:

[0-1] Luis Neto (own goal), 54’

[1-1] Pepe, 90+1’

[2-1] Adrien Silva, 104’

 

Comments (32)

  1. João

Aside from the goal Rui Patrício had another fantastic game. I liked what I saw from Pizzi. I wish he had been given more game time instead of Gomes. Semedo is amazing for Benfica but I haven't been impressed with anything he's done for the...

Aside from the goal Rui Patrício had another fantastic game. I liked what I saw from Pizzi. I wish he had been given more game time instead of Gomes. Semedo is amazing for Benfica but I haven't been impressed with anything he's done for the national team. I want Ricardo Pereira to get a chance. This was probably Eliseu's best game but it should also be his last for the selecao. Worst player for me was Nani. Again didn't do anything right. At this point he's just taking up Bruma's spot and I hope Santos realizes that.

We need more youngsters called up that can offer something different.
This win helps us with seeding for the World Cup (assuming we get there)

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  1. Mage

I hope that Andre Silva turns out to be leader in big games. So far he looks like missing too much changes against decent opponents. Scoring for fun against Latvia, faroe islands etc. But thats all.

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  1. Ganesh Ram

Rui Patricio could probably end his carrier as one the greatest ever Portuguese footballer

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  1. Andy

I hope this tournament proved to Santos that Nani should never get a call up again.

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  1. Filipe

Decent showing by Pizzi and Gelson but they need to finish these opportunities in front of goal. Nani was a train wreck and is a bench player at best, two clear chances wasted.....Quaresma much better. Pepe a bull and a hero at the back

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  1. C. D. Rocha

Regarding Andy's commentary: I agree 100%. Nani's impact on the selecção is over and has been so for a couple of years now. Time to break in a new winger.

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  1. jon/usa

Had it not been for some really poor finishing, Portugal could have comfortably won this match by 3-4 goals. Mexico started their strongest possible 11, but our second-string side looked sharper in possession and more disciplined at the back.

Al...

Had it not been for some really poor finishing, Portugal could have comfortably won this match by 3-4 goals. Mexico started their strongest possible 11, but our second-string side looked sharper in possession and more disciplined at the back.

Also, while I understand all of the criticism that Nani is getting, it's important that we don't forget that he was actually one of Portugal's best players at the euros. He scored important goals against Iceland, Hungary, and Wales and he assisted Renato Sanches' goal against Poland. He also worked tirelessly without the ball throughout the entire tournament, so I definitely wouldn't say he's been useless in recent years. That being said, I do believe that Santos needs to start giving some of our younger wingers more opportunities in upcoming fixtures. Bruma and Daniel Podence in particular look well-poised to make the big step up to the senior national side within the next year or so.

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  1. Andy    jon/usa

What does Nani playing well at last years Euro's have anything to do with the present??? If you can't play anymore you shouldn't be taking young promising players (bruma) spot anymore.

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  1. SupremoGino

Tournament Takeaways

Rui Patricio - excellent goalkeeping, save the penalties but still undoubtedly our 1st choice.

Centerbacks - great goal from Pepe, and still solid as ever from the back. I thought Neto looked OK as well, the own goal is a...

Tournament Takeaways

Rui Patricio - excellent goalkeeping, save the penalties but still undoubtedly our 1st choice.

Centerbacks - great goal from Pepe, and still solid as ever from the back. I thought Neto looked OK as well, the own goal is a little unfortunate. Bruno Alves strong performance in the semi-final, shaky in the other matches. Fonte didn't impress much, form dipped since the Euros.

Full backs - Guerreiro and Cedric are our main guys. Eliseu played steadily and merited his inclusion as our 2nd choice left back. Coentrao will still get a shout if he desires to get his career back on track. Semedo and Cancelo to contest filling in as RB.

DMs - Both Danilo and William showed their worthy of being on the team.

Midfielders - Bernardo Silva is our best creative midfielder since Deco. Adrien Silva no complaints. Moutinho can no longer start games for Portugal. Andre Gomes full of potential, very little to show for it. Pizzi looked decent the last game, average today.

Wingers - Nani is a shadow of himself. Took his goal well against New Zealand, offered nothing else. In jeopardy of losing out to Bruma soon. Quaresma brought his usual flash and accurate deliveries although age now a nemesis and will condemn him to finish out career as a super-sub. Gelson gives us a lot of energy and I love when he tries to take on players 1 v 1 but did not convince me enough to assure himself the starting position.. 4-4-2 is probably the way to go at the moment.

Attackers - Andre Silva brilliant control to win the penalty, should have buried it. Keeps the ball well, wins a lot of free kicks, works tirelessly to pressure the opponents. Very strong work ethic. Cristiano Ronaldo losing pace, reads the game, gets himself in prominent scoring positions, Heads the ball with power and precision like nobody else can.. Still the best player in the world. No need for analysis. Both expected to start together for at least the next year.

All in all a successful Confederations Cup for Portugal and now we await the next World Cup Qualifying match. Hopefully by then everyone will be injury free and we'll be able to get a better glimpse of where the team is at.

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  1. Rolf Gerber

All in all more positive than negative to take away from the tournament. I will start with the negative - there are some negatives that have nothing to do with particular players. they have to do with Portugal's past before 2000: As in the Chile...

All in all more positive than negative to take away from the tournament. I will start with the negative - there are some negatives that have nothing to do with particular players. they have to do with Portugal's past before 2000: As in the Chile match, in today's game as well we have seen some final 15 minutes (of extra time) where Portugal totally lost control of everything: Organization, passing accuracy, self-control. As in the game against Chile, I felt thrown back to the times when Portugal already used to play with excellent players but when they used to be a fragile group of individually gifted football players which were unable to maintain cohesion during a game when it did not go as they wished to. These were the days when you could bet that Portugal would lose a game if the score was still even before the opponents start their final offenses or that they would concede an equalizer when leading with only one goal. Operating in panic mode, violence, red cards and the whole bunch of s..t . At the Euros last summer, team spirit and tactical discipline have been Portugal's weapons to win the tournament and at the Confed Cup we could clearly see, that this has to remain the recipe for success. Let's be honest: Against Chile, Portugal would have to be ruled out by a penalty within extra time and again today the equalizer (or at least the chance to make one) was stolen our opponent Mexico - and who of us would have bet on Portugal if the video referee didn't sleep? Two times fatal decisions in favor of Portugal - this at least has changed, in the past it used to be the opponents taking advantage of doubtful refereeing. Fernando Santos has to keep an eye on this - discipline. Second thing that worries me is the inability to score. The team played very well in the 1st half and more or less decent in the 2nd. But they don't score (what an observation... I know). this is also a going back to the old days, when Portugal used to lay the most beautiful football in the world but not able to convert it into something countable. I consider it a huge reason to worry, that André Silva missed to convert his penalty kick. I mean, everybody knows how penalties have to be shot today: With at least 5-10 steps running towards the ball and then shooting full throttle high into a corner. This dizzy dancing that André Silva was doing today (as Nani against Chile) is just embarrassing. It would have been good for him to score, even if it's from the penalty spot, but he missed. Pepe had to be the one to bring us back in the game - an old (but still gold) CB... At least Adrien Silva showed how a Penalty has to be shot.
Players:
Rui Patricio: Superb, the best Portuguese Player today. He shows excellent reflexes and improved his ability to master the box. And he said goodbye to his legendary blackouts (somebody remember Israel?).
Nelson Semedo: Clearly not yet ready to stand in the first row for right back. He my be a reasonable backup but what I have seen dso far in the seleção, Cancelo is in front of him in the hacking order. Semedo still makes a lot of positioning mistakes and loses oftly in 1:1. Undisputed No 1 as right back is Cédric.
Pepe: This guy is a beast. His footsteps are unbelievably huge. What a work ethic, what a presence. My favourite CB of all times.
Neto: Was ok. the own goal was so to say inevitable. The Mexican attacker irritated him and Rui Patricio when Chicharito crossed. He's not to blame and made a decent match.
Eliseu: Definitely better than most of Portugal supporters say. He made a solid tournament. It seems that he has really been chosen for bullying by "fans". Guerreiro is No.1 and if Fabio Coentrão manages to get back with Sporting, we are compfortable on left back position.
Danilo: He is in a difficult position with William to be Santos' first choice. AS already stated by others here I also think it would be worth to try him as CB. He is the only one who could replace Pepe, all other younger CBs are lightweights.
Pizzi: Good first half. Really. He should be given more playing time. But I don't understand, why his game declined so massively in the 2nd half. Contrary to the Euros, where Portugal obviously was the team with the best stamina, at the Confed Cup they declined after the break. Looks strange to me.
Nani: His days are over. Here as well I am in accordance with many here, that younger wingers have to be called up. So far, I rated Bruma as full of talent but lacking brain. My hopes are, that they will teach him work ethics at RB Leipzig. Not sure if he is aware what a perfect chance it is there for him. I see only two ways for Bruma: Becoming the successor of Nani or becoming the successor of Balotelli...
Moutinho: As the whole team, played pretty well in the first half but when all men on board, he cannot be a starter.
Gelson: Excelled quite good today. I am confident that this kid will make it and establish himself as versatile winger/midfielder
André Silva: Everything ok, but you have to score - that's your job. With his move to Milan, it can also go both ways for him: Becoming a Pedro Pauleta or a Nelson Olivera.
Quaresma: Did not convince me, despite his cross for Pepe's goal. He continued his performance from the Chile game: Uninspired, tired, unmotivated. I know, many here might see this differently. But I did not like Quaresma's face in these two games. Negative body language, lot's of complaining, bad crosses, losing the ball in 1:1. I don't know whether he's just tired after a long season or is he really mentally done with the seleção? I did not see this inspired, fighting tricky devil I loved at the Euros.
In general, it was an ok performance today. As long as the playrs are fresh enough, they play accurate passes and it was astonishing to see what kind of good combination football they partly produced in the first half. That0s what I like to see. But then in the second half, the passing accuracy decreased significantly, less control over the game and suddenly Mexico got back into the game and scored.
I hope we can qualify for the WC 2018. When this is achieved, everything will be possible for Portugal. In the best case, Bernardo Silva becomes an undoubted starter at City, Bruma mixes up the Bundesliga, Renato finds another club where he get's playing time and confidence back, João Mario get's back his starting place at Inter, André Silva scores 20 goals for Milan and Fernando Santos manages to form again a group of men, going for glory. A mix of iron fist and butterfly, of heroism and poetry. then, Portugal will be a very strong candidate for the title. But we all know, the path to glory is very narrow.

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  1. Val    Rolf Gerber

Rolf,

Excellent post and I agree on all points. Especially what is going to happen with Bruma and Andre Silva. These are huge transfers in stature and leagues. I am not crapping on Portugal or Turkey but in terms of exposure, going to Italy and...

Rolf,

Excellent post and I agree on all points. Especially what is going to happen with Bruma and Andre Silva. These are huge transfers in stature and leagues. I am not crapping on Portugal or Turkey but in terms of exposure, going to Italy and Germany and to clubs like AC Milan is HUGE. Really pulling for the kids.

Renato HAS to get regular playing time anywhere else. His time at Bayern looks like some punishment for succeeding with Portugal. It is very frustrating.

Joao Mario at Inter is a toss up. New coach might give him more opportunities or might not. Italy is a notoriously unforgiving place for foreign players...

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  1. joe

With better finishing...we easily won that game....i was much happier with our possession, passing, and confidence to move the ball.

I have wrote before about a number of these things but we definitely need some CBs to step up this season to...

With better finishing...we easily won that game....i was much happier with our possession, passing, and confidence to move the ball.

I have wrote before about a number of these things but we definitely need some CBs to step up this season to offer selection options. Semedo, oliveira, Ie, andre pinto can all be possibilities.

As others have wrote...there are numerous talents that are on the cusp and with solid seasons in their respectove clubs, they could replace aging heroes. Bruma is obvious choice..he also has something no winger has for portugal as of now....goalscoring ability...including for his club last season...with champions league this year....and a fine season....you cant select nani over him..its madness.
Sanches, guedes, ricardo pereira and cancelo are all possible selection candidates depending on their form

And that brings me to this point that covers all above...club form level, level of league competition (including if in CL) and position to the balance and option to the seleccao have to be first in choose of picking players. Like i mentioned..if brumas 15 goals and 8 assists for leipzig in germany and nani has 3 goals and os not a regular starter how can you justify nani selection especially as wide attacking player....same as sanches...he wasnt chosen cuz of his form depsite being a euro hero....but if he has a fantastic year...you cant choose moutinho and leave a player with better form and more options for the team....that goes for all positions. Like Germany and spain and othe top teams..they dont rest on past success...they keep moving with bleeding new players in great form.

Lastly, our strength with the this new generation is the midfield both holding amd attacking....tactically...whoever is the coach needs to use that.

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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)

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