It was not a World Cup preparatory exercise that Fernando Santos or the emigrant Portuguese fans in Switzerland were hoping for as the Seleção put in two sub-par performances against Egypt and the Netherlands.

It can be argued the poor displays were not necessarily a bad thing, with Santos himself, while accepting responsibility for the heavy defeat against the Oranje, saying: “there are always positives to take from games, even if it’s just a question of helping me make the final selection.”

Who furthered their chances of getting into Portugal’s World Cup squad and who didn’t? PortuGOAL runs the rule over how each individual performed and assesses the chances of each one of them being in the final 23-man list who will represent the Seleção in Russia.

 

Beto: 

Had little to do in Portugal’s opening friendly versus the Egyptians. Yet, the Goztepe man performed well when called upon making a handful of admirable saves, and there was little he could do about Salah’s wonder-strike. Although he’s Portugal's third-choice keeper, he’s yet to put in a worrisome display for the Seleção - prompting me to assume his place in Russia is secure.

Rating: 6/10

 

Anthony Lopes: 

Despite conceding three goals versus the Dutch, Lopes - like Beto against Egypt - had little to do. It would be harsh to penalise Lyon's number one for any of the goals as there was little he could do. However, conceding three goals never paints a pretty picture for any goalkeeper. Portugal's number two, like Beto, is yet to have a bad game for Portugal, meaning his spot is undoubtedly a certainty.

Rating: 5.5/10

 

Patrício:

Sporting's number one failed to register a single minute over the course of the two friendlies, but he’s one of Portugal’s players whose starting berth is a certainty. No rating.

 

Cédric Soares:

Cédric's form for Southampton has been turbulent this season. Despite usually being one of the Seleção's most reliable performers, it appears as though his club form has affected his all-round game. Against the Egyptians, his attacking support was ineffective. However, as often is the case with Cédric, he was rarely troubled defensively. Regardless of his performance, I believe his seat on the plane to Russia is a certainty. 

Rating: 5/10

 

João Cancelo:

There’s no doubting that these friendlies were an audition for Cancelo to stake his claim as Portugal’s second right-back for the World Cup. Cancelo failed to grasp this opportunity. Against the Dutch, his passing was lacklustre, his defensive positioning was off, and to make matters worse - he was sent off. Given the competition for a spot at right-back with Ricardo Pereira and Nélson Semedo also in the running, I think Cancelo's chances of making it to Russia are very slim indeed. 

Rating: 4/10

 

José Fonte:

Fonte only featured in Portugal’s torrid encounter with the Dutch and failed to impress, spurring further alarm bells surrounding Portugal’s scarcity of options at centre-back. Fonte’s lack of playing time against quality opposition was clear for all to bare witness to. His match sharpness was clearly lacking and he rarely won any fifty-fifty balls. Despite this, barring injury, I think Fonte's place to Russia is a certainty - perhaps highlighting how desperate the Seleção are in this position. 

Rating: 5/10

 

Rolando:

The Marseille man featured the most over the two friendly encounters of any of Portugal’s centre-backs. Yet, he was arguably the most disappointing of all of them - putting in two lacklustre performances which have surely re-opened the door for Benfica’s Rúben Dias. 

Rating: 5/10

 

Bruno Alves:

Despite many saying otherwise, Bruno Alves, has always been a consistent performer for Portugal. However, his performance versus the Egyptians illustrated that his ageing limbs have finally got the better of him. Nevertheless, Santos has always said that age is not a factor when he’s assembling the squad, and I still expect to see him in the squad this summer. 

Rating: 5/10

 

Luís Neto:

The Fenerbahce man, like most of Portugal’s centre-backs, has struggled for game time this season. However, of the four centre-backs to feature in this week’s friendlies Neto was arguably the most assured and composed of them all. However, he was only called up due to Rúben Dias’ injury, and with Pepe set to return from injury in the coming weeks, it’s highly unlikely that Neto will be called up next time round. 

Rating: 5/10

 

Raphaël Guerreiro:

Many were perplexed by Guerreiro’s call-up given that he’s only played 160 minutes since the New Year for his club. However, he dispelled any sense of doubt surrounding his fitness against Egypt, reminding Seleção fans how valuable he is to them. He was sharp, creative and galloped down Portugal’s left-hand side as if he’d been doing so week-in-week-out all season. Indeed, should he remain fit, he is undoubtedly one of Portugal’s most important squad members and will most certainly have a place in the squad for the World Cup. 

Rating: 7/10

 

Mário Rui:

Napoli’s left-back only featured against the Dutch and was arguably the most promising of all of Portugal’s players in that match. He was composed in possession, supported attacks well and displayed that he’s a threat in front of goal, too. He may be third choice for Portugal right now, but with Coentrão and Guerreiro both alarmingly injury prone, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him in the squad amidst the fitness concerns surrounding Coentrão and Guerreiro. 

Rating: 6.5/10

 


Portugal 2-1 Egypt: Ronaldo's stoppage time double snatches victory


 

Rúben Neves:

Wolves’ maestro only featured versus the Egyptians, and despite a handful of nervy blips, he illustrated how talented he is. His ability to pick a pass, whether a 60-yard cross-field ball or a five-yard pass, is a true spectacle. With William Carvalho and Danilo expected to return from injury and reclaim their spots in the Seleção squad, Neves is unlikely to make it to Russia. However, his performance confirmed that Portugal are in good hands at centre-midfield for the next decade. 

Rating: 6.5/10

 

João Moutinho:

Moutinho has been Portugal’s most consistent midfielder over the last decade and his efficient, solid performances this weekend reaffirmed how valuable he is to the Seleção. He only featured in the second-half against the Dutch, and without him it was clear that the Portugal midfield lacked structure and cohesion. His place is all but confirmed this summer. 

Rating: 6.5/10

 

Adrien Silva: 

Sporting’s former captain has had a torrid time since his botched move to Leicester, and his performance against Holland perhaps epitomised his fortunes of late. With him and André Gomes occupying Portugal’s central midfield, the Seleção lacked any form of cohesion ro understanding, prompting the Dutch to penetrate these areas with ease. Adrien was one of Portugal’s key players throughout their European triumph two years ago, but does that warrant him a place in the squad despite others performing admirably all season? Although he doesn’t deserve to be there on the basis of form, I still think he’ll be there. His ability to stifle creativity in the opposition’s midfield is something none of Portugal’s other midfielders possess, and could be a particularly effective weapon against the likes of Spain. 

Rating: 5/10

 

Bruno Fernandes:

The performances of Sporting’s playmaker over the two friendlies differed greatly. Against Egypt, his cameo was impressive, as his energy and constant drive to get forward spurred life into an otherwise dead Portugal side. Against the Dutch, however, he was a lonely figure accompanying Ronaldo up top and found it increasingly difficult to put his stamp on the game and dictate it as he so often does for Sporting. He’s undoubtedly one of Portugal’s standout performances this season and deserves a place in the squad. But given the stern competition in midfield, it’s unclear as to whether he did enough to convince Santos. 

Rating: 6/10

 

Manuel Fernandes:

Like his namesake - Bruno - Manuel Fernandes has been one of Portugal’s standout performers this season. However, his performance against Holland did his chances of a call-up no favours. He was by no means the worst performer for Portugal, yet he failed to shine when given a golden opportunity. When it comes to the squad announcement in May, it appears that only one of the Fernandes is likely to make it, making it difficult to predict which of them will make the cut.

Rating: 5.5/10

 

André Gomes:

André Gomes had a torrid time over Portugal’s two outings this past week. Positionally he appeared to be lost and on the ball he lacked composure and confidence. In spite of his below-par performances for Portugal, Fernando Santos appears to be a big fan of the Barcelona man. Having said that, with the stern competition for a place in Portugal’s midfield, it would be unjust for Gomes to receive a call-up ahead of the likes of Bruno and Manuel Fernandes. 

Rating: 5/10

 

João Mário:

The West Ham loanee’s performances over the two friendlies epitomised his overall form and confidence of late. He lacked creativity, assertiveness and was a shadow of his former self. However, João Mário has featured heavily for Santos during his tenure as Portugal coach, prompting me to assume that his spot is a certainty despite his poor form. 

Rating: 4.5/10

 


Portugal 0-3 Netherlands: disorganised Portugal well beaten by the Oranje


 

André Silva:

The AC Milan forward registered decent minutes over the two outings, but he failed to produce encouraging performances in either friendly. The only positive aspect to his game was his insistent pressing, which at times caused panic in the opposition’s back-line. Besides this, he created little, and failed to produce any threat in and around the box. Nevertheless, Silva is Portugal’s sole true forward and boasts a phenomenal record for the Seleção, meaning his chances of being included are very high indeed. 

Rating: 5/10

 

Cristiano Ronaldo: 

As so often is the case with Ronaldo, he proved to be Portugal’s saviour once again with two sublime headers in stoppage time to turn around a one-nil deficit. Against the Dutch, however, he struggled to muster any shooting or scoring opportunities, and even failed to register a single shot during his 68-minute spell on the pitch. Ronaldo’s importance to this team is unquestionable, and his form during the World Cup is key to Portugal’s success. 

Rating: 7/10 

 

Gonçalo Guedes:

Surprisingly, Los Che’s electric winger failed to impress in his two cameo appearances this week. He was substituted on at a time when both games lacked cohesion, formation or structure, which undoubtedly makes it difficult to make a mark on the game. That said, his performance for Portugal against Saudi Arabia in November along with his club form should have his name on the list already.

Rating: 5/10

 

Quaresma:

Portugal’s mercurial winger once again proved he is one of the finest impact substitutes the world over, with two sumptuous assists for his friend and fellow compatriot, Ronaldo. However, when given the opportunity to start, Quaresma rarely replicates such form. This was clearly evident against the Dutch, where he struggled to create, and his ageing limbs meant he had difficulties beating his marker. Boasting a player like Quaresma in your ranks is a weapon not many national teams possess and his place in Russia is a certainty. 

Rating: 6.5/10

 

Gelson Martins:

Despite only appearing off the bench over the two friendlies, Gelson was arguably the brightest of all of Portugal’s players. Sporting’s electric winger terrorised Egypt’s and Holland’s defences with his direct, powerful running. Given he was only a substitute in both games meant that his good work saw no reward, but it was encouraging to see him play with such confidence despite having struggled previously for Portugal. Should his sublime form for Sporting continue, I’ve no doubt that his name is already on the 23-man-squad - in spite of stern competition from Rony Lopes and Bruma. 

Rating: 6.5/10

 

Bernardo Silva:

Manchester City’s majestic playmaker failed to emulate the form he’s shown for his club of late. He only featured against Egypt, and failed to create an awful lot. Bernardo usually relies on support from the right-back, and Cédric’s lack of attacking threat versus the Egyptians perhaps lessened his influence. Regardless of this, it was a poor performance by his extremely high standards. Bar Cristiano, Bernardo Silva is Portugal’s most creative and important player and his form is essential to Portugal’s successes at the World Cup. 

Rating: 5.5/10 

 

Below I have listed all options for the 23-man-squad this summer in three categories. The “certainties” category features those whose places aren’t in question. The “probable” category features those who are almost certain to gain a spot but have a few question marks surrounding their inclusion. Lastly, the “possible” category features those on the periphery of the squad who have performed admirably all season and may well receive surprise call-ups in the event of an injury or a run of poor form. 

 

Certainties

Rui Patrício

Anthony Lopes

Pepe

Raphaël Guerreiro

Cédric Soares

William Carvalho

Danilo Pereira

João Moutinho

Bernardo Silva

Ricardo Quaresma 

André Silva

Cristiano Ronaldo

 

Probable

Beto

Ricardo Pereira

José Fonte

Bruno Alves

Rúben Dias

Fábio Coentrão 

Adrien Silva

Bruno Fernandes

João Mário

Gonçalo Guedes

Gelson Martins

 

Possible

José Sa 

Bruno Varela

Nélson Semedo

João Cancelo 

Rolando

Mário Rui

Pedro Mendes

Manuel Fernandes

André Gomes

Bruma

Rony Lopes 

Luís Nani 

 

By Marino Peixoto

 

Comments (25)

  1. Justin/Rochester

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I hope none of you guys actually think we have a chance of winning this World Cup. After watching Brazil,Germany,Spain and Belgium...we have no way to out score them. The only way on earth that we can beat...

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I hope none of you guys actually think we have a chance of winning this World Cup. After watching Brazil,Germany,Spain and Belgium...we have no way to out score them. The only way on earth that we can beat them is to hope for a euro 2016 miracle again. We simply don't have enough going forward and our defense can't stop these teams I mentioned. I'm assuming that most of you are clear minded enough to see this as well. I watched Brazil today and Spain and they're much more impactful than we are. Honestly watching them compared to us is like watching a top team in any European league play against a mid-table club. It's sad but it's the truth, I understand that Portugal plays up to their competition but we can't beat these teams. Euro 2016 was our shining glory but it's not going to happen at a World Cup. I understand that I'm being pessimistic but I'm also a realist. A quarterfinal appearance is the most I expect out of this team. I won't even mention Belgium,England or France who are superior than us. We just can't hang with these teams, we can try and draw against them and play defensively but let's be honest...what defense do we really have?

Read More
  Attachments
 
  1. Neville    Justin/Rochester

The team that plays the best game on a given day wins, with a little bit of luck,

We should not get jittery looking at the games of Brazil, Belgium or England as the friendlies are a preparatory games where no players play to its full...

The team that plays the best game on a given day wins, with a little bit of luck,

We should not get jittery looking at the games of Brazil, Belgium or England as the friendlies are a preparatory games where no players play to its full potential to avoid risk of injury. Possibly the best is yet to come from the players.

The write up is a good piece of players evaluation, but what is the benchmark to players evaluation is in question?

We will all get behind the team and the manager and support it to win the WC 2018.

Read More
  Attachments
 
  1. Claudio

Watching the Spain vs Argentina match our midfield needs to be perfect to get any result vs the Spaniards.
William and Bernardo are a given. Let’s hope Adrien is back to his best by that point which leaves LM open. Coentrao and Guerreiro...

Watching the Spain vs Argentina match our midfield needs to be perfect to get any result vs the Spaniards.
William and Bernardo are a given. Let’s hope Adrien is back to his best by that point which leaves LM open. Coentrao and Guerreiro overlapping will cause any team problems. Guerreiro is defensive enough and a good passer. He plays this position in Germany and is great at it.

----------------------------Rui Patrício------------------------------
Cédric Soares---------Pepe---------Rúben Dias---------Fábio Coentrão
Bernardo Silva----William Carvalho----Adrién Silva----Raphaël Guerreiro
--------------André Silva-----------------Cristiano Ronaldo----------

Read More
  Attachments
 
  1. joe

I never understand the point in having all the ratings between 4.5 and 7. There's next to no information when you grade pretty much everyone as average and it feels like a waste of time reading the article only find out everyone was average. Why...

I never understand the point in having all the ratings between 4.5 and 7. There's next to no information when you grade pretty much everyone as average and it feels like a waste of time reading the article only find out everyone was average. Why would you not use a full scale? If Joao Mario was awful give him a 1. If Raphael Guerreiro was great give him a 9. Then you make a much clearer point.

Read More
  Attachments
 
  1. marino    joe

If everybody was graded as average, then that means they were pretty much average. There's no harm in doing that. All major sports outlets usually grade in such ways. It doesn't solely feature their ratings, either. It states why they received...

If everybody was graded as average, then that means they were pretty much average. There's no harm in doing that. All major sports outlets usually grade in such ways. It doesn't solely feature their ratings, either. It states why they received that rating below.

Read More
  Attachments
 
  1. Andre/UK

@Justin/Rochester, I agree with Neville in his comments to you. Reading your post, I think you're getting very carried away about friendly results. Above all about Portugal's performances in friendlies, when we traditionally never give our all in...

@Justin/Rochester, I agree with Neville in his comments to you. Reading your post, I think you're getting very carried away about friendly results. Above all about Portugal's performances in friendlies, when we traditionally never give our all in non-competitive matches. As Neville states, friendlies are for preparation, experimentation, and are not at all fully indicative of what would really happen in a tournament. Can you honestly see Argentina losing 6-1 to Spain at the actual World Cup? Or indeed Portugal losing 3-0 to the Dutch at the WC?

Now of course we have some issues to solve, that was clear in these friendlies. But which other teams don't? I saw the Spain Argentina match and Argentina's defending was shambolic to say the least, they made Spain look a lot stronger than they really are with that awful defending. But Argentina will surely be a lot better than that once the real thing starts. Belgium, England and France "superior to us" you say? The same Belgium who comfortably lost to Wales at the Euros, who then comfortably lost to us a few days later? The same France who lost the final to us (without our captain and best player) in their own packed stadium? As for England, they are always the same, cruise through the qualification but then when the tournament actually starts? Well the results speak for themseves. Don't forget also that in both these friendlies we were missing some real key players: the first choice keeper Patricio, our best CB and leader of the defence Pepe, and both DMs William and Danilo.

Clearly we will not be going into this tournament as one of the favorites, and that's ok. I prefer it that way, Portugal always prefer to be underdogs. Santos has a lot of work to do ahead, to choose the best possible squad, and to get the players unified and with the same fighting spirit as we saw two years ago. But if he's able to do that, then I firmly believe there isn't a team at the tournament that an inspired Selecao can't beat. Friendlies don't count for anything, only competitive matches do. Remember our last friendlies before Euro 2012? Awful results, lost at home to Turkey and drew at home to Macedonia, just days before the tournament started. But at the actual tournament, we came within a penalty shoot out of reaching the final. I think with any team, and particularly with the Selecao, we must never judge too much on friendly results. Let's see what happens when the real action starts this summer!!!

Read More
  Attachments
 
  1. Justin/Rochester

@Andre
Yeah I understand that you should never put much stock in friendlies. With your line of thinking though, you have to admit that all of these teams don't take friendlies serious then. So I still see the play of these teams as superior to...

@Andre
Yeah I understand that you should never put much stock in friendlies. With your line of thinking though, you have to admit that all of these teams don't take friendlies serious then. So I still see the play of these teams as superior to ours at this point. It's not so much of the results either, I don't care if Spain or Brazil win 10-0. It's their style and the team cohesion and individual skill that I'm noticing that these teams have.

On current form, Brazil, France, Belgium, Spain, Germany and potentially England look better than we do. Yeah obviously if we play our best game we can draw against these teams but I just don't see us beating these teams today. The build up play, close control and intricate passing up the middle of the field that I saw from these teams I mentioned yesterday was breathtaking. I don't see how we're going to completely stop them is all I'm saying. On the other hand, I don't see how we're going to outscore them unless if Ronaldo saves the day for us. The past two friendlies for Portugal just doesn't look good. We'll see...

Read More
  Attachments
 
  1. Joao

Justin, equating Belgium and the joke that is England against those other teams is quite frankly insulting. You’re basing our entire national team on the past 2 friendlies and ignoring everything else over the past 2 years. You’re also forgetting...

Justin, equating Belgium and the joke that is England against those other teams is quite frankly insulting. You’re basing our entire national team on the past 2 friendlies and ignoring everything else over the past 2 years. You’re also forgetting that the game against Holland was a disjointed mess with players playing out of position. Only Ronaldo and maybe Adrien are starters from that team. If we fix our CB problem and get the tactics right, there is no team in the world we can’t beat.

Read More
  Attachments
 
  1. Val

( REPEATEDLY SMASHES THE PANIC BUTTON )

Panic button breaks

( BUYS NEW PANIC BUTTON AND REPEATEDLY SMASHES IT SOME MORE )

  Attachments
 
  1. Justin/Rochester

I completely understand the points that a few of you are bringing up. I'm not trying to argue against your statements. I just don't think we're at the level of these teams I mentioned. Perhaps you could omit England out but I do think they're a...

I completely understand the points that a few of you are bringing up. I'm not trying to argue against your statements. I just don't think we're at the level of these teams I mentioned. Perhaps you could omit England out but I do think they're a good team. I choose not to live in the past two years or ten years or whatever. Two years before Portugal won the euros, they didn't get out of the group stage at the WC. Who's to say England and Belgium aren't going to be great this summer...you know what I mean? When I watch Brazil and France play and I'm sure you guys see it too, they're just exceptional going forward all over the field. For example possibly our brightest talent going forwards is probably Gelson Martins. Brazil and France have like 3 Gelsons on their bench. There's actually talk about if Mbappe will start for France or if Willian should start for Brazil. Seriously guys....Mbappe and Willian would be our best players by far. Same for Belgium, Hazard, Debruyne, Mertens, Lukaku would all be automatic starters for Portugal. I mean clearly you guys have to see what I'm talking about, right?

Read More
  Attachments
 
  1. Chris    Justin/Rochester

Dude-bro, Mbappe is 9th best scorer in France. Number 9. In a league that is not as good as the Portuguese one. That's right, I said it. France is PSG, that's it. It's actually sad to see Marseille, Monaco and Lyon sink, but they have.

Back...

Dude-bro, Mbappe is 9th best scorer in France. Number 9. In a league that is not as good as the Portuguese one. That's right, I said it. France is PSG, that's it. It's actually sad to see Marseille, Monaco and Lyon sink, but they have.

Back to Mbappe. 9th. For context, Rony Lopes is 14th. And he's a winger. Mbappe has 13 goals and Lopes has 10. So the counter argument is Mbappe may not start for France, but Ronny isn't even called up to Portugal! See how these subjective arguments work? Willian not starting for Brazil is down to politics. The guy has been one of Chelsea's best 2 players for 3-4 seasons now.

For Belgium, Hazard has been awful, Mertens is decent, but no world-beater, and De Bruyne is great, but surpassed in the 2nd half of the season by Bernardo Silva. Simply put, your evaluation of Portugal vs the competition has some truth to it, but is exaggerated.

But that's cool, everyone is entitled to their opinion. We could end up not qualifying past the group stage, but we could also make a deep run. Can we win it all? Maybe. I don't know. There is no guarantee, that is the beauty of sport. Until then, we all get to play arm chair manager.

Read More
  Attachments
 
  1. Joao

Brazil, Germany, Spain, and France are the clear favorites. They’re more balanced in their options but they all have their weaknesses too. You’re acting like we’re some scrubs who shouldn’t even be in the World Cup. We have the best player in...

Brazil, Germany, Spain, and France are the clear favorites. They’re more balanced in their options but they all have their weaknesses too. You’re acting like we’re some scrubs who shouldn’t even be in the World Cup. We have the best player in the world. We also have discussion of which rightback to take because we have so many good ones. Then we have Gelson and Bruno Fernandes who have had fantastic seasons. You know what else? The break out star of la Liga Gonçalo Guedes isn’t even a starter. Bruma and Rony Lopes won’t even be in Russia because we have a wealth of wingers. For a country of 11 million we’re not doing so bad. Like I said fix the Defensive problem and get the right tactics and we have a chance. Argentina are constantly labeled tournament favorites and they have way worse problems than us.

Read More
  Attachments
 
  1. Neville

Justin,
You have stated that we are not good as against Brazil, Germany England....

When you make such statement you need to have a solution or a strategy to overcome these problem.

My question to you is what would be your strategy to make a...

Justin,
You have stated that we are not good as against Brazil, Germany England....

When you make such statement you need to have a solution or a strategy to overcome these problem.

My question to you is what would be your strategy to make a winning team and win the WC 2018 as a Coach?

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

"Portugal will play to win every match, one by one. That’s the winning mentality of the team, of Mister Fernando Santos and of our captain Cristiano."

Rony Lopes
(Monaco and Portugal forward on Portugal's World Cup prospects)

Partners