Portugal 3-0 Algeria

The European Champions conjured up a stellar display in Lisbon this evening in their last pre-World Cup friendly before they depart for Russia on Saturday. A brace from Gonçalo Guedes and a first international goal for the majestic Bruno Fernandes saw Portugal easily overcome a deflated Algerian side.

Cristiano Ronaldo played in his first pre-World Cup friendly since winning his third consecutive Champions League title and produced a stellar display. Perhaps more importantly, Portugal's attacking prowess matched their defensive cohesiveness - something which has been lacking of late. 

The Seleção dominated possession in the early exchanges on a rainy Lisbon night but initially struggled to create clear-cut opportunities. Cristiano Ronaldo had the ball in the net nine minutes in, but his effort was correctly ruled offside by the linesman.

However, seventeen minutes in, a piercing, lofted ball from William Carvalho found Bernardo Silva, who cushioned his header down with the deftest of touches which was met by Gonçalo Guedes who finished expertly.

Ronaldo turns provider

Portugal proceeded to bamboozle the Algerian defence with the interchanging amongst the midfielders and forwards. And, thirty-two minutes in, the European Champions’ dominance was rewarded once more. Portugal worked the ball out to the left-hand side finding Ronaldo, who drove down the left before thumping in an exquisite first-time cross. The delivery was inch-perfect and Bruno Fernandes connected well with his header, duly tucking home his first Portugal goal.

The Seleção went into half-time two goals to the good while thwarting any sense of danger from the visitors. As the second-half resumed, Portugal remained on the front foot and continued to be a constant threat. Fifty-three minutes in, another chance went begging for Ronaldo, as he raced down the left-hand side of the six-yard box and prodded an effort goalwards. Salhi, Algeria’s goalkeeper, again came out on top, although Guedes was just inches away from tucking in the rebound.

Minutes later, the ball made its way to Portugal’s deadly left-hand side again and saw Raphaël Guerreiro whip in a teasing ball which was met by Gonçalo Guedes’ thumping, Ronaldo-like header for the third goal. 

After a flurry of substitutions, the game lost its high-tempo nature and Portugal's dominance faded ever so slightly. However, Portugal had the ball in the net once more on 83 minutes. Bruno Fernandes whipped in a delightful cross to the unmarked João Mário who finished with the utmost ease. Yet, upon review by the VAR officials, Craig Pawson ruled the goal out for handball by Guedes in the build-up.

Guedes and Bruno Fernandes impress

The Seleção faithful had been praying for an out-and-out striker for years, and their prayers were answered when André Silva came onto the scene. However, after Guedes’ display tonight, it’s arduous to say whether or not Portugal truly need one given the fluid, cohesive manner in which their forwards played tonight.

Bruno Fernandes had barely featured in any of Portugal’s previously friendlies, meaning tonight’s fixture was particularly important for him. And, despite the pressure, he performed magnificently well. He was involved in almost all of Portugal’s best chances, made several darting runs into the Algerian box and made four key passes - the most of any player on the pitch this evening.

This was a very encouraging display from Portugal, and the performances of the aforementioned goal-scorers will certainly give Fernando Santos a thing or two to ponder in regards to Portugal’s starting eleven versus the Spaniards in eight days.

By Marino Peixoto

Portugal: Patrício, Cédric, Pepe, Alves (José Fonte 57'), Guerreiro (Mário Rui 55'), William Carvalho (Adrien Silva 64'), João Moutinho (João Mário 75'), Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva (Ricardo Quaresma 64') Gonçalo Guedes, Cristiano Ronaldo (André Silva 74').

Algeria: Salhi, Ferhat, Mandi, Bensabaini, Benmoussa, Medjani (Boundjah 75'), Mahrez, Boukhanchouche (Benkhemassa 57'), Bentaleb, Brahimi, Slimani (Soudani 85').

Goals:

[1-0] Gonçalo Guedes, 17'

[2-0] Bruno Fernandes, 37'

[3-0] Gonçalo Guedes, 55'

Comments (10)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Need to start Goncalo Guedes over Andre Silva....better year and better talent...

Bruno Fernandes also had a fantastic season....reminds me of Rui Costa, deserves to start

Looking forward to the World Cup....have a feeling these 2 will have a...

Need to start Goncalo Guedes over Andre Silva....better year and better talent...

Bruno Fernandes also had a fantastic season....reminds me of Rui Costa, deserves to start

Looking forward to the World Cup....have a feeling these 2 will have a successful tournament to take pressure from Ronaldo...

Forca Portugal from Toronto!

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Instead of Joao Mario or Moutinho?

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Great team performance and you can see how they are coming together in shape and understanding as a unit versus just individual brilliance which there was also alot of tonight.

What was great about tonight was that it gave Santos food for...

Great team performance and you can see how they are coming together in shape and understanding as a unit versus just individual brilliance which there was also alot of tonight.

What was great about tonight was that it gave Santos food for thought in a few key positions that he may have tried the players he knows versus the ones who are performing better this year. That bodes well for the opening game and the tournament in general. He has a conundrum for that role alongside ronaldo and between j.mario and bruno fernandes. I think the rest is assured by the looks of it.

I expect vs Spain for him to go for a line up similiar to tonight with that extra midfielder in there or Spain will dominate possession. What was interesting is that guedes played alongside ronaldo but fernandes was almost interchanging between the 3...playing narrow in mid, coming up front off either striker if one moved out wide...still a no10 but coming in of the left....interesting idea and it works with ronaldo in the team and certainly pinpoints the Spanish mid...so this game might have been more for Spain than he is letting on. Why it works better than with J.Mario on the left is because b.fernandes will get in the box and more advanced areas more often than j.mario becuase thats just how he plays...j.mario is more of a runner with the ball and likes defences in front of him...lets see....i love the tacical versatility and qaulity we have now with this generation of 22-25 year olds which makes up the majority of the team today.

Points from today...

Guerreiro looks better and better evey game and if he stays fit...he is a huge asset.

B.fernandes provides a fantastic goal threat from midfield and creativity that no one else has on the team

J.moutinho has played himself into the starting lineup..im suprised not because of his quality but i thought Santos might prefer more grit... but and i say but...we will miss the drive of renato sanches from midfield against strong opponents as moutinho is not a box to box mid anymore...which is why i would love to see more of j.mario as an 8 like he did in his youth and bruno playing more cuz we need that presence in the box.

I still think guedes is a better winger but he did fantastic today...its great to have that option along with andre silva and using a no10 beside ronaldo...3 ways to set up.

Fonte and cedric will start againsy Spain...i hope at least ricardo gets time against morocco or Iran.

442 vs Spain

Patricio
Cedric pepe fonte guerreiro
B.silva william moutinho fernandes/mario/guedes
Ronaldo guedes/mario/fernandes

2 positions that he has food for thought....andre.silva wont start against Spain...we would.lose midfield.battle.with 2 up.top.


Against other teams i think it will.change becuase of how they play.

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---------------------------Rui Patrício---------------------------
Cédric Soares-----Pepe-----------José Fonte-----Raphaël Guerreiro
-------------------------William Carvalho------------------------
-------João Moutinho---------------------João...

---------------------------Rui Patrício---------------------------
Cédric Soares-----Pepe-----------José Fonte-----Raphaël Guerreiro
-------------------------William Carvalho------------------------
-------João Moutinho---------------------João Mário----------
--------------------------Bernardo Silva-----------------------
--------Gonçalo Guedes-----------------Cristiano Ronaldo----


Bruno Fernandes can come in as a sub a slot in in any of those midfield spots. We didn’t even get to see Manuel Fernandes who just got elected best player in Russia play. Our midfield options are amazing. Only thing I’m disappointed in was that for the second game in a row Dias didn’t see the field. He should have come in for Pepe in the second half instead of wasting a sub on Quaresma. Disappointing and annoying that it seems Santos has no faith in him despite having a good first game. Our centerbacks need to be 1) Pepe 2) Fonte 3) Dias 4) Alves.

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@Luis Ribeiro

It's tricky, but I would take Bruno Fernandes over Joao Mario...I think Santos won't start him vs Spain, but depending on how's the game going...he deserves to be subbed..i feel the further we go he will get a spot over JoaoMario...

@Luis Ribeiro

It's tricky, but I would take Bruno Fernandes over Joao Mario...I think Santos won't start him vs Spain, but depending on how's the game going...he deserves to be subbed..i feel the further we go he will get a spot over JoaoMario or Moutinho...maybe I'm blinded by Bruno Fernandes/Goncalo Guedes great performance over Algeria but they have had great seasons too...+good chemistry with Ronaldo

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This was the most cohesive performance we've seen from the Seleçcao in quite some time and I know it was just Algeria but that doesn't take away the very crisp passing, Looks like a team that is ready to go. Santos will be kicking himself for not...

This was the most cohesive performance we've seen from the Seleçcao in quite some time and I know it was just Algeria but that doesn't take away the very crisp passing, Looks like a team that is ready to go. Santos will be kicking himself for not giving Bruno more opportunity prior to the WC instead of Manuel. Like mike asserted Moutinho plays more of a holding role now which is perfect to support William, though he might not show the same tenacity as Adrien to challenge for the ball, his vision to play Bernardo, Guerreiro, CR through easily make up for it and day by day Guedes is looking more like CR's natural successor. What we witnessed today was CR just about acting as a decoy to allow the others to flourish which is incredible because the defence knows you still can't allow him to roam freely. Gonçalo and Bernardo also seem to enjoy playing off each other. Bruno or J.Mario is the only question. I had J.Mario as our glue guy but with the interchangeability our players have displayed, it truly reduces need for the presence of any given player. Bruno IMO showed he is more suited to trail the forwards in the box, so long as he immediately stops looking for Ronaldo when it's time to shoot..

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Great team performance to make a perfect send off for the tournament for the selecao! We could easily have scored 6 against, make no mistake, one of the best teams in Africa. Algeria may have not qualified this time, but 4 years ago these same...

Great team performance to make a perfect send off for the tournament for the selecao! We could easily have scored 6 against, make no mistake, one of the best teams in Africa. Algeria may have not qualified this time, but 4 years ago these same players gave eventual winners Germany arguably their toughest game of the tournament. We were all over Algeria until the flurry of second half substitutions, and that's very encouraging.

Everyone played well but the stand out performers were Guedes and Bruno Fernandes. Guedes could have got 4 goals last night and was a constant menace to the Algeria defence with his pace and direct play. Will be difficult for Santos not to start him in Russia on that evidence. Fernandes put in an excellent display, all over the show, took his goal well and made some great passes to the forwards. He offers something different to our other CMs and really made a case to start with that performance.

So some real selection headaches for Santos after the two very good recent performances from the team. I think the starting back 5 is settled, but boy is there hot competition for places in midfield and attack! In CM, William and Moutinho are definites, but the other places are up for grabs. João Mario and Bruno Fernandes have staked major claims to start recently, but at the same time, for sure against Spain Adrien would be very useful for his tactical prowess and ability to nullify opposing midfielders. While in attack, we have two great options to partner Ronaldo in Guedes and Silva. I think against Spain only one of them can play, Guedes perhaps being the better option due to his pace and movement (Holland ruthlessly showed 4 years ago how direct pace and movement can really hurt Spain's slow tiki taka approach). But really against Morocco and Iran I'd like to see all three of CR7, Silva and Guedes start. They gonna sit back and defend against us, so let's have as much attacking capability as possible against them. All in all it's looking like a very exciting squad indeed and we have reason to be optimistic ahead of the tournament.

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I’ve been saying for months now that I want to see Guedes play alongside Ronaldo or as our lone CF and I’m so glad he put in such an impressive display yesterday. He could have easily had a hat trick as well when he was put through on goal. From...

I’ve been saying for months now that I want to see Guedes play alongside Ronaldo or as our lone CF and I’m so glad he put in such an impressive display yesterday. He could have easily had a hat trick as well when he was put through on goal. From an attacking perspective this was easily one of their best attacking performances in a while and a fantastic way to send the team off before the WC.

I think Guedes has to start ahead of Silva now and the big doubt for me is between Mário and Bruno Fernandes. They have both been excellent and have created a real (healthy) dilemma for Santos. I think he will go with Mario as he is a safer more conservative choice who can put in more of a defensive effort and stray less into attacking territory than Fernandes probably would, but we shouldn’t forget that Mario has more than enough quality to contribute offensively as well. They’re different but similar in a number of key respects (distance shooting, high energy, etc.), and as I’ve noted before he played In A more advanced role with west ham near the end of the season, looked much better and scored a few goals so I’m not surprised he’s been effective these past couple of games.

I also think it’s pretty much guaranteed that Dias isn’t going to start against Spain. He just didn’t get enough time to play in the friendlies and throwing him into the fire against a team as good as Spain would be risky. Considering how well the older CBs performed against Belgium and Algeria im less worried than I was coming into these friendlies.

Here’s hoping we get off to a flying start in the WC!

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That was the most fluid play I’ve seen from the National Team in quite some time. There was an actual chemistry, not just individualism, and they worked at moving the ball not just running down the flanks and crossing it into the box with no red...

That was the most fluid play I’ve seen from the National Team in quite some time. There was an actual chemistry, not just individualism, and they worked at moving the ball not just running down the flanks and crossing it into the box with no red shirts there.

There were a lot of missed passes however, and stronger teams will punish us for such untidiness. All in all though I never felt worried defensively, and for the first time in a long time was excited by the midfield creativity/capability.

Also, there is power on the bench. The subs are awesome in their own right, we have depth.

I’m sure Santos would rather have the problem of selecting from these assets than the previous availabilities (Bento era). And I think this is what it comes down to now, tactics. The players have proven themselves, now arrange the right squad for the right opposition.

What are our advantages to playing a 4-4-2 vs a 4-3-3 vs Spain?

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Improved performance over a very poor team I must say but they still need to work on their finishing, specially Bernardo. You can't be an attacking mid and miss chances like he does. It's also obvious now that Guedes is a better striker than...

Improved performance over a very poor team I must say but they still need to work on their finishing, specially Bernardo. You can't be an attacking mid and miss chances like he does. It's also obvious now that Guedes is a better striker than Andre Silva and must start.
Patricio
Cedric, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro
Carvalho, Moutinho, Mario
CR, Bernardo, Guedes.

Bet your house this will be the starting 11.

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