Poland 2-3 Portugal

Portugal put on an impressive display in an action-packed game in Chorzów. The Poles took the lead early on through a Krzysztof Piatek header. However, goals from André Silva, a Kamil Glik own goal, and a brilliant Bernardo Silva effort put the Seleção ahead.

There was controversy after Rui Patrício was beaten by Jakub Błaszczykowski's superb shot but that goal ultimately didn't deny Portugal the victory in a polished performance in Poland.

Portugal were without Cristiano Ronaldo again but that no longer seems to be a hinderance for Fernando Santos' men. Winger Bruma was a late absentee due to illness so Santos elected to use his three Silvas in attack with Bernardo Silva, Rafa Silva, and André Silva forming the forward line.

On paper Poland looked a bigger threat than last opponents Italy, with the forward duo of Krzysztof Piatek, in impressive goal-scoring form, and Robert Lewandowski, making his 100th appearance for Poland, set to be a big test for Portugal’s defence.

It was a fast-paced and even game from the very beginning in front of a packed Silesian Stadium in Chorzów. André Silva almost put Portugal in the lead when his attempted heel flick of Mário Rui’s cross when just over Lukasz Fabianski’s goal.

Piatek puts Poland ahead

However it was the home side who took the lead in the 18th minute when Rafal Kurzawa’s corner went over the hands of Rui Patrício and Krzysztof Piatek rose highest to head home. The striker continued his superb goalscoring run, now scoring in his 6th consecutive game.

Portugal responded well and Rafa Silva had the ball in the net soon afterwards but only after an offside flag from the assistant referee.

There could be no doubt about another of the Silva’s next effort. Pizzi made a smart run behind the Poland defence. The Benfica man easily found André Silva to find the mark for Portugal yet again from close range.

Portugal’s right-hand side was producing some fantastic attacking football with João Cancelo, Pizzi, and Bernardo Silva all combining well.

Neves cuts Poland's defence apart

Despite the great work on the ground, Portugal took the lead with a beautiful pinpoint long pass from Rúben Neves to Rafa Silva. Rafa rounded Fabianski and was just about to place the ball into an empty net before Kamil Glik’s attempt to prevent the goal ended up in the back of the net. The goal gave Portugal a deserved lead just before half-time.

Portugal increased their advantage 7 minutes after the restart. It came from a superb flowing move that began with great play from Mário Rui and ended with some great individual play from Bernardo. The Manchester City man did well to find space for himself and Fabianski couldn’t stop his low effort from outside the box.

After the third goal Poland found a firm footing in the game and Portugal looked like they had lost their attacking impetus. In the 74th minute Pepe received a yellow card for a typically rash challenge meaning the defender will now miss Portugal’s trip to Milan to face Italy in November.

Poland almost pulled one back from a set piece again when Jan Bednarek headed inches wide from a freekick.

It was a warning that Portugal should have heeded. A few minutes later substitute Jakub Błaszczykowski rifled a shot past Patrício to set up a nervous finish for Portugal when it should have been comfortable. There was controversy however, as Kamil Grosicki had clearly run the ball out of play on in the build-up but without VAR in the UEFA Nations League the goal stood.

Wasted chances

Renato Sanches could have sealed the game for Portugal in the 84th minute. André Silva put the resurgent Bayern Munich midfielder through on goal, he easily went past Fabianski but his effort was thwarted by a last second clearance off the goal line by a Polish defender.

Portugal had another great chance to seal the victory in stoppage time when André Silva drew Fabianski out of position. He pulled the ball back to Bruno Fernandes but the Sporting midfielder, who had entered the game just seconds before, skied his effort and the score remained 3-2 to Portugal at the final whistle.

This was an important and impressive victory in the Nations League that will add further confidence into a post-Ronaldo future for Portugal. The first 70 minutes in particular was some of the most entertaining football that the Seleção have played recently and based on the two previous games the future looks bright.

Next up for Portugal is a tricky fixture away to Italy, made even more difficult without the suspended Pepe commanding the defence but perhaps it will be the Italian defence that is more worried about the likes of Bernardo, Neves and André Silva.

by Richard Cole


Portugal: Rui Patrício; João Cancelo, Pepe, Rúben Dias, Mário Rui; William Carvalho, Rúben Neves, Pizzi (Renato Sanches, 75’); Bernardo Silva (Bruno Fernandes, 90’), André Silva, Rafa Silva (Danilo Pereira, 85’)


Poland: Lukasz Fabianski; Bartosz Bereszynski (Tomasz Kedziora, 46’), Kamil Glik, Jan Bednarek, Artur Jedrzejczyk; Piotr Zielinski, Grzeg Krychowiak, Mateusz Klich (Jakub Błaszczykowski, 63’), Rafal Kurzawa (Kamil Grosicki, 63’); Robert Lewandowski, Krzysztof Piatek

Goals:

[1-0] Krzysztof Piatek, 18‘
[1-1] André Silva, 32’
[1-2] Kamil Glik (OG), 43’
[1-3] Bernardo Silva, 52’
[2-3] Jakub Błaszczykowski, 77’

 

Comments (14)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

That was undoubtedly one of the best all-around performances I have seen from the Seleccao in years -- quite possibly the best quality football I have ever seen in the Santos era against a decent opponent. In all honesty, the 3-2 scoreline was...

That was undoubtedly one of the best all-around performances I have seen from the Seleccao in years -- quite possibly the best quality football I have ever seen in the Santos era against a decent opponent. In all honesty, the 3-2 scoreline was far from an accurate reflection of what took place on the pitch. We completely nullified Poland in open play, and had it not been for some poor finishing late in the second, half we could have been looking at a 5-2 or 6-2 scoreline.

Joao Cancelo, in my opinion, has been the most inform right-back in Europe since the start of the season, and he shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. He was absolutely superb from start to finish.

Bernardo was pure class, William and Neves bossed the midfield with relative ease, and Andre Silva probably delivered his best-ever performance in a Portugal shirt.

And this was all without Ronaldo!

Our next match is away in Italy. Given the way the Italians have played over the past year, it's a game that we are more than capable of winning.

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Finally a superb performance since 2006 i guess. What a flow, what an open play, how fast, with zero errors, just kept on hailing and praising every touch. Terrific future awaiting us. Jogo bonitto is back guys. I saw Deco, Figo, Rui Costa on the...

Finally a superb performance since 2006 i guess. What a flow, what an open play, how fast, with zero errors, just kept on hailing and praising every touch. Terrific future awaiting us. Jogo bonitto is back guys. I saw Deco, Figo, Rui Costa on the field.. All gold. Finally one of these matches that end with a big smile on the face! Força Portugal!!!

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Silvas hat trick(almost)!

I want to echo the sentiment, this has been one of the better performances I have seen in a few years, especially given the quality of the opposition and on the road.

Concelo has got to be one of the, if not the most,...

Silvas hat trick(almost)!

I want to echo the sentiment, this has been one of the better performances I have seen in a few years, especially given the quality of the opposition and on the road.

Concelo has got to be one of the, if not the most, dangerous attacking right backs currently. The interplay between him, Bernardo and Pizzi, was a treat to watch.

Neves misplaced a few passes, but his willingness to create paid off. It has been something we have missed for a while.

Two mistakes, Concelo being lax on corner( probably the only negative thing he did all game), and Rui giving up on ball when he thought it was out, was the only real concern we had. The header that just went wide would have been covered by Rui if it was on target.

Only downside was Pepe's unnecessary yellow, out for Italy game. Now Santos has to use the Scotland friendly to come up with a new partnership in central defense. Hopefully, Poland and Italy will draw on Sunday, and Portugal will be through to the finals next year.

Also, I wish they had keep up the scoring intent, I think it would have pinned back Poland and possibly got more goals. Even though we missed a couple of easy ones, Renato should have pulled back the ball to place better, knowing the defender was coming to clear the line. Easier said then done, good run by his part. Glad to see playing better. Bruno just mis-hit his sitter.

Now the debate for whether the team is better off without Ronaldo now, will commence......

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I'm going to dare to ask this question and everyone knows the day is coming, " Is the Selecao better off without CR7?" Is it time to move on, or can he take a backseat and rely on his experience and overall knowledge and become a mentor to a...

I'm going to dare to ask this question and everyone knows the day is coming, " Is the Selecao better off without CR7?" Is it time to move on, or can he take a backseat and rely on his experience and overall knowledge and become a mentor to a younger generation? Is that not what truly great players do for the greater good of a team game? In no way am I forgetting what he has accomplished and done for not only the team but the country itself. He is without a doubt an example of hard work, dedication, pride, and drive. The media took him to new heights and he has been greatly rewarded financially and highly decorated for both country and club. Unfortunately, it seems as if things are slowly changing for him as time catches up to the greatest of athletes both on and off the pitch. According to some, he has been in a "decline" for years and he keeps proving all doubters wrong but we all know we can't continue to expect that. Dare I say it?? The Selecao seems to be a better collective unit and more creative on the pitch. As if a huge weight is off their shoulders, players are allowed to develop and flourish. It allows us to see more of their talents on display. I like what I see and that does not mean I think Ronald does not have a place on this team......Again can he put that ego which has served him well, taking him to great heights aside and become a mentor, maybe come off the bench or sit occasionally. Look at Argentina, who have place the weight of the world on Messi's shoulder and what do they have to show for it?? A squad that has taken huge steps back collectively and in player development to suit their Maestro. Once Ronaldo is gone, we will lose the casual fans, the generation of kids wearing Ronaldo jerseys despite not speaking a word of Portuguese or being of Portuguese heritage. Ultimately, we will be fine. The Selecao has shown that it can still shine and produce talent on the biggest stage. FORCA!!

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The referee was a disaster how the fuck do they pick them.

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Great performance. So much young talent - gotta love it. Curious to see how we deal with Italy without Pepe. As solid as he is, time will ultimately catch up to him. Ruben Dias is great as long as he stays disciplined unlike what we saw in the...

Great performance. So much young talent - gotta love it. Curious to see how we deal with Italy without Pepe. As solid as he is, time will ultimately catch up to him. Ruben Dias is great as long as he stays disciplined unlike what we saw in the UCL. Hoping Italy and Poland draw on Sunday to make our last two Nations League matches meaningless.

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Santos observed, analyzed and designed a different approach. He made several adjustments and they seem to pay off. Already against (a weak) Italy and now away against Poland. It is obvious, that Santos was looking for a solution give William more...

Santos observed, analyzed and designed a different approach. He made several adjustments and they seem to pay off. Already against (a weak) Italy and now away against Poland. It is obvious, that Santos was looking for a solution give William more influence in the opponents half up until the atttacking third. It gives Portugal more possession, more muscle in central offence (desperately lacking before!) and "deadly passing" and good decisions abilities of William are well known. With Ruben Neves, Portugal has a Xabi Alonso like player in the No. 6 position. Neves solves one of the biggest problems in offensive game development at Portugal's side: A solid and forward-oriented middle axis thanks to Neves -William. Just imagine Sanches revealing his potential (he already starts to show glimpses, but needs to play in the club) replacing (the decent) Pizzi and Guedes replacing Rafa. Cancelo develops superb. Mario Rui replaced by an in-form Guerreiro. Keep in mind, that William on the flanks is pointless and that Bernardo needs the opportunity to thrive towards center or even take the No 10 role. What is getting obvious, that you'll play either in a 4141, a 4231, and not so often in a 433. But never in a 442. If you want to look into the future, forget the 442 and put let CR7 and André Silva compete for the No. 9 position. If you look back, take the 442 (because it might be Ronaldo's favourite formation) and lose the beautiful middle axis because Santos will put William back on the 6 position and eventually bench Ruben Neves. I prefer looking into the future. I am not jealous for Santos' job. Given the next two games will pass similar to the last two ones: What other choice will he have than to convince CR7 that he must play as the No 9? Will be a hard job. When watching the last two games I saw a convincing team where no one hided. Every single player contributed and tried to deliver. And the best of all: I never doubted that Portugal will keep most of the game under control and win. This feeling is just - priceless. Please Mr. Santos, give me more of that and continue the way you took now. Not going back to old schemes.. And I think, Ronaldo understands and will adapt to that.

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This does remind me of the times when we were called the Brazilians of Europe, circa '04. The difference now is that we can no longer say with certainty the starting 11 like we used to before.

In years past we pretty much new who was playing...

This does remind me of the times when we were called the Brazilians of Europe, circa '04. The difference now is that we can no longer say with certainty the starting 11 like we used to before.

In years past we pretty much new who was playing where, nowadays one guy injured or out of form and we have a few back ups.

...... Except for central defence, I like Dias but hes a bit clumsy and who will be his partner? If we can find another Pepe Carvalho partnership we are golden. Too bad Semedo is kind of a criminal (the one in Huesca, not Barca lol)

Our mid has been so stacked lately that we all forgot about Danilo. Now that hes back we are that much better.

On Ronaldo, I think we should still call him up for regular qualifiers and next Euros, and even start him, but I do think they play more as a team when he is not there.

What do you guys think of Nani and Quaresma? Are they done?

And one more thing, this a midfield without Moutinho, one of the most fiesty hard working players whos still got some tank in the gas (just ask the EPL). He would there if this was not an expiremental tournement.

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While I do agree that the team appears to play as a more balanced, cohesive unit without Ronaldo, I wouldn't go as far as to say that we are better without him. I think he could easily slide right into this new 4-3-3 shape as either the...

While I do agree that the team appears to play as a more balanced, cohesive unit without Ronaldo, I wouldn't go as far as to say that we are better without him. I think he could easily slide right into this new 4-3-3 shape as either the center-forward or as the left-forward; he simply needs to understand that he no longer has to be both our primary goal-scorer and our primary play-maker.

Ronaldo will always be revered as a footballing god in Portugal -- and rightfully so. He's earned it. But at the age of 33, he needs to realize that a tactical scheme that is specifically designed to maximize his influence and production at the expense of his hugely talented teammates isn't necessarily a recipe for long term success.

If I were Santos, I would continue to leave the old guard (Ronaldo, Quaresma, Moutinho, etc.) out of the squad for our last two qualifiers, but I would definitely include them in the final tournament squad should we qualify.


With regards to Luis' question, I believe Ruben Dias' long term center-back partner will be Diogo Leite of Porto. He's currently behind Felipe and Eder Militao in the pecking order, but I have no doubt that he will eventually force his way into the starting 11 within by the end of next season. Pedro Mendes of Montpellier is also an interesting option. I'd love to see him get a start in tomorrow's friendly in Scotland.

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These games are not available for viewing in Canada, if anyone knows of a decent online streaming alternative to watch tomorrow's game verses Scotland, it would be greatly appreciated.

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I live in Canada, I use http://www.ronaldo7.net

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