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euro 2016 - match reports

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10/07/16

Paris

Final

Portugal 1-0 France (Éder, 109)

 

Portugal: Rui Patrício, Cédric, Pepe, Fonte, Raphäel Guerreiro, William, Renato Sanches (Éder 79), Adrien (João Moutinho 67), João Mário, Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo (Quaresma 25)

France: Lloris, Sagna, Koscielny, Umtiti, Evra, Matuidi, Pogba, Sissoko (Martial 110), Griezmann, Payet (Coman 58), Giroud (Gignac 78)

 

Éder

 

It’s strange to see it written or hear it spoken, but Portugal are European Champions! They did it with a campaign that was rarely spectacular but never less than hard-fought, and with a performance in the Final against a fearsome French side that was almost immaculate.

Portugal were under the cosh from the opening minutes, unable to settle or organise any attacks of their own ... until the 5th minute, when Nani had space inside the area, but he blasted high. Griezmann, along with Sissoko France’s most dangerous man, shot wide on seven minutes. But a minute later, a key moment in the match: Payet clattered into Cristiano Ronaldo, leaving him on the ground clutching his knee. It was an awful challenge that did not even merit a foul from ref Mark Clattenburg, although a card of some colour was surely deserved. Ronaldo tried to soldier on but was fated to leave the game early, to be replaced by Quaresma on 25 minutes.

France were proving the more dangerous in front of goal, but they had to contend with a super Rui Patrício - his save from a Griezmann header on ten minutes was monumental. Adrien had a chance at the other end but fired over, and it was France who continued to threaten Portugal, groggy with the loss of their leader; Sissoko once again put Patrício to the test on 34 minutes. It was important for the Seleção to hold on till half-time to re-group, and so they did.

The break did Portugal good, and they came back more composed. They defended solidly, but France were still getting sniffs at goal that could have proved costly: Griezmann put a clear header over on 66 minutes, and Giroud forced another fine save from Patrício on 75. Five minutes later, it was Lloris showing his mettle, with a double save from Nani and Quaresma, the latter with a swivel-shot that would have been a beautiful goal. By this time, Portugal had Éder on the pitch, and his combative presence was sorting out France’s big men at the back; the striker born in Guinea-Bissau was to prove crucial later. Patrício was still impersonating a wall as the minutes ticked away, and he produced another fantastic save from Sissoko on 84 minutes, although he could do nothing as Gignac forced his way into a goal-scoring position on the stroke of time ... but he hit the near-post with his shot, and the ball bounced to safety.

And so to extra-time. Portugal began the period as if they were playing for penalties, but in the second half of extra time, one foray upfield led to a free kick for handball (although it had been Éder’s hand), and Guerreiro thundered the kick against the bar. It was a sign: a minute later, Éder picked up the ball on the left, cut square, shook off a challenge from Koscielny and struck a sweet shot from 25 metres, low and beyond the despairing fingers of Lloris’s right hand. The so-called ‘Ugly Duckling’ of Portuguese football had put Portugal within sight of their first ever win of a major championship at senior level. They shrewdly opted to play keep footy, or clear it long, to keep their goal intact. And so it remained. Clattenburg blew the final whistle on an historic conquest, one that coach Fernando Santos had always believed in. Few others had, but now they were forced to doff their hats to the ‘Engineer’.

Portugal were European Champions!

Portugal’s Man of the Match: Rui Patrício

Portugal:

Rui Patrício 9
Cédric 6
Pepe 7
Fonte 7
Raphäel Guerreiro 7
William 7
Renato Sanches 6
Adrien 7
João Mário 7
Nani 6
Cristiano Ronaldo 5
Quaresma 6
João Moutinho 6
Éder 9

 

 

06/07/16

Lyon

Semi-final (preview)

Portugal 2-0 Wales (Ronaldo 51, Nani 53)

 

Portugal: Rui Patrício, Cédric, José Fonte, Bruno Alves, Raphäel Guerreiro, Renato Sanches (André Gomes 74), Adrien (João Moutinho 79), Danilo, João Mário, Nani (Quaresma 86), Cristiano Ronaldo

Wales: Hennessey, Collins (J Williams 67), Ashley Williams, Chester, Gunter, King, Ledley (Vokes 58), Allen, Neil Taylor, Bale, Robson-Kanu (Church 64)

 

CR_Goal_Wales

 

Without Pepe (injured) and William Carvalho (suspended), Portugal still put in their most accomplished performance of the Euros in Lyon to brush Wales aside and reach the Final.

It all started very untidily on both sides, with Portugal getting the first sniffs on goal: on 11 minutes, they might have taken an early lead if the referee had seen Collins’ stranglehold on Cristiano Ronaldo from a cross. Five minutes later, the game had its first shot, João Mário skewing wide after a neat one-two with Ronaldo. When the dust settled, it was Wales who were looking more organised and dangerous, Bale a constant threat. He broke down the left on 18 minutes, tackled by José Fonte, then down the right on 21, crossing to the near post for Andy King to poke wide. A minute later, there he was on a trademark break from his own half, unleashing a shot from 25 metres that was too central and was gathered easily by Rui Patrício. Robson-Kanu was next to threaten, twisting to gain the line on the right and crossing, Fonte once again intercepting. Cristiano Ronaldo and Adrien had half chances before the break, but the teams went in all square.

The second half was still young when Portugal took the lead. From a short corner on the left, Raphaël Guerreiro crossed and Ronaldo rose like a salmon to put an unstoppable header past Hennessey. (It was his ninth goal in European Championships, equalling Michel Platini’s record). Before Wales could mount any kind of response, Portugal were two up; a cross was poorly cleared by the Welsh defence, the ball fell to Ronaldo, he shot low from 25 metres and Nani diverted the ball skilfully in, with Hennessey wrongfooted. The coherent football that Wales had produced in the first half got more basic as they became desperate to pull the game back. Portugal had the best chance to extend their lead, Danilo forcing Hennessey to make two saves to keep out his shot. Bale had Wales’ best chance ten minutes from time, a shot from way out on the right which the dependable Rui Patrício palmed away. But there was still time for UEFA Man of the Match Cristiano Ronaldo to take an André Gomes pass and go round the keeper before hitting the ball into the side netting.

Portugal had produced a very solid performance with no weak links and lots of confident, flowing football – notably in the second half. But the quality of their play, on an upward trend over the month, will have to rise another couple of notches to conquer one of the other semi-finalists, France or Germany, in the Final.

Portugal’s Man of the Match: Cristiano Ronaldo

Portugal:

Rui Patrício 7
Cédric 7
José Fonte 8
Bruno Alves 7
Raphäel Guerreiro 7
Renato Sanches 6
Adrien 7
Danilo 6
João Mário 7
Nani 7
Cristiano Ronaldo 8
André Gomes 5
João Moutinho 5
Quaresma 5

 

 

30/06/16

Marseille

Quarter-final

Portugal 1-1 Poland aet (Renato Sanches 33; Lewandowski 2) 5-3 on penalties

 

Penalties:

Portugal 1-0 Poland (Cristiano Ronaldo)
Portugal 1-1 Poland (Lewandowski)
Portugal 2-1 Poland (Renato Sanches)
Portugal 2-2 Poland (Milik)
Portugal 3-2 Poland (João Moutinho)
Portugal 3-3 Poland (Glik)
Portugal 4-3 Poland (Nani)
Portugal 4-3 Poland (Kuba) X
Portugal 5-3 Poland (Ricardo Quaresma)

 

Portugal: Rui Patrício, Cédric, Pepe, Fonte, Eliseu, João Mário (Ricardo Quaresma 80), William (Danilo 96), Renato Sanches, Adrien (João Moutinho 73), Nani, Ronaldo

Poland: Fabianski, Piszczek, Glik, Pazdan, Jedrzejczyk, Blaszczykowski, Krychowiak, Maczynski (Jodlowiec 98), Grosicki (Kapustka 82), Milik, Lewandoski

 

Pepe_Poland_Euro_2016

 

Portugal are through to the semi-finals of the Euros after an initially lively, subsequently cautious battle with a useful Polish side.

The first half, the best part of the game in terms of enjoyment factor, was thrust into top gear on two minutes; a long cross-field ball to the left was misjudged by Cédric and it fell to Grosicki, who crossed for Lewandowski to sweep his shot past Rui Patrício’s right hand – his first goal of the tournament.

Portugal wobbled but did not totter, and began to put pressure on the Polish goal, always aware of the danger of a break – a danger enhanced by the Portugal midfield’s habit of losing the ball cheaply. But Poland didn’t trouble Rui Patrício, and Portugal were not overly troubling Fabianski – a couple of shots from Cristiano Ronaldo were held easily – that is until half an hour or so in.

On 30 minutes, Pazdan ostentatiously barged Cristiano Ronaldo in the back in the area, with the referee looking on; no penalty was given, but it should have been.

Fernando Santos had made two changes from Croatia: Eliseu replaced Raphael Guerreiro at left back, while Renato Sanches came in for André Gomes. On 33 minutes, the former Benfica, now Bayern youngster played a neat one-two with Nani on the right of the area, Sanches jinked inside and cracked a deflected left-foot shot into the bottom right-hand corner of the net, with Fabianski arriving late.

The second half produced far fewer occasions around the goal, and when they came they were from set pieces or long shots, but neither keeper was really troubled. Portugal’s football became a little ineffectual; coach Fernando Santos fixed Renato Sanches wide on the right, whereas he’d had almost free rein in the first half (whether by the coach’s design or of his own accord). He would swap positions several times with João Mário in the centre to upset Poland’s defence, but Portugal’s play lost some of its focus.

The time bled away, play reduced to fitful raids on both goals while caution and fatigue took hold of the players and coaches respectively. We went to extra-time, which was largely forgettable … and then to penalties.

Cristiano Ronaldo, normally seeking the glory of the winning spot kick, took the first one to set the ball rolling … and planted it. Poland were chasing after Portugal from then on. Everyone scored until Poland’s fourth, when Kuba sent his kick low and to the right, where Rui Patrício had predicted it would go; the Sporting keeper got a hand to it and pushed it round the post. And so it was up to Ricardo Quaresma, on as sub for João Mário on 80 minutes, to net the decisive kick, which he duly did.

And Portugal were through to the semi-finals, where they’ll play Wales or Belgium on Wednesday 6 July, in Lyon. They’ve got this far with five draws at the 90-minute mark. Can they make it seven!?

Portugal’s Man of the Match: Pepe

Portugal:

Rui Patrício 7
Cédric 5
Pepe 8
Fonte 7
Eliseu 5
João Mário 6
William 6
Renato Sanches 7
Adrien 6
Nani 7
Ronaldo 6
João Moutinho 5
Ricardo Quaresma 6
Danilo 5

 

 

25/06/16

Lens

Last 16

Portugal 1-0 Croatia aet (Quaresma 117)

 

Portugal: Rui Patrício, Cédric, Pepe, Fonte, Raphael Guerreiro, William, João Mário (Quaresma 87), Adrien (Danilo 108), André Gomes (Renato Sanches 50), Nani, Ronaldo

Croatia: Subasic, Srna, Corluka (Kramaric 120), Vida, Strinic, Badelj, Modric, Brozovic, Rakitic (Pjaca 110), Perisic, Mandzukic (Kalinic 108).

 

Quaresma_Croatia

 

A tight, tense game that went the whole 12 rounds was won by a moment of strength, vision and luck, putting Portugal through to the quarter-finals of the Euros, to face Poland on 30 June.

It was a match of very little drama; there were no shots on target in 120 minutes (!), and neither keeper had to make a save, apart from holding onto a cross here and there … until the final minutes.

Both teams evidently respected the other, setting out their defence from midfield to the back, so that when either side had the ball, they were faced with solid walls that neither could break down. The most danger came from set pieces, and Pepe had the best chance in the first half, heading over from a free-kick.

Pepe was almost immaculate (he lost the ball in midfield late in the game which led to a flurry of Croatian pressure, but he can be forgiven that perhaps). His covering was superb, and alongside him, José Fonte, brought in for his first game here to rest ageing Ricardo Carvalho, was also cool and decisive.

In midfield, Fernando Santos also gave a first game to Adrien, teaming him up with Sporting colleagues William and João Mário. They did a good job and reduced Modric and Rakitic to only occasional bursts of quality. Up front, Fernando Santos paired Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani again; Ronaldo had a quiet game, stifled by the Croatia defence … but he would prove key again in the closing minutes.

Two changes that Fernando Santos made were to mark the game: Renato Sanches for the largely ineffectual André Gomes on 50 minutes, and Ricardo Quaresma for João Mário on 87. The former (subsequently voted UEFA Man of the Match) picked the ball up in his own half in the dying minutes of extra time, surged forward in what has become a trademark run, shrugged off defenders like they were flies, and found Nani on the left with a neat, no-nonsense pass. Nani looked up, saw Cristiano Ronaldo at the back post and poked a low pass across the face of the goal. It flummoxed the Croatia defence and found its way to Ronaldo, whose shot was saved by Subasic … but the ball looped back across the goal and sat up invitingly for Quaresma’s to nod in. It was probably the easiest goal he’s ever scored, but he had to be there, and he had to keep his head.

It wasn’t a pretty game; purists and neutrals will be cynical about it. But the Portuguese will be thrilled: their Seleçao are through to the quarter-finals, where they meet Poland on Thursday 30 June in Marseille.

And now, as the song goes, there are just three steps to heaven …

Portugal’s Man of the Match: Pepe

Portugal:

Rui Patrício 6
Cédric 5
Pepe 7
Fonte 6
Raphael Guerreiro 6
William 6
João Mário 6
Adrien 6
André Gomes 4
Nani 6
Ronaldo 6
Renato Sanches 7
Quaresma 7
Danilo 4

 

 

22/06/16

Lyon

Group F – 3rd and final game (preview)

Portugal 3-3 Hungary (Nani 42, Cristiano Ronaldo 50, 62; Gera 20, Dzsudzsák 47, 55 )

 

Portugal: Rui Patrício, Vieirinha, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho, Eliseu, William Carvalho, João Mário, João Moutinho (Renato Sanches 45), André Gomes (Quaresma 61), Nani (Danilo 81), Cristiano Ronaldo.

Hungary: Kiraly, Lang, Juhasz, Guzmics, Korhut, Pinter, Elek, Lovrencsics (Stieber 82), Gera (Bese 45), Dzsudzsak, Szalai (Nemeth 70).

 

Por_Hungary_22_06_16

 

Portugal are through to the last 16 of the European Championship, the first team ever to qualify out of the groups without winning a single game. They did it with a performance that was often sloppy and inferior to their other two showings (Iceland 1-1, Austria 0-0), although never less than committed. A draw was all that was needed, and that’s what the Seleção got … but not without putting a good many Portuguese hearts in mouths along the way. “It was a crazy game,” said Cristiano Ronaldo. “We were out of the Euros three times …”

Hungary proved to be much stronger and more adventurous than the previous opponents, and Portugal’s defence needed to be at its best … but it failed three times. The first was on 20 minutes, when Cristiano Ronaldo headed a corner clear but only as far as Zoltan Gera on the edge of the area, who clipped a shot into the bottom right-hand corner of Rui Patrício’s goal, with the keeper unsighted.

On a day that he would set two new records (17 appearances in Euro finals, and scoring in four editions) Ronaldo was to be key in the game, after a week of much recrimination in Portugal and internationally for his poor performances. On 42 minutes, his excellent, low through ball to the left of the goal found Nani, who hit it between Kiraly and the near post – 1-1 and Portugal through going into the break.

Then just after the break, they were out again. A needless free kick given away 25 metres out and to the right of the goal was fired in by Dzsudzsák, the ball taking a wicked deflection off André Gomes’ arm and flying past a wrong-footed Patrício.

Back came Portugal, with Renato Sanches, on for Moutinho at half-time, providing a bit of muscle and drive in the middle, and João Mário playing his best game of the tournament. It was the Sporting midfielder who crossed from the right for Cristiano Ronaldo to score Portugal’s second equaliser, a sublime back-heel that flummoxed Kiraly; surely one of the goals of the tournament. Portugal were back in the Euros at 2-2.

But back came Hungary, like a very annoying wasp. On 55 minutes, the Portuguese defence failed to close Dzsudzsák down just outside the area, to the right of the goal, and his shot found the back of the net, Patrício once again fooled by a deflection, this time off Nani’s lazily outstretched boot. That made it 2-3, and Portugal were back to fighting for their lives.

On the hour, Ricardo Quaresma got the nod to come off the bench, luckily for the Seleção. He multiplied the attacking options, and it was his perfectly floated cross from the left two minutes later that Cristiano Ronaldo rose to head coolly home from close range.

The score didn’t change again a minute later only because Elek’s shot from the edge of the box crashed against Rui Patrício’s left-hand post, with the keeper beaten. With the score standing at 3-3 and ten minutes to go, coach Fernando Santos gambled on shoring up the midfield, bringing on defensive midfielder Danilo to replace Nani. Hungary, satisfied now with the draw, began to tap the ball to each other as Portugal watched on. And so the clock ran down and Portugal (the team and the country) breathed a sigh of relief.

Portugal qualify from Group F with little glory; it seemed accessible at the outset but all three theoretically inferior teams proved tough nuts to crack. They qualify as one of the best third-placed teams and luckily find themselves in the ‘easier’ half of the draw. They will have to face one of the following if they get past Croatia on Saturday: Switzerland, Poland (one of whom Portugal will play next if they beat Croatia), Wales, Northern Ireland, Hungary and Belgium (the biggest challenge of Portugal’s half of the draw, who they will only meet in the semi-finals, if both get that far).

It’s to be hoped that Portugal’s goal-scoring blockage is cleared now, but Fernando Santos will have to do some hasty repair work to the defence before Croatia.

Portugal’s Man of the Match: Cristiano Ronaldo

Portugal:

Rui Patrício 5
Vieirinha 5
Pepe 5
Ricardo Carvalho 5
Eliseu 4
William Carvalho 5
João Mário 7
João Moutinho 4
André Gomes 4
Nani 7
Cristiano Ronaldo 8
Renato Sanches 6
Quaresma 6
Danilo 5

 

18/06/16

Paris

Group F – 2nd game

Portugal 0-0 Austria

 

Portugal: Rui Patrício, Vieirinha, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho, Guerreiro, William, Moutinho, André Gomes (Éder 83), Nani (Rafa 89), Quaresma (João Mário 72), Ronaldo

Austria: Almer, Klein, Prodl, Hinteregger, Fuchs, Ilsanker (Wimmer 87), Baumgartlinger, Harnik, Alaba (Schöpf 65), Arnautovic, Sabitzer (Hinterseer 85).

 

CR disappointed 18_06_116

 

There is no way Portugal should have drawn this match, just as there was no way they should have drawn against Iceland. They were superior practically throughout, and had numerous chances to score (23 attempts to Austria’s three! - 6/1 on target), notably in the first half through Nani (a header that hit the post) and Cristiano Ronaldo, and the latter in the second. On 79 minutes, he was brought down in the area and the game was won. Cristiano from the spot? In a game like this? A cinch. But no – he struck the ball cleanly enough, but it pinged back off the post, and the chance that the gods had handed Portugal was squandered.

Fernando Santos had made two changes from Iceland: William Carvalho replaced Danilo, while Ricardo Quaresma started in place of João Mário. There was some anticipation with that forward line-up (Quaresma, Nani and Ronaldo), but if the truth be told, Quaresma failed to shine – he rarely passed his man, and his crosses were often wayward. William, on the other hand, proved a solid influence in midfield, acting smoothly as pivot between defence and the more creative midfielders (André Gomes, João Moutinho) and forwards.

Austria were on an even footing with Portugal in the opening minutes, but Portugal steadily took control of the game, and but for a couple of bursts, the Austrians were content to contain the stronger team – and appeared happy with the draw. Their overall display is perhaps best indicated by the fact that goalkeeper Almer was their best player.

As the game went on, it screamed out for fresh blood from the Portuguese bench. Fernando Santos left it until the 72nd minute to make the first change - João Mário for a crestfallen Quaresma, who was on a yellow from a first half protest. The Sporting midfielder’s contribution turned out to be minimal, and the coach left it until the last ten minutes to try for the goals that were needed: Éder on 83 and Rafa (who put the fear of God into the Austria defence with his first run) on 89 (!). It was too little, and in the case of Rafa, much too late.

Portugal have one goal in two games, and two points. They now face Hungary, who are on four points and appear through. Hungary have looked a strong side. Portugal will have to replicate or better their two performances so far … and, necessarily, start to find the onion bag if Fernando Santos’ irritable post-match claim is to come to fruition: “We’re going to get to the Final and we’re going to win it.”

Portugal’s Man of the Match: William Carvalho

Portugal:

Rui Patrício 6
Vieirinha 6
Pepe 6
Ricardo Carvalho 7
Guerreiro 7
William Carvalho 7
Moutinho 6
André Gomes 6
Nani 6
Quaresma 5
Ronaldo 5
João Mário 3
Éder 3
Rafa 5

 

 

14/06/16

St. Etienne

Group F – 1st game

Portugal 1-1 Iceland (Nani 31; Bjarnason 50)

 

Portugal: Rui Patrício, Vieirinha, Ricardo Carvalho, Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro, João Mário (Quaresma 75), Moutinho (Renato Sanches 70), Danilo, André Gomes (Éder 84), Nani, Ronaldo

Iceland: Halldorson, Saevarsson, Ragnar Sigurdsson, Árnason, Skúlason, Gudmundsson (T Bjarnason 90), Gunnarson, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Bjarnason, Sightórsson (Finnbogason 80), Bödvarsson

 

Nani goal 2016

 

Portugal dominated a nervy opener at EURO 2016 – their shots were in the 20s, Iceland’s in single figures. But they let two points slip with a moment of sloppy defending early in the second half: a looping cross to the back post, full-back Vieirinha was caught in no man’s land and Bjarnason was unmarked to hook the ball past Patrício.

They’d also looked a little shaky early on when Iceland made several dangerous runs down Portugal’s right flank. But steadily, the Seleção found their compass and began putting the pressure on. Nani had a clear chance when Cristiano Ronaldo crossed from the left, but the Fenerbahçe (soon to be Inter?) winger’s header was blocked on the line by the feet of 'keeper Halldorson. Then on 31 minutes, Portugal took the lead; a swift and incisive move down the right ended with a low cross by André Gomes, swept in by Nani.

He’d been preferred to Quaresma, who had such a fabulous game in the 7-0 win over Estonia but wasn’t fully fit for this one. And Nani was one of Portugal’s better players, committed and focussed. The team went in at half time and they must have been confident of much the same in the second, but the early equaliser knocked the stuffing out of their play. They did get close to scoring on a number of occasions – Cristiano Ronaldo had a clear header that he’d normally convert, but it went straight into the arms of the useful Halldorson – but after a certain moment there was a sense of inevitability about the end result. None of the substitutions (Renato Sanches, Quaresma, Éder) were game-changing, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s insistence on shooting for goal from two 35-yard free-kicks late on was indicative of some desperation.

It was a disappointing result against the team placed 34th in the FIFA rankings, but it wasn’t by any means a disaster; there are two games remaining against accessible opposition, and if Portugal can repeat their display against Estonia (7-0) and at certain moments tonight (the move for the goal was sublime), then there must still be optimism about getting through the group phase.

Portugal’s Man of the Match: Nani

Portugal:

Rui Patrício 6
Vieirinha 4
Ricardo Carvalho 6
Pepe 6
Raphael Guerreiro 6
João Mário 5
Moutinho 6
Danilo 6
André Gomes 6
Nani 7
Ronaldo 6
Renato Sanches 5
Quaresma 5
Éder 4

 

 

 

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