Portugal 2 – 0 Panama
Portugal kept their stride well after the European championships with a strong performance in a 2-0 win over Panama. It certainly wasn’t the strongest competitor, but Portugal were by far the better team and completely man handled the concacaf team. We did struggle early on to find our stride like we so often did over the summer, but soon the class showed through. Nelson Oliveira, the future when it comes to the no. 9, let go an unstoppable shot from the top of the box into the top corner to get Portugal going. This is by far the highlight of the game and a very good sign for the NT. If Oliveira can get consistent playing time on loan at Deportiva La Coruna, it can mean the world in terms of his development as a striker. Playing in La Liga against better opponents will push him harder and hopefully catapult his career faster than it would have at Benfica this year. Anyway, that goal and his performance tonight was a great sign and I have to applaud Bento for giving him the start. After his goal, we got stronger and started to gel. Great build up play from Ronaldo and Coentrao almost led to another great chance, but it was just beautiful one touch passing around the box that left Panama’s heads spinning. Then just before half time Ronaldo made a great run down the left wing and put a cross right on Oliveira’s forehead, only for the youngster to head it high and over. He definitely needs to improve his air game, without taking a page out of Almeida’s book with all his misses.
Portugal came out in the second half with the virtually the same team, and it paid off when Ronaldo got some space outside the box after Meireles’ pass and hit a rocket half volley into the corner of the net. Great to see our captain keeping up his fine form for the Sellecao. If anyone can shake off the disappointment of not taking that penalty in the semi final, it is him. Just ten minutes later, another chance created from a great combination with Miguel Lopes and Oliveira, with Oliveira providing a fine cross to Ronaldo only for it to get parried away. As the match went on, more players got a chance to shine including Micael who had a nice run from the half way line all the way to the box. He should have played through Varela, but instead he took a shot himself and it was saved. Almeida got yet another chance from Bento, but his head scratching play continued. In the 70’ he had a header cleared off the line, and in the 80’ Coentrao his a perfect cross to him and he pulled it wide from point blank. I foresee Vaz Te taking his roster spot sooner rather than later.
Some standout performers for me were Moutinho who played every one of his minutes like his last which I love to see in a friendly, Lopes who looked very strong both defensively and offensively, as well as Nani, who was close to scoring on many occasions, but he has become such a tactically smart player and has really matured with his decision making on the ball. Also its nice to see him take pride in working hard back tracking. Our central defensive pairing in Rolando and Costa looked a little shaky at times, but they weren’t really tested all that much. It was nice to give them some minutes. I would have liked to see Sereno get some minutes and I wish Carrico get called up, but Bento stayed consistent and rarely went out on a limb with his squad. One other player to mention is Hugo Viana who got the start in midfield. He often rotated positions with Meireles, but I thought for the most part he looked sharp. A few stray passes here and there, but his work rate was solid and his defensive positioning wasn’t too bad. His long balls can be deadly when he is on though.
Overall, a strong performance from the national team heading into World Cup qualifiers. We should pick up an easy six points with games against Luxembourg and Azerbaijan, but we will still need to stay sharp and healthy. Bento has his squad and a few tweaks here and there along the way could be all that stands between us and another good campaign. But one things for sure, we cannot afford to dig a hole for ourselves early in qualifying and resort to the playoffs, that’s just a pain in the ass.
great article Paulo… we did give a great performance given that the players were rusty at the start of the season. We should be able to finally have an impressive qualifying campaign.
Oh and I hope this is the last time we ever see Almeida in a Portugal shirt.
Oliveira is number 11. That was simao’s number. Almeida is 9. Fail is fail
Posted from United States
Thanks Ahmad. I agree, I can’t remember another player getting this many chances for a national team after numerous consecutive horrible performances. By the way did anyone see Vaz te’s epl debut? I know west ham won but I didn’t see the game
Posted from United States
I didn’t catch the game, but I read that Vaz Te started on the right wing, and that he got the assist for the winning goal. Vaz Te much better than Almeida in every aspect of the game. I have no idea why Almeida continues to get called up when he continues to play so terribly.
The good news is that I was very pleased with Oliveira’s overall performance. Yes he had a couple poor misses, but he held up the ball well, linked up with Ronaldo and Nani, and he scored an excellent goal with his weaker foot. Unlike Almeida and Postiga, Oliveira’s got great pace, and as his goal proved, he’s also capable of creating chances on his own.
I know he’s still got much to learn, but I think that it’s time for Bento to give him the starting spot. He can get 2 competitive starts under his belt(against weak opposition) He’s still far from a finished product, but he’s still a lot better than Postiga and especially Almeida.
Vaz Te played good… had a 1 on 1 goal opportunity, he managed to get past the keeper but the late defender was too fast and was able to clear the ball off the line… and of course he assisted the only goal for west ham but I won’t give that more credit than it deserves cause it was a clear pass to make nothing mind blowing about it.
Let’s just say the kid COULD be a great addition to the Seleccao, but it’s still too early to judge. Again, anything is better than Almeida so I don’t thing we’ll lose quality in our NT if we swapped both players.
here you go guys…. Nelson Oliviera’s first goal in La liga, it’s the second in that video. beautifully taken.
Good goal. He has potential to be one of our main strikers (since our standard of the position is so low…). I’m positive he’ll be given chances in the WC 2014 qualifiers and hopefully even make some impact in the World Cup. And for those that doubt it, well, remember Coentrão in the 2010 World Cup. He was quite young as well.
Here’s hoping that Rui Fonte is given chances as well, he could be a good alternative starting from 2013.
Posted from Portugal
if Nelson and Vaz Te concentrate then we can kiss our striker problems goodbye. All it takes is just a little bit of determination from these young players and we’re saved. I hope they do.
Posted from Lebanon
Thanks for this good article And absolutely i am agree with your point its a good game and player Vaz Te started a good performance i like his determination towards his goal.
I’d be more than happy to see Bento make Oliveira and Vaz Te our 2 primary strikers rather than Postiga and Almeida. Helder Postiga still has something to offer, but Almeida is a lost cause.
I’d also like to see players like Salvador Agra, Vieirinha, Andre Martins, Adrien Silva, and Manuel Fernandes some playing time.
Our back-up defenders, Rolando and Ricardo Costa, are also shaky replacements for Pepe and Bruno Alves. Why not give the likes of Daniel Carrico, Luis Neto, Manuel Da Costa, or Jose Fonte a chance.
Many of these players could be important members of the Seleccao if given a chance to prove their worth.
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