Portugal Euro 2016: What are They Really Contributing?
After witnessing one of the most lacklustre displays of football in Euro 2016 so far, we were left questioning: What are Portugal actually contributing to the tournament? Against Croatia, they possessed scarce rhythm and failed to properly deploy their talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo. Their squad is a little out of shape, with a lack of real skill among the veteran shirts, while their younger blood has spoonfuls of talent but not much clue about how to demonstrate it.
Portugal So Far
In their whole group stage campaign, Portugal failed to win a match. With such a creative player as Ronaldo, avid tournament fans have probably put a good degree of bets on him to score and rule the roost. However, his focus and calibre has been hindered by a mediocre team. This is what makes Croatia’s shock departure so upsetting. They had skill in spades, from right back on the defensive line, to all the way up front. Outstanding players everywhere.
The main issue with the knockout fixture between Portugal and Croatia was the amount of fouls. The boot-clipping, jersey-tugging, on-the-floor-rolling antics caused the game to be severely fragmented. Neither team really ran riot. The constant stopping and starting really added a very annoying disjointed element to a rapidly stagnating game. Portugal seemed to have no direction; Croatia seemed unlucky but barely able to conjure up any magic.
Ivan Rakitić was certainly one of the Croatian fouling culprits. However, André Gomes, William Carvalho (who was booked), Nani and João Mário were frequently the reasons behind a whistle blow. If they’re all about the dodgy tactics, what are these players truly bring to the game? Besides headaches, that is. Sure, there’s pace among that four, and Nani still has a lot of vigour and determination, as well as technique. But is that enough? They will have to curb their petulant fouling against Poland on Thursday.
Of course, Ronaldo is a wizard on the field, running rings around most. However, a lack of real cohesion among the midfield has disallowed him the chances to sprint up and wallop in the goals. However, Renato Sanches injected a lot of energy after he was substituted on. The new Bayern Munich boy is a youngster not only with masses of potential, but absolutely killer pace. Frankly, Portugal were fortunate to have had him on the rota. In terms of skill and attacking prowess, Portugal contribute Ronaldo and Sanches to the tournament.
Defensively, Pepe is a loose cannon. His ability is unquestionable, but his tackling judgement and easily-flared aggression. Two players who basically saved the skin of Portugal last night are Southampton stars Cédric Soares José Fonte. These men put in a shift against Croatia, never failing to sweep up the ball and clear it quickly, or make a tactical pass back down the pitch. Contributing expert defensive skills, Portugal’s fresher faces might just be what helps them against Poland, a team that might now be the new underdogs succeeding Croatia.
Although Portugal’s flat conduct raises queries about their place in the quarter-finals, they have gone through of their own merit. As for what they really contribute, they have a cluster of players ready and willing to work tirelessly to please their nation.
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