PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 11 July 2014 15:50

Putting the Past Behind

With the World Cup drawing to a close, a new era is surely dawning for Portuguese football in time for the start of Euro 2016 qualifying in September. Or is it? Nathan Motz reflects on Portugal's short tour in Brazil and looks ahead to how Paulo Bento can revitalize the Seleção.

Having had sufficient time to mourn the Seleção's early exit from the World Cup, it is now time to move on and look ahead to the future. I am getting slightly ahead of myself though, and need to confess that I subconsciously began to think about our chances at Euro 2016 almost as soon as Portugal had finished losing to Germany 4-0 in their first group game. In hindsight, that match provided all the evidence necessary to conclude that we would not make it to the knockout rounds: we lost Coentrao to injury, Pepe to suspension, and Ronaldo was clearly limited by ongoing knee issues. How were we ever going to overcome that?

But this discussion could easily slip into just another post-tournament analysis regarding Portugal’s disappointing World Cup experience, and that is not really the point of this article. Instead, I would like to consider how the Selecao can apply some of the lessons learned in Brazil as they begin Euro 2016 qualifying in two months against Albania.

The solution in midfield?

Making this discussion interesting can prove somewhat of a challenge because many of Portugal’s issues are recurring and have already been discussed ad naseum. In that sense I do feel like a broken record when I say that it is imperative for Portugal to build a more capable midfield trio. Suffice it to say, Moutinho, Meireles, and Veloso failed to have the impact in Brazil that they had in Euro 2012.

Many have perhaps unfairly placed all of the blame for the midfield’s underperformance on Paulo Bento for not starting William Carvalho. But even though I agree that Bento’s decision to keep the promising Sporting product on the bench was incorrect, I would like to provide some context to that discussion that I feel has been left out. In order to be fair to Bento it must be said that he is not to blame for Joao Moutinho’s inconspicuous display in this World Cup. Moutinho, most would agree, has been our best midfielder over the last couple of years, and his role in driving Portugal’s counterattacks is often overlooked. In this tournament, Moutinho simply underachieved.

Against the USA, there was one moment in particular just before halftime that epitomized Moutinho’s World Cup. The Monaco midfielder received the ball in space in the center of the pitch and looked up to see Ronaldo ready to make one of his trademark runs behind the American defence. Having seen this situation play out many times over the years, I was immediately on the edge of my seat waiting for Moutinho to play that killer ball he is so very capable of. Much to my dismay, instead of connecting what should have been a routine lob over an advancing defender, Moutinho’s poor pass was intercepted, leaving Ronaldo furious at having missed an opportunity to be sent through on goal.

But I digress. My point is this: if Portugal want to succeed at Euro 2016, they’ll need more than just the addition of William Carvalho in midfield. Yes, William is the future; I’m not disputing that. But if Portugal fans think that William can do it alone, they are mistaken. The reason Portugal’s midfield trio was so strong in Euro 2012 was because they worked together. William is the cornerstone in midfield upon which this squad can be rebuilt, but Portugal will remain disjointed if Moutinho cannot recover his lost form.

Furthermore, with Paulo Bento slated as manager through Euro 2016, it is still questionable as to whether one or both of Meireles and Veloso continue on in Portugal’s midfield. One would think that at least Meireles (31) has seen his last major tournament. Assuming that Moutinho can become the player he once was, and that William will continue his meteoric rise, the Selecao will need another top class midfielder to emerge. And that, as we all know, is a tough ask. Players like Sporting duo Adrien Silva and Andre Martins have had their moments, but can they become top class players? Bento is great at maintaining squad cohesion to a well-known and thoroughly discussed fault, but has yet to demonstrate that he can find the right talent to replace the old guard.

The Great Unknown

Perhaps of greater concern is what will become of Cristiano Ronaldo. Portugal’s talisman will be 31 yrs old by Euro 2016, and it is not guaranteed that he will be as effective as he once was. Ronaldo’s game is heavily dependent on his speed and physical strength, both of which should theoretically diminish as he enters his 30s. Before I go on, I would just like to pause and say that I think there is every reason to expect Ronaldo to be in top form for the Euros. I’m simply exploring the possibility that he has lost a step or two because someday that will happen.

Aside from Ronaldo, Portugal are actually lacking stand-out wingers at the moment. Vierinha, Varela, and Nani, all bring quality to the squad in their own way, but none are capable of balancing the threat of Cristiano Ronaldo. Varela lacks the technical ability. Nani is not direct enough, often hesitating for far too long instead of pressing the issue. Vierinha still looks out of his depth at this level and will be 30 in 2016. Portugal badly need Bruma, Marcos Lopes, or some other starlet to make a breakthrough.

To be specific, Portugal need a player with the intelligence, speed, and technical ability to make those scything diagonal runs across midfield that Ronaldo is so famous for. Indeed, it is Ronaldo’s acute situational awareness, intuitive exploitation of space, and his willingness to pull defences apart with his movement that make him so valuable to Portugal, not just his finishing.

Many have suggested that it is time to make Ronaldo our number nine. If Portugal cannot find a suitable striker in the next two years, I might be inclined to agree if we can find a player who can provide a similar threat when cutting infield from wide positions. The cost of putting Ronaldo at center forward is that he will no longer be able to open up the pitch the way he does now and Portugal cannot afford that (i.e. Portugal/Ronaldo’s flat World Cup 2010). If we make Ronaldo our number nine, we will need another number seven.

Currently I do not even have the time or space to discuss the need for key defenders to replace the aging duo of Pepe and Bruno Alves plus right back Joao Pereira. Nor will I delve into the necessity of tactical adjustments that should accompany the introduction of fresh young talent. Moreover, Portugal have found themselves in a somewhat challenging Euro 2016 qualification group with old foes Denmark joining an always competitive Serbian squad along with up-and-comers Armenia, who were quite close to grabbing a playoff spot for this year’s World Cup.

But it all begins with Albania, where once again Portugal will have to find a way past an inferior opponent that will likely park the bus and play entirely on the counterattack. And Portugal, badly in need of a squad makeover, will have to do this without the fresh perspective of a new manager to reshape the team. You know what they say: “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Força Seleção.

by Nathan Motz
Comments (64)
euro qualifying 2016 bentos call ups heres some names
64 Sunday, 24 August 2014 02:42
nelson costa,,,,canada
sporting braga,,,rafa eder ruben micael fw salvador argo fw pedro tiba ,,,sevilhas diogo figueiras rb,,,dm daniel carrico,,sergio oliveira cm,,,miguel rodrigues cb ,,
portugal youth footballers
63 Saturday, 09 August 2014 14:17
nelson costa,,,,canada
on comment 62 jaime, usa i totally agree portugal is not done for the furture we have any army of youth footballers who reached the semifinals of euro u17 and the final of euro u19 stars like marcos lopes andre silva gelson silva ,,,heres portugals furture ,,gk anthony lopes ,,,central def ,paulo oliviera tiago llori,,edgar le ,,luis neto ,,left backs coentrao ,antunes ,,right backs ,,silvio , cedric ,,,defensive mid ,,william carvalho ,,,agostinho ca ,central mid,,,joao moutinho ,,andre gomes ,joao mario ,,adrien silva ,,,joao carlos texiera ,,josue ,,attacking mid ,,rafa silva ,,bernardo silva ,,bruno fernandes ,,right wingers ,,carlos mane ,,nani ,,ricardo horta ,,toze , pizzi ,,left wingers ronaldo bruma ,ivan cavaliero ,,ricardo esgaia ,,strikers helder costa eder ,bebe
Future
62 Friday, 25 July 2014 13:02
jaime/USA
I hear all this talk on here that we are done in the future without Ronaldo. After watching a few U19 games I beg to differ. That team plays attacking Portuguese style football and uses their attack as their defense. The team plays as a collective. From the passing game that I have seen thus far, they put the national team to same. In lopes, I finally see possibly the beginning of a Rui Costa or Deco. Martins reminds me of Ronaldo when he was younger with his dribbling abilities. Andre Silva looks like the real deal at striker. If they keep this team together and keep developing them throughout the years with getting them playing time at the club level, I think our future is actually very bright indeed.
@ Adam C Queiroz
61 Thursday, 24 July 2014 11:58
Vasco da Gama / NL
We don´t know exactly what happened between the players and C Queiroz, we don´t exaclt what happened with Nani, etc. But anybody could understand that something was wrong "in the kingdom of Denmark", already for some time...

We know he had support from players and we know that at the end he lost it. We know the team was united before and divided after. We know the team played professionally and cohesive before but not after.

We know we had a better squad in 2010 than 2012 and 2014.

We know he didn´t take responsibility for anything and always shoved it to the players. We know the team never had a game plan, except during the world cup.

Which was to defend with 10 and leave CR do everything else, on his own.

Is this "negative tactics"? I agree POR needs tactical discipline. This is something we always need. Something that allowed us to reach the semis in 2006, worked in 2012 and failed in 2014.

But tactical discipline does not mean defend with 10 and leave one guy alone to do a miracle. And when he doesn´t, tell the media he´s an immature player, not willing to do his job for national team, while he himself as coach didn´t even take responsibility for the tactics and strategy.

His strategy was always to blame somebody else for his failures. That´s why he was a bad coach and that is why the team always played bad under him.

We know CQ benched Deco because he made comments, which weren´t even bad. We know he insulted Pepe (for what?).

When CR pointed the finger at him, after elimination with the cameras showing the world him asking his team mates to go up the pitch in support, it was more than justified. He was just giving CQ a bit of his own poison.

CR was arguably the best player in the world, CR always did what each and every NT coach told him to do. Just now in 2014, he was injured and was often one of the few that did the actual running.

And, at the end of the day, who is Carlos Queiroz...? He build the GG with Nelo Vingada, he was a good Man Utd assistant coach and he was a perfect flop every time he was was the main coach. Except, perhaps, with Iran in WC2014...

He never won a World Cup... Not even with Brasil...

I´m not making a case for Scolari. I´m just pointing the obvious. We always had a squad. With him we got results. Consistently. With others not. Sometimes performing terribly.

Therefore, I conclude there might be some cause-effect there...


I agree the FPF didn´t fire CQ in the best way. But he didn´t make it easy either. First mistake was to have hired him. Fata mistake was to not fire him asap, after WC 2010. After that, things would always get ugly...

Looking at the future, I trusted P Bento until 2012. After 2014 I have doubts, because not everything were injuries, Germany and bad luck...

Although we clearly played below par, the USA is traditionally a very difficult team for Portugal. Imagine in the Amazon, with a crippled CR... USA belongs to "those" teams that are difficult for us but easy for others. Just like there are teams that are easy for us but very hard for others...
Queiroz-Let's be fair
60 Wednesday, 23 July 2014 23:53
Adam/Canada
I disliked his tactics against Spain. I think that allowing Spain to have possession, which is what they love, parking the bus and sending long balls to Ronaldo, is not a good plan. I'm sure the Portuguese players agree. However, it almost worked, and if it had beaten Spain, either through a lucky goal or a shoot out, this entire conversation would be different.

Blaming Queiroz for the 4-4 against Cyprus, or any aspect of our qualification is silly considering that he was suspended by Autoridade Antidopagem de Portugal in August. That was yet another example of our "brilliant" Federation nearly ruining our qualification because they didn't like a manager.

What I like most about Queiroz was how difficult it was for teams to score on us. We conceded ONE goal in 4 games the entire World Cup in 2010, and now in 2014, we conceded SEVEN goals in 3 games!

What I liked most about Bento was that we had a base team that had chemistry, but it made us too predictable and our players too complacent.
Parking the bus vs, Defending Well
59 Wednesday, 23 July 2014 23:41
Adam/Canada
If you look at Germany, or Argentina, this World Cup, or Spain in previous ones. No one would accuse them of "parking the bus", even though they are incredibly cautious, run back to their positions as soon as they lose the ball, and are incredibly organized.

Small teams like Iran are labelled as "parking the bus" because they don't have the offensive capabilities, but Iran had more than their fair share of chances against Argentina. They just didn't finish them.

We have the attacking power and talent; it comes naturally to us. What doesn't come naturally to ANY team is defensive organization. That doesn't mean "park the bus". It means we mark forwards outside and inside the box on corners, it means we know exactly what to do when we lose the ball. I'm tired of watching us losing to IRELAND 2-0, and then wait for Ronaldo to rescue us 3-2.

If we keep a game 0-0, we always have a chance to win, and with Ronaldo, we have a VERY good chance to have at least 1 goal (and maybe more).

Instead of trying to win every game 4-0, our objective should be to not allow these small teams to score on us, but at the moment, EVERY team should believe they can score on us because we always concede at least one goal.

Also, stop talking about Keepers. The Portuguese League is the 4th strongest league in Europe, and Rui Patricio plays for the team that came in 2nd last season. He's the best we have.
Agree $ disagree
58 Wednesday, 23 July 2014 22:45
Melo
@Vasco da Gama

I respect your comments ,everyone on here deserves the right to have their say and have their opinion. Some very good points you made that are true but we really do not know what really happened with the players and Queiroz.
I remember Deco in his last year playing for Portugal, he was horrible,his passing was off,and he couldn't lift the ball up off of corner kicks. I also remember Ronaldo walking away from reporters telling them to ask Queiroz not him what went wrong, He was the captain and should have showed more respect to the coach and not directed the blame towards someone else. Trust me I think Ronaldo is the heart, without him the team is below average. Pepe was playing defensive mid and was doing a great job for Queiroz, the team was supposed to be more than the individual (just like sir Alex) would of coached the team. Paulo Bento has to be one of the biggest let downs as a coach ... Losing 4-0 to Germany is not bad,but to have your players lose their heads should have been pounded into the players to keep their cool on the field and in the dressing room.
Not a horrific start to a World Cup...but to tie the USA was the dumbest coaching I have ever seen... This guy does not deserve another shot at coaching the National Team. Portugal found Brazil...what more of a great Story would have that been. The Greatest chance of a lifetime lost... what a dream

(Bento) no dreams in that guy's head, please people don't tell me I'm a dreamer ,how many times do you hear Athletes say "it's a Dream come true"
Striker problem? Talk to André Silva
57 Tuesday, 22 July 2014 21:03
Vasco da Gama / NL
POR 6 - HUN 1. Well done. Great squad. Hope we do well against AUS.
Manuel José
56 Tuesday, 22 July 2014 13:19
Vasco da Gama / NL
Apparently he was in the pipeline to become the coach of the Selecção, back in 2002. Then Scolari went instead. I don´t know what happened in between.

http://www.record.xl.pt/Futebol/selecoes/interior.aspx?content_id=131778

I seem to remember M José always had people against him. Mainly the "football intellectuals". Not unlike some players and/or coaches, that say what needs to be said and don´t give much for being "politically correct".
@Adam Canada
55 Tuesday, 22 July 2014 00:58
Winnipeg Canada
Not sure who would be happy with Quieroz's "negative tactics" in the 4-4 draw with Cyprus during the 2012 Euro Qualifiers? Allowing 4 goals against a team like Cyprus is the equivalent of allowing 7 against Germany (possibly worse).

Queiroz's negative tactics as the NT coach in 1991-93 left him with a winning record of 43%. Not very effective.

Germany and Brazil have won the World Cup more times than any other teams and they don't play "negative tactics" like the examples you posted (Italy and Spain).

In fact, when Scolari won the 2002 WC Brazil scored 18 goals and Germany scored 14 in that tournament. It was not a walk through the park to win the WC as you suggest and both teams played offensively.

Portugal's strengths right now are on the offensive side of the pitch so they need to play to their strengths. Yes you can shore up your defenders (e.g. take Pereira out) and your defensive mid-fielders (e.g. take Mereiles out) but you have to focus on creating chances if that is your strength. We are not Greece, nor Iran, nor any other team that parks the bus.

The most important piece we need right now is actually a goaltender who is poised and can make a save. Beto is not the answer either.
all these things...
54 Monday, 21 July 2014 23:31
Vasco da Gama / NL
I was also impressed with the 3-0 against Israel. And those 3 players.

Brasil 2002 was risking not even qualifying, until they called Scolari. Then they won the whole thing. That´s why they called him again for the home World-Cup. Since 2002, BRA only reached the semis now, in 2014.

The problems between Queiroz and the players were not because Queiroz was defensive. That´s a myth. Another myth is that CR didn´t like him (he actually said Queiroz was the perfect choice, when he had been appointed) because he had to play as #9.

His relationship with the players was bad, he divided the team, they played bad (the only thing they did good was defend, but they didn´t really do much more), he blamed players that had more than proven their loyalty and had given more than him (including CR, which had backed him up early), almost insulted them (Deco and Pepe), and after all this, for him it was kinda OK that we lost to Spain because they became champions.

It´s one think to loose against Spain in 2012, another entirely different is to loose it like we did in 2010. Strangely, he never felt responsible for anything (?)... We crash out, the team implodes, etc, but for him it was all fine and if something was wrong it was always the players. He was above the mortals...

Naturally when he wasn´t sacked, a lot of players just quit.


I´m not sure P Bento doesn´t believe in youth. I think he was just afraid of changing. But he clearly failed in the choice of the 23 and he clearly failed by not having a plan for a smooth renewal (again, a team is 23 + back-up options; not immutable 11 and then we´ll see what happens with whoever is there...). Reality forced him to do an abrupt renewal, during the World-Cup...

I absolutely trusted him, after euro 2012 and after picking up the pieces, after Queiroz. But I´m still digesting how could he take 2 (out of 3) strikers knowing they were on the risk of injury (Éder and Postiga), how could he not take a natural left-back, and other choices that defy imagination...

I believe there´s some past issues between M José and the FPF. But I really don´t know much about it. I think M José is a good coach and could be a good option. But he talks too much.

I think F Santos must be drooling to get the job. But I´m not sure he´ll do better than P Bento. POR isn´t Greece.

Ultimately, we just need a coach that firmly believes he can go all the way.

Again, as far as squad, I insist the coach should try Rafa, Carvalho and Moutinho in midfield; find a steady sub for left-back, start calling natural right-backs to fill in for Pereira, start trying out more strikers. Including the kids.

And I´m starting to think more and more that we´re going to talk a lot still about that kid Ronny. Imagine him playing with CR, in front of Moutinho and Carvalho... They´re far from being a finished product but there´s only one way they´ll become one.
coaches
53 Monday, 21 July 2014 02:16
nelson costa ,,,canada
brazil will name there new coach on tuesday by the looks of it it will be dunga here we all picking on bento whos done an amazing job since taking over losing in the shootouts of euro 2012 to spain but still i would like to see some one like manuel jose or fernando santos even andre villas boas taking over the national team what bento needs to do is call up our youth marcos lopes a younger players for the euro 2016 qualifying
Youth movement
52 Sunday, 20 July 2014 19:11
Jaime/usa
I agree with the last post. I watched the game too and was impressed by the pressing game. Looks more like the Portuguese way I playing. I was impressed by Lopes and Silva, but also by Martins. His runs up the channel were amazing..
what the doctor ordered...
51 Sunday, 20 July 2014 13:35
Vasco da Gama / NL
I think this might just be what the doctor ordered... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYJNVlS4d28
@winnypeg canada
50 Sunday, 20 July 2014 09:22
hareesh,kerala/india
Nice point.Interesting.But I think Bento have no faith in youth.We can expect the same line up for euro 2016 qualifiers.The same Veloso,Meireles,Nani,Postiga,Almeida....and William,Rafa on the bench.yes.only on bench.If Bento was the coach at the time of Euro 2000 what would be the future of Ronaldo?Thank God...Ronaldo escaped...but what will be the future of Carlos Mane,Marcos Lopes,Bruma,Cavaleiro,Bernardo Silva,Bruno Fernandes,Bebe etc etc...under this NT coach...PATHETIC...They may get their chances only after the retirement of Veloso,Meireles,Postiga,Almeida,Alves,Perreira,Nani.....Their playing years will be very short...
@Winnipeg Canada
49 Saturday, 19 July 2014 23:52
Adam/Canada
Scolari won a World Cup with the most talented Brazilian squad since the 1970s. That team didn't need managing. You have watched THIS World Cup? And giving YOUTH a chance? Why didn't he give a chance to Ricardo Quaresma when he was in his prime at 20, 22, 24? (but instead, bringing "super star" Luis Boa Morte?).

The reason Queiroz had problems with the players is because they didn't like his negative tactics, but you NEED negative tactics: sometimes, you just need to grind out a 1-0 and move on. If we won that World Cup in 2010, there wouldn't have been any problems. All the problems started after we lost to Spain (to an offside goal). Argentina was boring the entire tournament and reached the final. Spain has been boring for years and they won 2 Euros and World Cup. Italy has always been boring and they've won FOUR World Cups. Anyone else tired being entertaining and exiting right away? We are just like England. Iran was one of the most tactically solid teams. They kept Messi quiet for nearly the entire game; you can GUARANTEE that Queiroz would never lose 7-1 to Germany.

Talking about Scolari actually makes me appreciate Bento. We can say, "well, at least we don't have Scolari" whose teams don't even look like they have any semblance of strategy or tactics. They are just all emotion. Bento has actually succeeded on the club level (the true test of a manager), and Scolari's failure at Chelsea laughably resulted in him ending up in the Uzbekistan league.

Hopefully, one day we will have an exceptional manager AND we allow him to do his job.
#1 Jose Mourinho
#2 Jorge Jesus
#3 Leonardo Jardim
#4 Andre Villas Boas
Scolari is Legit... Youth Movement is Key
48 Saturday, 19 July 2014 20:17
Winnipeg Canada
All these posts slamming Scolari need to check themselves. Especially those coming to defend Queiroz... the guy that was about to lead Portugal out of qualifying for the 2012 Euro and who created turmoil among the players (and don't get me started on Bento).

Back to Scolari...

First he WON a freaking WORLD CUP. That should be enough except we get these arm chair Managers talking smack (what have you won).

Second, Scolari is a tactician and has a feel for the game. Remember Figo apologizing to him after Postiga made him eat crow with his 83rd minute substitution goal vs England in Quarter Finals of Euro 2004.

Third, he BELIEVES in YOUTH. Cristiano Ronaldo was just a little 19 year old punk in Euro 2004 like Bruma, William, etc, are today (minus the earrings). Prior to Euro 2004 Ronaldo had scored 6 goals (not a misprint) in 40 games with United. He hadn't "proved himself" but Scolari recognized the talent.

I don't need to go on.

I watched the U19 squad today and again I see some potential superstars that will get squashed by these inbreed managers who refuse to BELIEVE IN OUR YOUTH. Names like Marcos Lopes (a creative, power forward) and Andre Silva (a legit finisher striker) and even Mauro Riquicho (a right back who reminds me of Miguel).

Until we can infuse Youth into our system we will never reach the next level. Of course GERMANY is the poster child for Youth at the moment but there are other classic examples. Look at CHILE. Today's team is basically the U20 WC team of 2007. They gave those players time to develop at the Senior Men's National Team level and look at their squad.

Portugal has a bright future but we can't keep these future superstars under a rock.
Interesting Trivia
47 Saturday, 19 July 2014 14:00
Jaime/USA
Here is some trivia for you....in the last
2 World Cups, the team that beat Portugal went on to win the World Cup...Interesting...
Putting Past behind by Repeating it
46 Saturday, 19 July 2014 13:14
Vasco da Gama/ Holland
We can all speculate about the reasons for the failures of the past. But to do so ignoring the facts, seems to be it itself one of the biggest reasons for them.

POR is a chronicle underachiever, the team stinks of fear and amateurism and this gets worse in world cups. I could understand if we didn´t have quality players or if they were underachievers or amateurs or chickens. But that´s never the case. I could understand if our coaches were tactically incompetent. But they aren´t.

How to explain it? How to understand?

This trend was however not observed when we reached ONE EC Final (in a life time) followed by ONE WC semi-final (in 40 years), followed by a QF in 2008.

For some, the QF in 96 was overachieving but the one in 2008 was underachieving. I see it the other way around. POR 96 was far stronger than POR 08.

QF in 96 and 08 and SF in 00 were coherent with our level and should be regarded as normal. They aren´t, because what was normal was to crash out early and shamefully in 86, 02, 10, 14, and/or not even qualify in 94, 98, etc.


I don´t see P Bento having what it takes to do what is necessary. He had what it took to do what was needed, back in 2011 and 2012. But that´s not what we needed in WC 2014 and it´s not what we need now.

We always need somebody capable of bringing: cohesive team, strength, organization, structure. On top of that, now we also need renewal. We have a lot of excellent new talent, but too young, too inexperienced, not used to playing at high level.

The POR coach now has further to work out the midfield questions, there´s no way out any more; the striker (we must be prepared to have a non-optimal solution, so, we need to start working on one as much as possible); an iron solution for the Coentrão substitute and stick to it (perhaps not a right-footed left-back); progressive renewal of the right-back (Pereira still has it for Euro 2016 but not much more); work-out a B-plan for the wings (Nani was far from good and Vieirinha is getting old); work-out a team B-plan to allow CR more loose in attack without compromising defense; work-out a more defensive team C-plan without compromising attack.

It doesn´t look easy. Then again, while POR is extremely poor in obtaining results, it´s usually excellent in performing miracles...

I would like to see Rafa, with Moutinho and Carvalho in the middle. I don´t think Nani is a good option as a starting 11 right-winger.

I think F Santos is available, V Pereira too. Are they better than P Bento...? Are they up to it?

van Gaal is taken (I doubt he´d want to coach POR or that the FPF could pay him). Mourinho is too busy making Chelsea 2050, etc, etc, etc...

I´ve been watching POR slowly, but surely, go back to the Dark Ages (like somebody said). It started in 2010, the brief and inconsistent exception of 2012 gave a breath of air, but 2014 was the nail in the coffin, the confirmation.

I wonder if our next world-cup semi-final will be in 2046, for this or that small reason but for no big reason in particular...

Perhaps then it will be clearer what a waste of talent it has been for Portugal and portuguese players. And what makes the machine tick and what doesn´t...
Portugal
45 Saturday, 19 July 2014 10:06
JF/UK
Scolari and Bento have the same weakness, "loyalty" to players that is greater than the desire to do what's best for the team. David Luiz single-handily destroyed Brazil (Mourinho knew he was a liability ) and Bento stuck to tired twilight career midfield and strikers.
Euro 2016
44 Thursday, 17 July 2014 14:37
Filipe/ UK
Here's my prediction for Portugal's 11 in 2016

---------------------Patricio------------------
Cedric-------Ilori--------Pepe------Fabio
---------------------William------------------
----------Moutinho-------Rony Lopes---
Bruma----------------------------Cristiano
----------------------Eder--------------------
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes, Beto
(Lopes will be a good young replacement for Rui, Beto will provide experience)
Defense: Silvio, Paulo Oliveira, Alves
(Silvio could cover both flanks and Alves is our vice captain and an important voice)
Midfielders: Andre Gomes, Veloso, Joao Mario
Forwards: Carlos Mane, Nani, Nelson Oliveira.
Other options:
Adrien, Goncalo Paciencia, Iuri Medeiros, Danilo Pereira, Ricardo Horta, Joao Pereira, Miguel Rodrigues, Antunes
Of course, this dependent on performances prior to the tournament.
@melo Completely agree.
43 Thursday, 17 July 2014 01:04
Adam/Canada
Our strongest squads were in 2004 and 2006, and it was in spite of Scolari (not because of him), that we got as far as we did.

Scolari got the rare opportunity to play the same team TWICE in Euro 2004, and he made the same mistakes against Greece. He had a squad mostly composed of Champions League-winning Porto (minus Vitor Baia and I still don't understand that). Ricardo was only good at saving penalties. Scolari should've had Vitor Baia and pulled a Van Gaal, by substituting Ricardo for a penalty shoot out. Vitor Baia could actually punch out a corner kick and protect Portugal from ranged efforts, but losing to a team that had never won a game in a Euro in Portugal is a disgrace, and he should've been fired immediately.

The Portuguese Federation should be ashamed of how they treated Queiroz, who very likely would've been managing Manchester United had he not answered Portugal's call. Portugal never looked so defensively solid. You need to be a little boring to win tournaments. Italy was boring. Spain was boring. Argentina nearly just won it, and they were boring. We lost to the eventual World Champions on an offside goal. That's not an embarrassment. Instead, the federation goes through this whole charade to have him fired. Queiroz is the only manager to ever win anything with the Portugal team and he is replaced by a manager who only won a few domestic cups with Sporting? I don't understand.
BEBE
42 Wednesday, 16 July 2014 10:50
Ahmad/Lebanon
It seems that 99% Bebe is off to Benfica, this could spark the solution for the national team's striker's problem. I hope J.J deals with him properly so that he'll be mature enough for Euro 2016.
Putting the Past Behind
41 Tuesday, 15 July 2014 21:56
Mental
I am afraid that with Bento, it will be more like "Putting your Behind Back in the Past"
Youth
40 Tuesday, 15 July 2014 13:19
Nelson / Toronto
Portugal is stacked with POTENTIAL at the youth level and we've had very good showings recently at pretty much every youth level U21, U20, U19, U17 have all shown potential and some really nice flare (remember Portugal at Euro 96 the team that invented the term Sexy Football, well that's how some of these youth teams are playing, amazing midfielders and wing players.) Having said that none of them have won championships; the U19 have a good shot at winning the U19 euro championship this year and Benfica went to the finals of the Youth Champions League last year eventually losing to Barca but the team was mainly portuguese players. Hopefully we'll see a transition at Benfica in the next few years where they start integrating this high potential players into the main squad.

My point however is that these guys are potential stars but until they prove themselves in a top league they remain only prospects there is a big jump in talent and mentality and physical play from the B league to the A league in any championship. Does anyone remember a couple of years ago when Vaz Te was scoring at will in the championship league in England people wanted him to be brought into the Portugal team right then and now to solve our striker problem. The fact is when West Ham got promoted back to the Premier League he wasn't able to score. This is why I laugh when people are calling for Edger Ie and Agostinho Ca to be called up. Why because they warm the bench on Barcelona B? They are examples of two players that were hyped up because they got bought by Barca but if you ever saw either of them play for the Portugal youth teams you'd probably agree with me that they're crap (potential yes, but some of the worst players on the youth teams).

I'm excited about Marcos Lopes because he is going to get regular playing time in France and hopefully the champions league next year. Bruma still excites me but the Turkish league will kill his potential if he doesn't move soon. To develop you need to play against the best week in and week out. Playing in the champions league every few weeks won't really help develop Bruma. I'm hoping the rumours of Bruma moving to England happens or else he will be the next Quaresma.
Future Lineup
39 Tuesday, 15 July 2014 13:08
DL/Toronto, ON
A totally inexperienced, completely experimental lineup for Euro 2016:

-------------------------------Anthony Lopes---------------------------------
Edgar Ie-------Tiago Ilori-----------Tiago Ferreira--------Coentrao
---------Moutinho----------W. Carvalho------------Joao Mario------------
Bruma-----------------------Rony Lopes---------------------Ronaldo

I'm really hoping one of Rony Lopes or Goncalo Pacienca turn into a good striker. Lord knows we've earned one.
Tactical variations to POR 4-3-3
38 Tuesday, 15 July 2014 00:57
Pedro / Holland
I´d like to elaborate a bit more on the tactical variations I mentioned below, which could maximize our team, according to the players we have now. Some were tested by P Bento, some were used by others, some might not make sense at all...

4-3-3 classic:
CR + winger + striker

Variations:

4-3-3 with 3 wingers:
CR + 2 wingers up front

4-3-3 with fake #9 / 4-6-0:
Att mid in the hole + no striker

4-3-3 with fake #10:
Winger as #10 (P Bento used Nani several times)

4-3-3 with fake #8 / fake 4-4-2 classic:
Winger in midfield goes wide as CR cuts in (P Bento tried Coentrão; Ancelotti does this in Real with Di Maria)

4-4-2 diamond with 1 winger:
Diamond midfield, CR + striker up front

4-4-2 diamond with 2 wingers:
Diamond midfield, CR + att winger up front

4-4-2 diamond with fake #8 / fake 4-3-3:
Winger in midfield goes up and wide; CR cuts in from the wing + striker up front

Any comments?
Learning from the Past
37 Monday, 14 July 2014 22:46
melo
Well done people, some very intelligent comments mentioned here. I've enjoyed reading some very interesting posts which i couldn't agree with more.
Scolari... what a disaster he was, I will be the first to say on this thread that Portugal choked at euro 2004 because of his lack of tactical inexperience. I have been on this site for years and was never a favourite fan of him. Judge for yourselves, look back at the team that Portugal had, with the right Coach iI think Portugal would have been World and Euro champs easily.

Lets put Germany aside for now ,since they have been a World power in football forever... no need to compare them with
Portugal we were never in their league until the last decade.

I want to talk about Greece... how far has this team come? They have won a Euro Cup, missed out on the following World Cup but have looked strong and impressive of late and have moved up in rankings all this considering their league sucks.

How are they winning? some would argue that they park the bus (so what if they do...) against opponents with much more talent, all that counts is the end result ,do we agree? is that a tactical plan? if it is, then the coach has done brilliant job hasn't he? He choose the right players and had all on board to achieve what the team wanted, to go as far as they could and become a team in Europe that will contend in major tournaments.

Carlos Queiroz was a good coach for Portugal that parked the bus but was unlucky .Portugal could not score if their life depended on it .He tactically resorted to a Defensive plan and if given the time would of achieved his goal,we were becoming a great defensive team and in time the goals would of come.

Carlos Q had pressure from the likes of Ronaldo, Portuguese
Media, the Portuguese Federation all wanting to promote the world's best player.If his plan had panned out I believe Ronaldo would of had some Trophy by now 100%.

Bento Bento Bento with all do respect... is not the direction I think Portugal should go... Remember Greece (German coach) and now a Portuguese but Greece's Football Federation has a lot of input in the direction they want to go (they are pulling the strings)
Remember Raul from Spain? Spanish football was going in another direction and the Great Raul was not included. The Portuguese federation are cowardly in making key decisions what will happen when Ronaldo hangs up his boots? Another 40 years of missing out on major tournaments?

Plan now and forget about individual players.
QUESTION ???
36 Monday, 14 July 2014 21:28
Mario/USA
Unfortunately it looks as if Bento will stay on. There has been many here including myself calling for the introduction of new faces going into the Euro qualifying. I am wondering if Bento does call these youngsters up, are we willing to accept the possibility of these names not living up to the expectations? Are we willing to accept their growing pains and reserve criticism on Bento if we do not qualify with the new bunch?

I agree with a lot of comments made here but I think the selecao has to be very careful with how they move forward from here. I really hope they get this right or that Bento at least tries to introduce some fresh new faces. I am ok with taking the chance of it backfiring on us because anything at all at this point is better than our options now. A majority of these players have peaked including CR7 and will only be older the next time these tournaments come around. Its a transitional time for the team.

Lets leave the old generation behind, we have seen what they can do. Lets hope Bento and the federation end their stubbornness and politics and MOVE FORWARD!!!
@ MDC, Germany, Portugal
35 Monday, 14 July 2014 20:08
Val/Canada
16 of the 23 players that won the world cup for Germany play in the German league. Of the 7 players not currently playing in Germany, only 1 did NOT start his career there (Mustafi) the other 6 all spent the major portions of their careers and starts in the bundesliga. So that’s 22/23 homegrown players.

Germany won the U-21 in 2009, the under 19 in 2008. This was building up, Germany didnt just win out of the blue.

There was a financial and structural plan put in place by the German FA for this to happen. Germany can thank their home league for this title. Would this EVER happen in Portugal? I agree 100% with MDC.

“The only difference is that Low and the Bundesliga has the belief in youth that bigger Liga Zon Sagres clubs and Bento do not.”
- MDCViolenes- NY, USA


It is easy to blame the big 3 Portuguese clubs for not helping to develop the home grown talent but running off to Russia/Turkey/Middle East for 5 million, instead of the 4 million they would get in a top 5 league, doesn’t help either.

The problem is obviously more complex than this, but this is generally speaking.

Portugal need a major squad overhaul and someone who leads from the back (youth, development mixed with key players, best players play - period) not from the front (pass to Ronaldo…pray to God) is Bento that man?

I don’t think any fan minds losing as long as you know there is a plan going on. Is there one? That I think is what infuriates us all. That first game v Albania and the lineup Bento box shows up with will tell all us fans what we are in store for.
don't rely only on youngsters.. Experience matters alot
34 Monday, 14 July 2014 18:22
Jalil Malik/Pakistan
Just dont rely only on youngsters We should also prepare combination of youngsters and experience players like germany so that we have a chance to do well in euro 2016..

Here are my options of the squad..

Central Defenders:
Pepe,Tiago illori,Luis Neto,Edgar le, Paulo Oliviera

Left Backs:
Fabio Coentrao, Antunes

Right Backs:
Cedric, Silvio, Joao Periera

Defensive Midfielders:
William Carvalho, Andre Almieda, Agostinho ca

Central Midfielders:
Joao Moutinho, Ruben Amorim, Josue, Andre Gomes, Joao Mario, Adrien Silva, Joao Carlos Texiera

Attacking Midfielders:
Bernardo Silva, Rafa Silva, Bruno Fernandes

Left Wingers:

Cristiano Ronaldo, Quaresma, Bruma, Marcos Lopes, Ivan Caveliero, Ricardo Esgaio

Right Wingers:
Nani, Varela, Carlos Mane, Toze Carvalho, Ricardo Horta,
Vieirinha, Pizzi

Strikers:
Bebe, Nelson Oliviera, Goncalo Pacencia, Helder Costa, helder Postiga, Eder
Alemanha
33 Monday, 14 July 2014 17:53
MDCViolenes- NY, USA
Foremost, hats off to Germany. I'm glad the team that looked strongest throughout came through and I think Portugal among other countries can learn from their blueprint and change in their football development over the last few years.

Regarding coaching, plenty of Germans gave Low crap for years, saying he couldn't get much right but I admire Joachim Low for what he's done with his team for the last four plus years. Qualifying was a breeze, then pre-tournament friendlies had some bumps but nothing unsolvable. The way he prepped his team and having that custom made camp in Bahia also made them look like they had so much invested in winning this World Cup.

What stands out most to me though is his willingness to give extremely young, but talented players with UPSIDE the chance to shine on the World stage. I look at guys like Müller and Klose especially-- dudes who can't always get a game for Bayern or find a goal for their clubs respectively, yet they've been playing for Germany for what seems like forever now. Sometimes club form is irrelevant as some guys do it all in the shirt of their country and are not as good at club level.

I've never been that interested in hearing about age on the international stage. Talent, mental fortitude, tactical fit, and upside sound good to me. It takes heart to do what Low has done, blooding young players early and letting them gain confidence and experience with the national team. He gave Müller the keys at age 20, and he could very well reach Ronaldo and Klose's goal tallies as he's still only 24 and on 10 goals already. Özil began his rise in South Africa as well. Their team is young, but confident thanks to Low and the work of Bundesliga club teams by giving them opportunities. Only France in '58 had more goals by players under 26 in a World Cup. We can't know how talented our Portuguese players are if money and club politics are involved in how much playing time they get over foreign players.

Yes it's true as another post pointed out that Bento should have the drop on the national team. We really can't know what he sees in training or scouting, so in many ways he does, or should know the team better than we ever will. But still, like I said it takes a lot of heart to put your reputation and job on the line depending on young players to carry you through. Germany has a world class core of veterans-- Scwheinsteiger, Lahm, Klose etc. Portugal has Ronaldo, Pepe, Moutinho… The correlation is there. The only difference is that Low and the Bundesliga has the belief in youth that bigger Liga Zon Sagres clubs and Bento do not. So I still of course question the clubs, and I still question Bento especially, as his inability to change tactics or lineups is indicative of his lack of trust in anyone but himself. Whether that's fear or FPF politics, I don't know. But I still look at a coach to command respect and do the job, and that's why I think if the better Portuguese coaches like Jesus or Mourinho don't want to get with the Selecção yet, then a foreign manager it must be. And not Scolari. I'll always respect him, but he's coming off of a rough job where he inexplicably chose his favourite (in some cases, wrong-- Coutinho?) players, and could not get Brasil together tactically. Somewhat similar to Bento, so I'm good on Scolari. I hate to sound pro-Germany (because trust me, I'm not), but I'm a fan of what they've achieved. Heynckes would be my choice as he played a large part in their rise, but he may not be interested as he's enjoying his time off and is choosy about what he'll do next. But if he or another manager looks closely at our core and our young players coming through, I think they'll see that there are diamonds there. A bit of rough to work through to get those diamonds, but promise for sure. I just hope that for Ron and our other top players sakes that a manager, Bento or not, gives them that younger, more talented cast to work with... However, I hope it's not Bento.
Euro Qualifying
32 Monday, 14 July 2014 17:50
portwood/Canada
With an expanded Euro for 2016 (are there really 24 teams worthy of the big stage of a major tournament? Not really!) it is a perfect opportunity to try young players.

There is little downside loosing a couple of games as all third place teams have a chance to qualify. (The best 3rd place team of the 9 groups goes in automatically and the other 8 play-off for the last 4 spots.) So, unlike previous qualifications where 2nd place risks missing out, this time there is MORE MARGIN for error.

Try the younger guys in the first couple of games. If they come through with positive results, great, we have a good future. If not, the manager can go back to the old guard to ensure a third place play-off.

Another benefit of the expanded format and greater margin for error is that Bento should stay on for one last chance to prove he can develop the next generation. FPF should then use the next 12 months to scout potential future managers - including JM.
Portuguese problem, tactics and coach
31 Monday, 14 July 2014 17:23
Pedro / Holland
I think the main reasons POR did so well in euro 2012 and so poor in worldcup 2014 are: 1) POR always does better in ECs than in WCs; 2) in 2012 the players were at least fit; 3) this time, in 2014, P Bento had to answer different questions he didn´t have to before.

About item 1, I would really like to see somebody address it, eventually. Because it´s so obvious, and so annoying, that I feel somebody should start looking at it. Would you make a post about it sometime?

About euro 2016, I don´t think qualifying is going to be a walk in the park at all. Denmark and Servia are not easy, it´s a 5 team group and traditionally we have problems with teams that pack and don´t give spaces.

About the players, we only had one Golden Generation but we always have decent to good, generations. So, something will pop up.

About the tactics, I´d like to know what you (everybody) think about variations on the 4-3-3 towards a 4-4-2 diamond, or something in between (http://www.zonalmarking.net/2009/11/14/brazil-a-4-2-3-1-or-a-midfield-diamond-neither/). I think we have the players for this and CR becoming less of a pure winger and defending less, might call for some tactical change.

I don´t think POR should abandon the 4-3-3. In fact I think it´s impossible. But I do feel there should be more options, both in the same 4-3-3 (eg CR in the middle and 2 wingers in the latter stages of a game) as well as other systems that might suit a specific situation.

Moreover, I think a 4-4-2 diamond-ish could allow fielding better players, as well as using CR and a "goal oriented" winger, or CR + a #9 up front. We just need a guy like Rafa. Moutinho is covered by the holding mid, has support from another mid, when a winger cuts in the att-mid goes wide, when the wingers strech the defense this guy goes for goal or opens space for another mid. Plus there´s a one man advantage in midfield. usually our strikers score less than a normal striker but our mids score more than normal mids.

Not really an orthodox 4-4-2 diamond. Looks good on paper, to me at least...

The 3M solution in midfield, which failed now, was greatly due to not having a pure #6. I remember not too long ago, the discussion was about having 1 or 2 holding mids. With W Carvalho as a real #6, some midfield changes will be spontaneous, because that´s a crucial point in the POR play, as well as when playing 4-3-3. Let´s see what happens.

Just to finish, when you say something like "putting the past behind", I´m afraid after Scolari (with the exception of 2012), POR has been slowly going back to what it was before him (with the exception of 2002).

Not that Scolari is the best thing since sliced bread. It´s just that before, regardless of having good players or a good team, the "under performing-bug" was omnipresent and, to me, our biggest problem. Even bigger than the lack of a #9.

It was painful to lose against the Czechs in 96, because we stopped playing. It was painful not qualifying for 94 and 98 having such great teams. It was painful to see the poor performance in 2002 having a team which could arguably have gone at least to the semis. And it was painful to see the same thing now in 2014.

It was also singularly interesting to see GER going all the way with a team that´s not particularly better than the 4-5-1 POR of 2002, playing a football we´re not strangers to. At all...

So, in order to put the past behind, I think we must first make sure we´re not walking in a circle, where moving forward leads you backwards... As you say, at the end of the day nothing really changes. That´s my biggest fear.

P Bento did a great job between 2011 and 2013. But I feel his cylce is finished. I hope I´m wrong. Because if I´m not, I don´t see who else could replace him. That is, if Mourinho is not appointed, for a special service to the Pátria...

Who do you think could, perhaps should, be our new coach?
It's a shambes
30 Monday, 14 July 2014 15:46
Joe/Canada
Portugal is in deep, deep trouble and there's no way out this time. Bento lacks courage and creativity to lead the team and the only reason Portugal was even in this WC was because of Ronaldo's goals against Sweden. It had nothing to do with Bento's coaching. On top of that we don't have enough depth in upcoming players but the few that we have aren't called up by Bento and his cronies. I am betting that although it's easier than ever to qualify for the Euro Portugal will be watching at home.
First things first
29 Monday, 14 July 2014 14:05
Ahmad/Lebanon
We can debate how our team will shape up in the next two years for hours but that won't mean anything if Portugal fail to secure immediate qualification from their group. Anything but first place, to earn more points, will almost surely mean we're heading into 2016 to be in yet another group of death. The same scenario is being repeated since 2010 and it's no coincidence that we failed to secure immediate qualification in the last 2 World Cups and Euro. The higher our ranking the better our chances are of having an easy group and hopefully evade the big dogs such as Germany whom I'm getting incredibly tired of facing and losing to every single damn time.

As for the question of how good our team will be, well to be honest the early exit in this WC helped me ponder over our situation for quite some time. Portugal's main reason why they didn't qualify was because of bad luck. Sure we can add tons of reasons such as Bento but that doesn't deny the fact that luck played the biggest part in this. 4-0 versus Germany? You'd be an idiot if you think Germany would be able to replicate that exact same result regardless of the vast difference in quality between the two teams. Had we lost just 2-0 to Germany surely we would have fought more in that final game versus Ghana, a reason why Ronaldo and others missed so many chances against Ghana (in the last 15 minutes exactly) was because deep inside they knew that they would never compensate that 4-0 loss, that's just a lot of goals! Another showcasing of bad luck was the number of injuries we got, if not mistaken by the time we ended the 3rd and final game we have 7 injuries in total, that A LOT. Many claim Bento to be a tactical idiot and a coward, perhaps rightfully so based on what we've seen in those three games, but it is truly unlucky that Portugal had to enter their final two games without Coentrao. Coentrao is the cushion that takes half of the pressure off of Ronaldo, without him we had to rely on one guy only to create the miracles. Was never gonna happen, heck even Messi managed to do crap in the last two games when his nation needed him most and he was fully fit! The time in football where one man can carry an entire nation or team is over, we were stupid to believe Ronaldo was going to do that with practically only one leg. With Coentrao and Ronaldo both injured Portugal had to face the US and Ghana with literally no left flank, no wonder we couldn't muster a convincing performance in this tournament, lady luck just didn't like us this time around. All teams need luck, Argentina were lucky not to concede in the last second of extra time against both Switzerland and Belgium, they could have easily exited the tournament by then. Germany were lucky Algeria didn't knock them out, lucky that Palacio and Higuain forgot how to football in that final and also lucky to nail a draw against Ghana, a game that they should have lost. The list goes on and on, I am 100% sure that had Coentrao been fit for the last two games Portugal would have went through regardless of how poor we played.

Euro 2016 will be the first Euro tournament to feature 24 teams which means it is now officially easier to qualify to this tournament but tougher to win it, that essentially good news for Portugal. With the new set of rules I see no reason why Portugal shouldn't qualify immediately to the Euro, even if Bento stick to the depleted bunch of players he can't seem to let go off. However when it comes to the tournament itself that's when the real worrying begins. So far no player above 30 has retired from international football which means that if Bento is crazy enough he'll still choose some of those aging players in two years time. That is not healthy at all. That being said, some things just force themselves in football; Carvalho is bound to turn into a world class footballer by then, hopefully playing in a big European team either Madrid or United, so that ensures one of Veloso or Meireles will be opted out of the selection. Bruma is someone I'm relying heavily on for the future, the guy is loaded with talent but the problem is he's still 18, in 2016 he'll be only 20 years old... too much pressure? I think so but it would mean so much if he does step up because that would mean we can finally play Bruma and Nani(?) on the flanks with Ronaldo as our striker as you mentioned. We don't seem to have any solution for our striker problem, neither do Brazil and look how that panned out for them; without a striker Portugal can never dream of winning anything and that's why we feel obliged to play Ronaldo in that role who unlike in 2010 has matured enough to play in that demanding role. It must be said that ironically enough one of the reasons why Argentina didn't win the World Cup is because they had too many strikers and Sabella was trying too hard to fit them all in his system. In defense I am hoping Ilori turns into something great, I'll be incredibly pissed if by 2016 he won't be good enough to make the squad. If he manages to make it into Liverpool's first team surely Bento will notice him even though he never noticed Fonte who plays in the same freakin league and was outstanding for Swansea during the entire league season! The talent is definitely there we just need luck to be on our side and for Ronaldo not to kill himself a few weeks before the tournament begins, he should give the national team a lot more thought when he is out there representing Real Madrid; had he chose not play the CL final then maybe things would have changed for us during the World Cup.

I won't predict anything for 2016, like I said it depends heavily on who Bento selects ahead of that tournament and if we qualify directly or not. If we secure immediate qualification I guarantee the readers that we will have an enjoyable summer in 2016; not necessarily fantastic, but enjoyable.
The youth talent is there
28 Monday, 14 July 2014 11:34
Ricardo/Portugal
It's about integrating the talent starting from our first qualifier against Albania. William, Marcos Lopes, Bruma, Mane, Joao Mario, Ilori, Cedric, etc. can all make an impact on Euro 2016.
Euro Qualifying
27 Monday, 14 July 2014 07:16
Dan B/EEUU
Unlike the author I wouldn't call the group Portugal will face in qualifying for Euro 2016 "challenging". It could barely be weaker. To suggest that Serbia is "competitive" stretches the boundaries of that term. Armenia, really? The reality is that Denmark is the only team there that is on par with Portugal qualitatively. Although Portugal has a long tradition of making the qualifying unnecessarily complicated there simply is no excuse for not qualifying in the new enlarged Euros..............where the top 2 from each group qualifies automatically & the 8 best 3rd place finishers do playoffs.

My point & my prediction is that Bento will in fact uncharacteristically use this opportunity to try out new players in the coming year. I'm no big supporter of Bento, but I think he will surprise some people here.............Regardless I'm sure there will always be some here who will be miffed that Oliveira didn't get a call up or their favorite player from Rio Ave or wherever didn't get one. It is always interesting how many people think they're much smarter than the guy who actually has the job of team selection.
Take notes from Germany
26 Monday, 14 July 2014 04:26
Joao De Bacalhau/Canada
Youth movement, more of an investment in youth academies, and Portuguese clubs need to actually develop PORTUGUESE players instead of not giving them a chance and sending them off to somewhere inferior to rot. This is why i cannot stand Liga Sagres and it's top teams.

If i don't see at least somewhat of a makeover of this squad come qualification, i won't bother watching. To name a few, Raul Meireles & Miguel Veloso are definitely names that shouldn't be called up any further.
Portugal national team
25 Monday, 14 July 2014 03:00
portugal
I think we can all agree that Portugal had a bad world cup but that being said Portugal does need some new talent lots of there players are of age there are lots of good quality players in Portugal that are of high quality they should get some players from benfica or sporting or fc Porto that are worthy of the national team . and they need to stop making excuses as to why they haven't won anything yet what Portugal needs is someone to deliver goals and win games when it really counts and as good as Christiano is he's not it because he hasn't delivered.
The Big 3.
24 Monday, 14 July 2014 00:11
Miggy/ England
I went on wiki today to have a little look at how many Portuguese players the big three have and sad to say it is Porto that is falling behind these days. Benfica may not have many players from Portugal but since Jorge Jesus is such a skilled manager at creating football stardom, you could argue that the few Portuguese players they have could go on to achieve something in the world stage either for Benfica in the short term or for other big time teams in the long term. Sporting have a great amount of players who will benefit greatly from playing in the CL - spearheaded by the likes of Adrien and W. Carvalho. Not to mention Mane and so on; with an academy so good its likely that many Portuguese players will break through the team and make an impact as 50% of the team is Portuguese. Porto however are not in favour of bringing in Portuguese players it seems. I counted 6 Portuguese players in their team. Quaresma, Varela, Lica, Josue, Ricardo Pereira and Ricardo Nunes in the entire squad! Now I'm not saying that the majority of the players ought to be from Portugal as Porto are in the business of winning titles not creating Portuguese players for the national team but since Portugal only has the big 3 as teams that can develop and prepare our players for the big bad world of international football things aren't looking too great right now.
Coach
23 Sunday, 13 July 2014 17:16
Dave/Canada
Plain and simple, the FPF need to sack Bento and hire a non Portuguese coach. Look at what Klinsmann did with a mediocre at best USA team. The best tournament results the FPF has had in recent memory is when Scolari was the coach. Sure, he speaks the same language but he doesn't come from the same country which I believe is a benefit because he brought fresh new ideas and wasn't an FPF puppet. Bring in someone that isn't Portuguese and I bet things can turn around in time for a player of Ronaldo's caliber to hopefully raise an important trophy. Too many world class Portuguese players have gone without, and it would be a shame that possibly the greatest of them all would suffer the same fate!!
My team for Euro 2016 and WC 2018
22 Sunday, 13 July 2014 13:28
hareesh,kerala/india
GK-Patricio,Lopez,Beto
CB-Ilori,P.Oliveira,Neto,Edgar Ie
RB-Cedric,Almeida
LB-Coentrao,R.Guerreiro
DM-Moutinho,J.Mario,W.Carvalho,Agostinho Ca
Wing-Ronaldo,Bruma,Cavaleiro,Mane
AM-Rafa,Bernardo Silva
FW-N.Oliveira,Bebe
in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Believe in youth!
Over-rated team with 3 or 4 world class players (CR, Coentrao, Moutinho, Pepe)
21 Sunday, 13 July 2014 04:27
Alvaro Magalhaes - London, England
We must accept that the selecao right now is no where near as good as Germany. Neither are most teams. I think they will prove too strong for Argentina today in the final. These German dudes did all their training in a huge dome with air temperature and humidity resembling what they would experience on the pitch, that's what i call preparation. oh yeah, the selecao were too busy fannying around wasting time in the USA. They obviously learnt nothing from 2002 when they wasted the talents of the likes of Rui Costa, Figo, Joao Pinto, etc and were outrun by USA and South Korea. Bento is not the man to take Portugal forward, teimoso and I will not be surprised to see Portugal struggle to qualify for Euro 2016 behind Denmark and Serbia. Depressing really.
Moutinho and William
20 Saturday, 12 July 2014 18:46
Adam/Canada
No one is suggesting that William has to do everything on his own, but with Meireles and Veloso, Moutinho has to run and chase every ball. William's exceptional ability to steal balls and pass them off, makes Moutinho better, makes Ronaldo better, eases the work our defence has to do. It makes the team better.
Striker is not the problem. IT'S ALLOWING GOALS!
19 Saturday, 12 July 2014 18:30
Adam/Canada
Look at Argentina. Look at how defensive, and frankly BORING, they have been playing. If you want to win this tournament, you HAVE to be able to grind out a 1-0.

We need a SOLID system based on TEAM WORK. That's what defines the success of Germany, not individual ability.

At THIS moment, William Carvalho MUST start. I believe he should always be paired up with Moutinho, and Ruben Amorim (who is reliable, and tactically astute).

Ronaldo always plays best coming off the left wing. So let's close that discussion forever. As for the right wing, like him or not, the BEST option right now is Quaresma. I have personally lost all my patience with Nani and I believe he will never change. Varela is also an excellent option (hard working and reliable).

Now for striker. The question that so many fans obsess over. There are 3 TRUE options at the moment. Eder, Nelson Oliveira, and Bebe. We need to experiment, and see which of these three has the best understanding with the team and Ronaldo (instead of wasting so many friendlies, qualifiers, and important games with Postiga/Almeida).

The best rightback is Silvio. The best leftback is Coentrao, BUT we need backups (Antunes and Perreira). I am talking about right now, but if there are young players that are playing well, then give them a CHANCE.

MOST IMPORTANT: We need a manager that focuses on all the little details. For example: we've allowed identical goals on corners for over a YEAR. We stuff our box with defenders, leave forwards outside the box unmarked, they run in with momentum and ALWAYS jump higher and score!
September
18 Saturday, 12 July 2014 17:07
Mdot
We'll know if we have any little hope of anything come September when we see the players called up for the first round of qualifiers. If it's the same old fats that gave Portugal their worst showing in a world cup, then we can't expect much. Ronaldo should be one of the few older players called up.

At the same time this is Bento we are talking about, a manager which the majority of his CV only comes close to matching some of the weaker nations. Until he starts giving new players a chance or we change management, I have very little faith in this team.
Euro 2016 is possible.....
17 Saturday, 12 July 2014 15:16
Chris/USA
I really don't see why we couldn't meet Germany in the Euro 2016 final if these youngsters develop properly. You need to compare what Portugal may have to the rest of Europe. Right now it is very watered down.

England is a JOKE, Spain is in shambles, that Netherlands team is garbage I don't care how far they made it and they're old, and Italy is just whatever to me. We will have to deal with up and comers France and Belgium, and there is always Germany. That's it.

Assuming Ronaldo, Coentrao, and Pepe are still the same players in 2 years and William has become a world class DM by then, that's a very good base to build around. Bruma, Mane, Cavaliero, Ilori, etc. need to come of age and get time with the senior squad.

Also, Moutinho and Nani need to get their asses in form, and we will still have some quality subs in Veloso, Periera, etc.

If, and admittingly it's a big if, some of those youngsters can develop into top class, there's no reason this team shouldn't be in the semi finals at least in 2 years. The competition is weak.
coach
16 Saturday, 12 July 2014 14:40
muhamed bosnia
jose mourinho is what Portugal needs and some young talent like bruma and bernardo silva
We need new coach, system and new blood.
15 Saturday, 12 July 2014 14:12
Arnaldo/USA
We need to start from scratch. Bento doesn't cut it and is not at a world class coaching level either tactically or in assmbling a team. We need a new system for training Portuguese players from start to finish. The Liga teams need to kick in money and start a national training academy for Portuguese players they can't find room for in their own academys. We need new new blood on the team now. Outside of CR7, Pepe , and Coentrao no one else should be guaranteed. Replace everyone else with players needing to shine on a world stage to get big money contracts.Too many on the Seleccao this year either mailed it in or were not in form, Nani, Meireles, Moutinho.......
Thoughts
14 Saturday, 12 July 2014 13:47
NJ/USA/SLB
Looking back on this World Cup, it's incredible to think that Portugal had any shot at all. The supposed Group of Death fizzled with a whimper. The performances given were so poor that an average US squad was celebrated for doing nothing.

As for Portugal's future, the most disheartening thing is the unknown. I know that people, myself included, bring up plenty of youngsters or options for the squad, but we've taken a look at exactly zero of them.
Bento brought no one with him that resembles anything eyeing the future. I take that back, Carvalho for all intent and purpose was forced on him. Rafa was ok for a poor Braga squad, yet he's being herald. Really?
The fact is that even when Bento brought newbies to worthless (worthless because no tactical or team selection was made for friendlies, qualifiers or tourney), they didn't play. They sat, while the old guard ran around and tried not to get tired.
Where were the tactical changes that they needed to work on? I didn't see any.

Yes, we've always have quality players, and we'll over-blow a lot of their talents. But the facts are, that we don't know. It's not a defeatist attitude, its reality. We haven't seen any of these supposed newcomers being integrated into the squad. For all the talk about Germany bringing and playing youngsters, they were slowly integrated into the squad.
We're now at an impasse, and I don't feel that Bento has shown any capability in leading anyone.

Keep in mind that The Euros's have been expanded, making it even easier to qualify for. For some reason I feel we'll need all the help we can get.
Bento
13 Saturday, 12 July 2014 13:24
Vansanity
Bento is a vergonha. The fact he and the head of fpf never stepped down voluntarily tells you all you need to know.

Wake me up when they're gone.
RE: URGENT: Eduardo/Canada
12 Saturday, 12 July 2014 13:14
Michael Silva/ North Hanover, NJ
You're 1000% right, they're a bunch of punks. Watch... when Ronaldo retires, the prima donna antics will die down. IF, Bruma and company aren't Ronaldo-lite and adopt the same B.S.
Injection of youth
11 Saturday, 12 July 2014 12:50
Matt
Great article, and I think we all now know we need a coach who puts the best 11 players on the field or a coach who tactically out manages our opposition, neither happened. For all the harp on portugal, remember it was a tough group. This is the best German team that county has seen in 20 years, the best US team ever, and Ghana is always a tough opposition. The real issue is that portugal does not produce consistent generations of talent.

This current generation of 25 to 29 year olds, is not the golden generation of the past (although they did win under 17 euro championship), but even that generation didn't hit it's peak until a disastrous World Cup and some introduction of youth did that team in 2004.

This bronze generation is the same, some of the team are just not good enough (veloso, Almeida, Pereira, etc.), and we need some youth and players from a new generation to take their place. The problem is since that generation, there is no one until this this current under 21 or under 19 generation that can step in. Is there not any 23 or 24 year olds in portugal good enough (do Pizzi and nelson on count)

Therefore for Portugal to be successful at Euro 2016 they need the right introduction of youth while keeping the current stars Ronaldo Pepe, moutinho in top form. Look how successful Netherlands were with that formula.

Portugal will always go through tough periods, as they don't have enough consistently talented generations.
The Future is Bright
10 Saturday, 12 July 2014 06:36
Mitch/AUs
There is an up and coming 'golden generation' coming through the ranks, there is not doubt about it. The question is whether these players will be ready by Euro 2016 is another question.

At goalkeeper, Patricio is still only 26 and very capable, although recent performances say otherwise, but Anthony Lopes definitely provides us with another option. He plays consistently in a team with European ambitions in a fairly competitive league so Lopes is no doubt an option ahead of Eduardo and Beto.

I feel our defence is where we are lacking the most in terms of youth. We have two very young and talented centre-backs in Tiago Ilori and Paulo Oliveira, but both are still fairly raw and their role in the national team will largely depend on their roles in their respective clubs. Ilori may be given a squad role at Liverpool but I think he'll find game time hard to come by. A loan move seems the best move. Oliveira has what it takes to have a prominent role at Sporting but it's a lot to ask from a 20-year-old at this level. Ruben Vezo is another player who could pull some surprises, time will tell. Another player who's really impressed is Raphael Guerreiro of Lorient. A 20-year-old left-back, Guerreiro is brilliant technically and going forward who understands his defensive role extremely well. It helps that he's been playing first team football for most of the season and would be great back-up to Coentrao.

Now, midfield is where it's all happening. There is so much talent, especially at #10. We've lacked a true creative midfielder since the days of Deco and Rui Costa and I think now we have a fair few options. Rafa, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes all have the potential to become world beaters, although Bernardo is still yet to prove himself in the Liga Zon Sagres. He could make an impact this season. Bruno has already proven he can compete with the best, in one of the top 3 leagues in the world in a team with European ambitions. Then there's Joao Mario, Joao Carlos Teixeira, Andre Gomes, William Carvalho and Marcos Lopes, who can also operate as a forward/winger.The list goes on.

As mentioned in the article, we're actually lacking in our winger department, but with Bruma back from injury and Carlos Mane having a stellar end to the season we have some real gems. Ricardo Horta's had a brilliant debut at Setubal, Ivan Cavaleiro's an up and comer, and Ivo Rodrigues is being touted as the next thing, but he's still much too young.

There is undoubtedly talent coming through the ranks and there's much to be excited about. The question is, how and when to implement these youngsters. Most are 20-21 and by Euro 2016 could be starting to hit some real form. If we want to be among the world's elite once again then we need to start looking forward, even past Euro 2016. This qualification, and potentially Euro 2016, could act as springboards to an exciting future. Our side is only getting older and it's time to start looking to our youth. I'm not suggesting a complete overhaul, but there are 23 men and we can at least start calling up some players who have surely proven themselves. It doesn't hurt to help them adapt to the Selecao and give them some much needed experience about what it means to wear the red of Portugal. Bruma, Mane, Carvalho, Fernandes and Anthony Lopes should all be knocking on the door of the starting 11. Marcos Lopes has a real shot at Lille and could even be playing CL football, Fernandes is tearing it up in Italy, William, you don't need words to describe him, just... he's William! Bruma and Mane are in the midst of career-defining seasons, and Oliveira and Ilori can make a splash.
Not a question about talent
9 Saturday, 12 July 2014 06:35
Brian/RI USA
It's never been a question about talent for Portugal for some time, it's comes to coaching and the attitude of this team. Costa Rica made it out of a very difficult group and made it to a PK shootout in the quarterfinals, that shows how far tactics and coaching can bring you. Hell even the Dutch team is a blend of the old guard and youth, with tactics based on personal at their disposal. We all know everything that could of gone wrong did in the campaign, but there were no positives to take back from the trip to Brazil.

Ronaldo wasn't fit and it was plain to see, but if it was so plain to see why was there still a dependency on him? Bento provided no plan b and other teammates didn't step up. I agree Ronaldo is not captain material, but I would be frustrated too if I had one good knee and still was the best player, by head and shoulders, on the team.

I noticed that there wasn't a mention of tactics in this article on purpose, but quite honesty that's the largest problem of this team. The 4-3-3 is dead, at least with personal the team uses. It's great for counter-attacking, but the effort and energy needed from the middle three is overwhelming and can be too easily overrun when playing against anything other than a 4-3-3 as well. I expected a battle against the U.S., but the fact that we were flat out outplayed for large portions of that game showed the down fall of that formation.

I'm not too optimistic about 2016, not while Bento is still in charge and the lack of leaders on this team. We'll make Euro because of the expansion to 24 teams, but the tournament will be larger and harder to win.

This current squad needs an overhaul so badly, and it's there for everyone to see. So the fact that the FPF and all the players went on with a business as usually attitude after getting knocked out was concerning. It almost as nobody deem the campaign a failure (which it was), and nobody took fault for it (there's plenty of it to go around, from the players, coaches, and federation). I'll be following the promising Portugal team at the Under-19 European championship closely in the coming weeks, because right now I believe there's not much at the senior level that's going to provide good news for a while.
GROWING...GROWING...GROWING...STILL GROWING...
8 Saturday, 12 July 2014 06:22
hareesh,kerala/india
How Germany rebuild their NT after a disastrous Euro 2000?Dear FPF,study that.They believed in youth and invested heavily in them.Look at their players.Most of them are in the age group of 19-24.Its a bravery and faith.But what happens in Portugal?I think FPF and Coaches are in a state that players of Portugal in this age group are still growing and not capable of representing NT...LOL...Then when will they play for NT...at their 28th or 30th age?What system is this?
lack of talent
7 Saturday, 12 July 2014 05:33
Carvalho
Your comments leave me with little hope that CR7 our greatest player will ever win with Portugal. Quite depressing.
Portugal
6 Saturday, 12 July 2014 02:48
Charles NJ
You offered no answers in this article . All you did was give us your personal opinion . I usually agree and understand your points but your all over the place with your comments . You offered no answers . Patricio looked nervous and afraid of the grand stage . The squad looked tired and completely out of form the fact that fabio was injured and had no legitimate back up was embarrassing where was Antunes ? Moutinho disappointed you ? How about Veluso who was dreadful how about the fact that we started Hugo Almeida who is a dreadful number 9 when Postiga and Cr have a far better understanding on the pitch while together . We all have our opinions Carlos Mane from sporting looks like a promising young winger . William is a stud and it was an embarrassment that he sat behind both Veluso and Raul . Anthony Lopes needs a look at as Patricio was terrible . Bebe had a promising season with Pacos and in my opinion was a better option than Eder . Paulo Oliveira looks like a promising young defender and Andre Almeida will be an upgrade over Joao Perreira . Portugal have good young talent I.e Rafa , Bruma , Cavaleiro , Marcos Lopes , Andre Gomes , Ricardo Horta , Pizzi and Cedric who for some reason you forgot to mention . The problem is portugal we're not playing or breading our young players as Benfica and Porto continue to bread South American talent it's beyond disgraceful ! Players like Moutinho , Neto , Bruno Alves , Veluso , Almeida have enough talent to play in top leagues .. Not France , Turkey , Russia and the freakin Ukraine money hungry bottom line and that's why there lacking in form it's there competitive leagues below par .. We're blind if we think both are players and our management have been the problem , no heart .. Sorry for disagreeing but portugal need a change in spirit #ForcaPortugal
The dead horse has been thoroughly beat
5 Saturday, 12 July 2014 02:32
Chris(Canada)
We all know the problems here. An inept and greedy FPF, an incompetent head coach with no dignity and lust for an easy paycheque, Portuguese clubs that don't provide sufficient opportunities to Portuguese talent or sell it too early.

Too many things are working against the Seleccao. We will qualify by the skin of our teeth but barely and it will likely be another shambolic early exit unless someone with a vision takes over the FPF. Someone who is not afraid to take calculated risks and make smart gambles, like appointing a coach with a winning mentality.

I like Ronaldo, but there's no way he's captain material. I get that he is ultra competitive and strives to win, but the Seleccao need a real captain in charge.

They have not had a real Captain since Fernando Couto back in the early 2000's (I never rated Figo as much of a Captain). If they get the backbone of leadership set up properly, from the administration to the coaching staff right down to the men on the field, then we could win it all. But to go in on talent alone, which is what Scolari and Bento are all about, we are screwed.

Thanks for the article Nathan. I'm very unhappy with the situation and would have seen some glimmer of hope had Bento been fired or stepped down, but as it stands, with the current bosses, it's not a good future I see.
Bring In The Young Guns
4 Saturday, 12 July 2014 01:46
Danny21/USA
Remember when the Portugal U20 squad made the final of the 2011 U20 World Cup? How come no one besides Nelson Oliveira even got a sniff with the senior NT? I swear I will hit the roof if I see Bento calling the same exact old squad once Euro 2016 qualifiers roll around
Portugal
3 Saturday, 12 July 2014 01:28
Eduardo/Canada
As a fan of Portugal let me just say that portuguese behavior at world cups is deplorable to shameful. They are the team with the most red cards in the last 3 world cups. Them and Honduras. The constant whining and bitching to the ref when things don't go they're way is annoying as hell. People use to like the way portugal plays, now there is a big disdain for this team. They're brand is crap nobody is buying it.

As for the federation they should stamp down on this punk behavior as opposed to the professionalism which is hugely lacking. You can see how discredited the federation is when you have Joao Pinto as an assistant coach. Makes me very angry this freakin guy butheaded a ref in Korea and got red carded he should have been banned for life. Instead he is the assistant to bento. It's insane. As for the mentality of a lot of the players from Ronaldo to nani to meireles juvenile punks. These are not men. They're boys. Ronaldo so much talent but lacks humility and is vain cutting is here three times during the tournament blather was right about him. Bitching to his own teammates when he does not get the ball. Not passing the ball to morata at real when morata had a glorious chance for the kid to score Ronaldo tried to do it himself and missed. Real fans remembered that and booed him. Ronaldo's only redeeming quality is he can put the ball in the net.

Until the mentality of Portuguese players and the culture of the federation changes Portugal will always have a mediocre shameful pedigree.

Even in Portugal people know that it was a shameful performance. It's better to lose with dignity then with disdain. Iran under queiroz performed heroic against Argentina until a last minute wonders hot from messi took them down. Of course in Portugal queiroz was booted out. I don't know what's in the pipeline but I'm already getting the impression guys like Bruma with talent have that same punk DNA. As his negotiations with sporting were very telling.
Playmaker Role/ #10 Spot
2 Friday, 11 July 2014 21:58
MDCViolenes- NY, USA
Nathan my man, you are spot on as usual. Thanks for the analysis, and it's good to see us keeping the discussions going! My comment stems from other great points made in the last PortuGOAL post on why Portugal didn't succeed in the Mundial. I too believe that the midfield is the biggest problem that we have when everyone on the team is healthy (though Pereira was a let down as well). Tony/ CA (the original Tony) I hear you on Danny. He probably is completely out of the picture as I also mentioned in my post shortly before yours so I don't want to beat a dead horse. However, the #10 role has been open/ something of a problem since… well, Deco probably. So even if Danny had opportunities out of position, he still should have been given a proper shot at playmaker. I mentioned that putting him in place of Meireles may be questionable, but if Moutinho is up to putting his feet in on tackles and with a better DM like William covering, that could free up a good creative mid like Danny and give him the ammo he needs to do his business. I still think a 4-2-3-1 or 4-2-1-3 may be a better formation for us, but we really lack creativity in the middle of the park. A player is a player and needs to take his chances for sure, but at international level I think a manager needs to give his players a go at their most comfortable positions and not mess around too much. Int'l play is too difficult, and I think you leave the positional experimenting for club level or int'l friendlies. He's a better 10 than a winger, but leave it to Bento to let that go completely over his own head. I just don't understand. If he played Moutinho out wide all the time when we know he is a true CM, we'd all be clamouring for him to be in his proper, best position at CM. I would still have Danny in the loop as an effective creator type midfielder, and try to have him be something of a guide to younger attacking midfielders we have. But as the article alluded to perhaps Meireles is (needs to be) on the way out of major tournaments. I love the guy as he's given his all for the shirt, but his 'Bento's Buddy' status is hurting more than helping at this point. His inability to do anything but the 'dirty work' in midfield still puts too much on Moutinho as the other CM. We'll need a playmaker.

Regarding the #9 position, I still don't know about Cristiano at that position primos. Like Nathan says here, we will struggle to stretch defenses, and that essentially is the heart of the problem with him playing centrally too often. He becomes much easier to mark when he's not drifting in and out, and that doesn't play to his strengths. Ron has more than enough technical ability as well as the skill to link up play, but I question whether he has the mindset to strictly be striker... To battle and get kicked and roughed up by the centre backs, plus wait around for service that may not come often enough without a better midfield or skillful wingers. He pretty much stuck to striker at the World Cup-- had some decent chances, but like with Eder nothing came easy. No genius through balls or enough crosses, nobody else making diagonal runs to make back lines think/ work more. Strikers also need good ammo to be effective and we have some work to do there. The only hope I see is in Cavaleiro, and although most everyone hates him-- Nelson. They are the only two strikers that I've seen that have the potential technical ability to help especially when linking up. I'll admit I don't get to see the young guys often enough as much as I want to, so sorry if I missed any other prospects there.

Yeah and Nani needs to rediscover himself. I watched him at United for years and will never doubt his ability. It's still in him, but he admitted that Sir Alex not giving him consistent playing time shattered his confidence. He really needs a change of scenery and a coach who will shake the hesitation out of him, maybe Van Gaal can do that for him too. But that getting ball, stop and hold it up so I can shake the defender stuff is not truly his game but I think it's just a byproduct of his current lack of belief in himself. They need to lock him in a room somewhere and make him watch his better years in England where he was destroying guys off the dribble. In stride too. I hope Bruma and Lopes will step up and challenge him for his spot though. Young as they are now they will be of age in a couple years. We will need them.

But going back to the last post, Justin had great thoughts about the mentality of the team, that the more laid back nature that is ingrained in Portuguese culture doesn't do us well either. I've thought/ commented on that for awhile in the team sense, though not as deeply as Justin put it in terms of overall culture. It is more than worth noting though, which is why I think a change in manager is needed. It doesn't necessarily have to be a foreigner, but I think it would be worth a shot to inject a fresh take on tactics, tempo, and mentality. But wishful thinking… Bento will be manager and it's up to him to decide when he wants to manage it all better. The team always has my support though. Força Selecção.
I've lost my faith in Bento
1 Friday, 11 July 2014 17:19
jon/usa
Portugal is currently in the midst of a gradual transition between two "golden generations". There are several world-class players (Ronaldo, Moutinho, Pepe, Coentrao) in the current crop of 25-32 year-olds, but the vast majority of Bento's preferred options are nothing special.

I was hoping that such an abysmal showing in Brazil would prompt the beginning of a comprehensive squad overhaul, but with Bento still at the helm, I doubt we'll see any major personnel changes. The "Velha Guarda" consisting of Bruno Alves, Helder Postiga, Raul Meireles, Miguel Veloso, Helder Postiga, Hugo Almeida, etc will continue to receive call-ups regardless of their increasing age or lack of form/fitness.

This squad needs an experienced, tactically astute foreign manager with no ties to Portuguese club football. Bento is simply too stubborn and too rigid to maximize Portugal's potential.

I am usually one of the more optimistic Seleccao supporters, but I honestly can't see us making it out of our qualification group unless significant changes are made. I just don't think Bento is capable of making these necessary changes.

Add your comment

Name/Country:
Subject:
Comment: