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Sunday, 25 May 2014 20:06

PortuGOAL podcast: Portugal prepare for Brazil 2014 

A look at the issues surrounding Seleção ahead of World Cup

seleccao-anthem-celebration-20111117.jpgIt's the Seleção all the way this edition. The PortuGOAL crew discuss the Portugal squad, fitness issues, Ronaldo-dependence, other key players, Portugal's opponents and end by giving our predictions ahead of the Brazil 2014.

Comments (12)
Team Fitness II - response to Carlos
12 Monday, 02 June 2014 16:37
Voice of Reason / Canada
1-Many first team players injured or coming back from long injuries -

VOR's take - fresh legs, eager to get back on pitch, Ronaldo and Pepe will shake off injuries.

2-Oldest Portuguese squad in a World Cup

VOR's take - experience, experience, experience - they have been through this before, they won't be in awe of anyone

3-The bench is not good enough.

VOR's take - general statements like this don't cut it, not responding...

4-Heat in Brazil.

VOR's take - Have you been in Portugal? They can deal with heat and humidity. Or will this heat and humidity ONLY impact Portugal?

5-Group of Death

VOR's take - they are always in the Group of Death...their placement in the group makes it Group of Death...or were you worried about USA and Ghana?

6-Very physical opponents.

VOR's take - like who? run it down for me...every physical opponent they are going to play (ps. starting off with "Germany" doesn't count).

Estamos fodidos! :(

VOR's take - don't let the door hit you on the way out.
Overall thoughts.
11 Saturday, 31 May 2014 23:16
I never thought that Ricardo Quaresma would make the squad. When you consider the amount of time he's been out of the picture for the Seleção, it would of been a stretch for Bento to call in a player with a checkered past into the squad now. Bento's comfort with familiarity mean's calling on players he can trust and that will take his instructions. I do rate RQ7's talent, but his ability to sacrifice for the team and determination were always question marks.

I agree that our deference will be key, and quite frankly a little underrated, with the addition of Carvalho it should be even more stout. People seem to forget that Spain marched to a World Cup trophy with a steady stream of 1-0 victories in the knockout stage.

I say a trip to the quarterfinals should be a goal of this squad and expected, but first and foremost is getting out of the group.
Team Fitness
10 Saturday, 31 May 2014 16:59
Excellent analysis in the podcast but the wrong conclusion I am afraid.

1-Many first team players injured or coming back from long injuries.
2-Oldest Portuguese squad in a World Cup
3-The bench is not good enough.
4-Heat in Brazil.
5-Group of Death
6-Very physical opponents.

Estamos fodidos! :(
9 Friday, 30 May 2014 03:12
RICKIE Q!!! HAHAHAHA!!!! No really stop saying that
Reply to Joao
8 Tuesday, 27 May 2014 17:11
I think that Nathan meant that ol' Rickie Q is not the kind of player who plays second fiddle to anyone and that cause issues if you play on the same field as Ronaldo. Remember that if Ronaldo get shut down completely, it will come at a cost for the other team. Ronaldo creates so much space and opportunity for other players, not just himself. Quaresma has always shown tremendous ability for his club, but for whatever reason that has never translated to the Selecao. Ok, two games it did, one against Belgium and one in a friendly against Brazil, both many years ago. The stability of this squad will present a challenge for teams like Ghana and the USA and Rickie Q doesn't help in that regard. TRue, he can beat defenders one v one, but disciplined defenses know how to stop him and he doesn't provide the added benefit of opening up space and making other players better like Ronaldo does. In short, the upside is relatively low compared to the downsides.

Nani is not the amazing player we all wish he could be, but he does fit better with the rest of the squad than Rickie Q. In order for me to believe in him, I would have to see him play for Portugal the way he does for Porto and I've just never seen that (except for those two games I mentioned). Many seem to think that Quaresma is as talented as Ronaldo and that is simply not true. Rickie Q has tricks, but not a great footballing brain. When tricks fail Ronaldo, he uses other weapons like positional awareness and predatory instinct. Quaresma either can't or won't do that, and he doesn't care about making the team better at personal cost to himself. We need someone more versatile and sacrificial in Brazil, and rickie Q is not the man for that job.
Agreed Andre
7 Tuesday, 27 May 2014 11:50
Chris Canada
Definitely NOT a one man team. But as you so rightly stated, even the Champions league winners are heavily reliant on Ronaldo. Why does no one speak of Messi's Argentina the same way?

I disagree with the assertion that Portugal would bow out to Argentina. The Argentines have looked far from impressive in defence or goal. A lot of their team unity has been lacking as well. Portugal would be well poised to take them out in my opinion.

I also disagree that Brazil are unstoppable. They have not had to qualify and look very pedestrian in friendlies. Neymar has shown that while he is a good player, he is far from the world beater everyone pegged him to be. He has been a bit of a flop at Barca.

I also am not impressed with Brazil's midfield or defence. Much of their team plays in the Brazilian league where flair trumps everything else. We've seen that in the last 12 years, tactics and psychology easily trump flair so I actually don't see Brazil doing that well.

You can meet count them out but I don't favour them. I think it will be a very interesting tournament. I am cautiously optimistic about Portugal's chances and hope they can actually lift the trophy. Long suffering Portugal fans certainly deserve it.

world cup 2014
6 Tuesday, 27 May 2014 02:05
frans yw
5 Monday, 26 May 2014 22:30
It is just depressing that the worlds best player wont be 100% fit for the the whole world cup oh well i guess we have to rely on our other winger who hasnt played all year to provide a spark.
Yep. Portugal depend on Ronaldo...
4 Monday, 26 May 2014 17:49
and so would every other nation.
Some thoughts
3 Monday, 26 May 2014 14:07
Some good points made. I agree that Quaresma should have been in the squad, not in the first team but on the bench as a back-up to Ronaldo, who may not be in full fitness for the duration of the tournament. CR7 may have to be rested towards the end of matches, at least the first few games, and I think Quaresma would have been the best player to replace him in the closing stages of matches.

Anyway it was clear in the CL final that CR7 is far from full fitness, so he mustn't be risked too much in these friendlies to make sure he's ready for the Mundial. He shouldn't be played at all against Greece this weekend and given a proper rest imo, and we should try out the wing alternatives for that match. Eder should also start that match to see what he can bring to the centre forward position, and Carvalho should definitely start at DM.

I disagree with the assertion that the Selecao is a "one man team". Of course any team would be reliant on arguably the best player in the world at the moment (indeed Real Madrid themselves are). But we also have 4 other world class players in the team: Pepe, Coentrao, Moutinho and Nani (yes maybe not on current form, but he is potentially world class). There's not too many other teams at this tournament who have 5 world class players in their starting line-up.

It's a tough group with no easy matches, but we also have a good chance against all 3 opponents. Playing Germany first will be good because it means we have to hit the ground running. Imo Germany's defence is a weak point, and we have to exploit that weakness at the back. USA will be competitive and physical but they certainly lack the overall quality we have. While Ghana are strong in midfield but are quite average in both defence and attack. So there will be a definite opportunity for us to get a good result in all 3 group matches.

I believe we will qualify from the group, and have the potential to go as far as the semis (I believe we could beat Argentina in the quarters, a team whose collective hasn't been as strong as their individual talent for quite a few years now). Hard to predict really, could be a first round exit given the toughness of the group, but could be as good as the semis if we really click, probably most likely is something in between. Who knows at this point, we'll just have to wait and see!
Let go
2 Monday, 26 May 2014 13:56
Nelson / Canada
Quersma didn't make the team, just let it go and support the team. Nani on form can provide the exact same spark as Quaresma; let's just hope he finds his form.
The RQ Debacle
1 Monday, 26 May 2014 08:48
Joao De Bacalhau/Canada
Whomever said that Quaresma was left out because it may take away opportunities from Ronaldo, if that indeed was Bento's reasoning, i find it extremely flawed. Quaresma would be perfect to play games as a substitute in case Ronaldo has been shut down all game. I'm sorry, but in games against the likes of Germany, Ronaldo is going to be extremely finite. I know always giving the ball to the best player in the world is very tempting but it will likely be wasteful against teams that are capable of and/or have shut him down in the past such as Germany. RQ is a decent threat to have in those situations.

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