Can A Team Win The Euros Without Ever Winning In 90 Minutes?
For the fifth successive occasion in France, Portugal played 90 minutes of football and ended it all square.
After Iceland, Austria, Hungary and Croatia came Poland, but at least the Portuguese were forced to react here having gone a goal down in the opening seconds of the match.
They appear to be a team built for the long run, and with the semi-finals and final only likely to be tighter, tense affairs, then the question has to be asked. Can a team win the European Championship without ever actually winning a match?
Pub quizmasters are standing by in expectation.
Taking A Chance On Eder Could Have Removed Ronaldo’s Anguish
They operate on very different football stratospheres, but both Cristiano Ronaldo (51 goals in 48 games for Real Madrid last season) and Eder (0 in 15 for Swansea) are part of the same Portugal squad, and the 28-year-old could well have emerged as the man to save his captain here.
Looking increasingly forlorn and angry with the world, Ronaldo cut a brooding figure in Marseille, and it was impossible to escape the conclusion that he would have been better off moving to a wider position in order to get on the ball more often.
To do that, though, coach Fernando Santos would have to have trusted Eder, given that he is the only specialist centre-forward in the squad.
Santos didn’t seem prepared to do that, ensuring that Ronaldo would be left playing centrally and up against Poland’s impressive centre-backs Michal Pazdan and Kamil Glik, who both did very well to restrict the Portugal captain’s space.
There’s A Lot To Be Said For The Clear Thinking Of Youth
Renato Sanches has been making a clearer case for a place in Portugal’s starting lineup with each substitute appearance that he’s made, and the new Bayern Munich signing showcased just what his team have been lacking with the snap shot which led to the equaliser in the first half.
As Sanches would have borne witness to whilst watching this tournament from the bench, this Portuguese side has had a tendency to overthink things when they get within the vicinity of the posts, with a general panic and default setting of ‘give it to Ronaldo’ all too willing to set in.
Youth often means no fear though, and there is usually a lot to be said for that.
Sanches’ low shot may have been fortunate to find the net via a deflection, but the 18-year-old wouldn’t have become the third-youngest goalscorer in Euros history if he hadn’t just taken a chance – something that a lot of older, more established players would do well to remember.
Kamil Grosicki Has The Drive To Succeed In England
If the 2015/16 Premier League proved anything it’s that being quick and direct will get you very far in England, and so it is no surprise that Kamil Grosicki is being talked up for a move to the division following his displays at the Euros.
Following from where he left off against Switzerland, the 28-year-old winger was a lively presence on the Polish left, constantly worrying Portugal’s Southampton right-back Cedric Soares, and none more so than just 100 seconds into the game when he got in behind his man and pulled the ball back for Robert Lewandowski to score.
New Everton boss Ronald Koeman is reportedly a fan of the Rennes winger who is believed to have a price tag of around £7m.
That can only have gone up here.
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