Posts Tagged ‘Vieirinha’

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Portugal’s uncompromising style of play did not win them much admiration among neutral fans or the media but it was undoubtedly effective. Much credit should go to manager Fernando Santos who engineered a victory by utilizing the full strength of his squad. Football Factory rated each player on their performance over the entire tournament.

Goalkeepers

Rui Patricio He was not always busy but proved to be solid when called upon. He made a crucial stop in the penalty shootout against Poland. And he made several quality stops against France in the final. Named Best Goalkeeper at the tournament. Patricio is currently enjoying the best period of his career. 9

Eduardo Did not play.

Anthony Lopes Did not play.

 

Defenders

Raphael Guerreiro He was probably Portugal’s most consistent outfield player. The French-born Guerreiro provided the cross for Cristiano Ronaldo’s header against Wales. He was deservedly named to the team of the tournament. 8

Eliseu He filled in for Guerreiro against Hungary and Poland. The Benfica left-back looked much improved in his defensive duties, although he did not offer much in attack. 6

Pepe The Real Madrid man began the tournament with a poor display against Iceland and Hungary in the group stage. However, he was near flawless in the knockout stages.  A thigh injury kept him out of the semi-finals. But he returned in time to face France and put in a Man-of-the-Match performance for his country. Named to the Team of the Tournament. 8

Ricardo Carvalho The 38-year-old has been a solid contributor since returning to the international scene following Fernando Santos’ appointment. He looked slightly out of step especially in the 3-3 draw against Hungary. He was dropped in favour of Jose Fonte for the knockout stages. 6

Jose Fonte One of the great stories in this squad. The former Sporting CP academy graduate only made his international debut less than two years ago at the age of 30. He replaced Ricardo Carvalho against Croatia and was solid the rest of the way. 7

Bruno Alves He filled in admirably for the injured Pepe in the semi-final against Wales. 6

Cedric Soares Took over for Vieirinha against Croatia. His crucial mistake in the early stages against Poland led to the Robert Lewandowski goal. However, the Southampton right-back did not hang his head. Instead, he would be one of Portugal’s best performers the rest of the way. 7

Vieirinha The biggest disillusionment of this tournament for Portugal. He failed to provide sufficient cover on the Iceland goal in the first match. He was ineffective in attack and at times, a liability on defense. Santos rightly dropped him in favour of Cedric. 5

 

Midfielders

William Carvalho The holding midfielder replaced Danilo against Austria and put in an outstanding performance helping to drive the attack while supporting the Portuguese backline. Although he made less of an impact from then on, he still provided the stability the team needed. 7

Danilo Pereira The FC Porto midfielder suffered a back injury in the match against Iceland and lost his position in the starting XI to William.  Although, he would make a valuable contribution as a substitute. He filled in for the Sporting midfielder as a starter in the semi-final against Wales and even came close to scoring on one occasion. 6

Renato Sanches Named Best Young Player in the tournament. His long run in extra time against Croatia led to Quaresma’s goal. He scored the tying goal against Poland. Although, he was less of a factor against Wales and in the final. Still, he only added to his burgeoning reputation. It will be almost impossible to top the year he has had. 7

Andre Gomes He earned a starting spot against Iceland and put in an excellent display, creating the goal scored by Nani. But, his injury against Croatia would greatly limit him. He made a positive substitute appearance against Wales but did not appear in the final. 6

Adrien Silva The Sporting captain made his debut in the tournament against Croatia. He earned Fernando Santos’ confidence with some impressive performances on the way to the final. Unselfish, hardworking and tough, he embodies Portugal’s championship-winning side more than anyone. 7

João Moutinho A starter at the beginning of the tournament, the Monaco midfielder was not at his best in the group stage. He was forced to withdraw at half-time against Hungary due to an injury. However, he came in as a late substitute against Poland and provided a dangerous through-ball to Ronaldo, who could not capitalize. He made a major impact as a substitute in the final, helping to create the winning goal. 7

João Mário Much was expected of the Sporting midfielder at the beginning of the tournament. He was noticeably quiet against Iceland and was dropped in favour of Quaresma in the second match. Back as a starter against Hungary he provided an assist on Cristiano Ronaldo’s back-heel goal. His decision-making left much to be desired at times in the knockout stages but he was much better in the final. 7

 

Forwards

Cristiano Ronaldo The Portuguese captain was not always at his best in this tournament. He was a frustrated figure against Iceland and Austria but silenced his critics with a brace against Hungary. He was decisive again in the semi-final against Wales. His tournament seemed destined to end once again in tears when he was forced to withdraw in the final because of a knee injury. But, his teammates rallied around his absence and handed him that elusive championship at international level.  8

Nani The 29-year-old rebuilt his damaged reputation. He finished tied with the team-lead in goals with three and added an assist on Sanches’ goal against Poland. He did all that while playing out of position. His move to Spanish club Valencia was finalized during the tournament.  8

Ricardo Quaresma At 32, the journeyman winger looks to have finally come into his own on the international scene. He was generally ineffective in his only start of the tournament against Austria. However, he proved to be a valuable option off the bench, scoring a late goal against Croatia and then putting away the winning penalty in the shoot-out against Poland. 7

Rafa Silva He was originally expected to play a more prominent role. However, the Braga winger was limited to a short cameo in the late stages of the draw against Austria. He looked dangerous but was not able to break the deadlock. He is one for the future.  Incomplete

Éder Just weeks ago at pre-tournament friendlies the striker was whistled at by Portuguese fans every time he touched the ball. He made short substitute appearances against Iceland and Austria before the final. In a tournament of ample drama and great storylines for Portugal, it seems almost fitting that ‘the ugly duckling’ would score the most famous goal in the country’s history. 7

 

Manager

Fernando Santos He will never earn style points from the mainstream media but the 61-year-old found a way to win. By preaching unity and sacrifice above all, Santos got the most out of his players. He seemed to know how to make changes at the right time. Bringing on Sanches early in the second-half against Croatia and Éder in the final, seemed insane at the time but paid off enormously. 10

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Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid

Portugal’s great hope. Cristiano Ronaldo will go into the tournament as the reigning World Footballer of the Year, as well as the consensus best player in the World. The Portuguese captain is at the height of his individual ability, although there are concerns about his fitness.

Once widely criticized for his perceived lack of productivity with the national team, Ronaldo is now Portugal’s all-time leading goalscorer. He proved that he could lead his country deep in a major tournament at Euro 2012. However, the 29-year-old needs to win the World Cup to establish himself as one of the greatest players in history.

This Season: It was another excellent season for the global superstar. Cristiano Ronaldo scored 31 goals in La Liga, winning the Pichichi award as the league’s top scorer. He also set a new single season record for Champions League goals with 17, helping Real Madrid win La Décima.

Fun Fact: Cristiano Ronaldo was recently named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People. His profile was written by none other than Pelé who compares the Real Madrid forward to former Portuguese international Eusébio. He writes that the two have ‘the same elegance and creativity.’

Nani, Manchester United

The Manchester United winger is almost as vital to Portugal’s success as Cristiano Ronaldo. Nani is coming off an injury-plagued season. A healthy and productive Nani would be a major boost to Portugal’s chances. He has formed a good partnership with Ronaldo in the past.

This will be Nani’s third major tournament with Portugal. He was forced to withdraw from the 2010 World Cup because of a shoulder injury. Nani had a good Euro 2012, which included being named the Man of the Match in Portugal’s 3-2 group stage win against Denmark.

This Season: Nani struggled through groin and hamstring injuries this season. He played in only 11 League matches for Manchester United.

Fun Fact: Nani is trained in Capoeira, a kind of Brazilian martial arts dance. He has been known to celebrate a goal by doing the ‘Leap of death’ move.

Vieirinha, Wolfsburg

The 28-year-old was an excellent player for Portugal’s youth squads but only received his first senior selection in March 2013. Vieirinha has put together some excellent performances for the Seleção in limited action.

Vieirinha suffered a serious knee injury last September and was thought to be ruled out for the World Cup. He returned in time to play in Wolfsburg’s final Bundesliga matches. A product of FC Porto’s academy, Vieirinha moved to Greek club PAOK in 2008. He was signed by Wolfsburg in 2012 after several stellar seasons.

This Season: Vieirinha appeared in 11 Bundesliga matches for Wolfsburg. The German club finished a solid fifth in the league table.

Fun Fact: Vieirinha was named the Player of the Tournament at the 2003 UEFA European Under-17 Championship, which Portugal won by beating rivals Spain in the final. He was also named PAOK’s Player of the Season twice, as well as the Greek Super League’s Best Foreign Player in 2011.

Silvestre Varela, FC Porto

The 29-year-old has been primarily used as an impact substitute during his time with the Seleção. He scored a memorable goal against Denmark to give Portugal a 3-2 win in the group stage of Euro 2012. He currently has 22 caps for Portugal.

Silvestre Varela is a graduate of Sporting Lisbon’s youth academy. But after spending several seasons on loan, he moved to Estrela Amadora. FC Porto signed him in 2009 and he has been a productive player for the club ever since. He has won the Primeira Liga on three occasions, the Portuguese Cup twice, and the Europa League in 2010-11.

This Season: Silvestre Varela played in 25 League matches for FC Porto, scoring five goals and adding another five assists. But the Dragões had a very disappointing season by their standards, finishing third in the league table.

Fun Fact: Silvestre Varela appeared to be a lock for South Africa 2010 after an impressive first season with Porto. However, he broke his left fibula in training ruling him out for the entire tournament.

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Portuguese defender Miguel Vitor could not have imagined a better start to life in Greece. Unceremoniously released by Benfica in the summer, the 24-year old signed with Greek club PAOK and has quickly won over fans.

Vitor has scored four goals in his first eight matches in the Greek Super League, while PAOK currently sit comfortably in second position behind Olympiakos.

Vitor followed up a two goal performance last weekend in a league game against Asteras Tripolis with another goal in the Europa League against Maccabi Haifa midweek. The goal came in the 35th minute when the Greek club was already down 2-0. Vitor headed in a long free-kick to cut the lead in half.

The goal helped PAOK come back and win the match 3-2. The win means they are currently in first place in group L, with seven points in three matches.

Vitor has scored five goals in all competitions already this season. In an interview with Portuguese football website Maisfutebol this week, the central defender reflected on his immediate success in Greece.

“Both collectively and individually, everything is going perfectly,” he told Maisfutebol.

Vitor has won great admiration from the PAOK faithful for his early season heroics.

“The Greek fans are very passionate. Things have turned out well for the club and myself so far. They have given us a lot of affection. It is a good feeling.”

A Benfica youth player, Miguel Vitor graduated to the senior club in 2008-09. He made 16 league appearances under former manager Quique Sánchez Flores in his first season.

But Jorge Jesus took over at the Estádio da Luz the following season. He favoured Luisão and David Luiz in the centre of defence. Vitor made only two appearances in 2009-10 as Benfica would go on to win the league and the Portuguese Cup.

In 2010-11, Vitor was loaned to Leicester City in the English Championship. Former Portugal international and Benfica player Paulo Sousa was the manager of the club at the time. Vitor would impress, recovering from an early season injury to play in 15 league matches, scoring three goals.

Upon returning to Benfica, Vitor was relegated to a bench role in the next two seasons. Last year, he divided time between the senior club and Benfica B in the second division. Vitor’s summer departure came as no surprise to anyone.

In the interview with Maisfutebol, Vitor said that he left Benfica with regret but is now firmly focussed on rebuilding his career in a new country.

“Of course I wish things could have worked out better but I wouldn’t say I was hurt by it. I don’t really think about it anymore,” he said.

“Over several years it became obvious that there wasn’t any room for me. With the current manager, I understood that it would be very difficult to get an opportunity,” he added.

Vitor is the latest Portuguese national to make a big name for himself at PAOK. Fernando Santos managed the club for three seasons before leaving to coach the Greek national team in 2010. Former Portugal winger and current manager of Académica Sérgio Conceição also played for PAOK for two seasons.

But most notably, Vieirinha played for PAOK for three seasons, being named the team’s player of the year twice. His impressive performances earned him a transfer to Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg and eventually a call-up to the Portuguese national team.

The comparisons between Vieirinha and Miguel Vitor are almost unavoidable. Both were highly touted youth players. Vieirinha never really got a chance with FC Porto, while Vitor was never really given an opportunity at Benfica. Both headed off to Greece. Could Miguel Vitor’s career take a similar path?

A regular on Portugal’s U19 and U21 squads, Vitor said that a call-up to the senior squad would be a dream come true.

“It is a dream that I have, but I know that I have not played much in the last three seasons. To get there, I have to play one or two seasons at a high level before I could expect to be selected,” he said.

“I hope Portugal qualify for the World Cup but I think it will be difficult for me to get there. The squad is well established. But it is a possibility, I have to continue to work hard in order to get there.”

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Bruno-Gama-celebra-gol-Deportivo

Deportivo winger Bruno Gama was touted as the next great player in Portuguese football when he represented his country at the 2007 U20 World Cup in Canada. At that point, a selection to the Seleção seemed inevitable.

At 25 years of old, Gama will realize that dream this week against Holland after being called up by Portugal manager Paulo Bento as an injury replacement for Wolfsburg’s Vieirinha.

“I am very happy, I did not expect this at all. I was enjoying my day of rest (When he received the message), and it happened when I was in Portugal. It is a dream come true,” he said in a news conference on Monday in Óbidos.

“It gave me a lot of hope. I need to continue to work hard and help the squad. There are excellent players at my position. I know that there are stronger options, but I have confidence that I will continue to be selected,” he added.

Like Vieirinha, Gama was a talented young player and an automatic choice for Portugal’s junior squads who took a little longer than expected to reach the heights of the Seleção.

A product of Sporting Braga’s youth academy, Gama was signed by FC Porto in 2004 for €750,000. A large sum for a young player.

For the next few seasons he played with Porto’s B squad, before loan spells at Braga and Vitória Setúbal. Gama would only play one official league match for Porto until he was released in 2009 at the age of 21.

During this time, he continued to be a prominent player on Portugal’s junior squads gaining 78 caps and scoring 25 goals.

Gama would sign with Rio Ave in 2009, playing two seasons and was almost completely written off by pundits everywhere.

In 2011, he would move to Spain, signing a deal with Galician club Deportivo La Coruña. It did not seem like an important step in his career at the time, especially since the club was currently languishing in Spain’s Segunda División.

In his first season, Gama helped the club gain promotion to the top-level of Spanish football. The following year, with fellow Portuguese international Pizzi playing on the opposite wing, Gama had a strong season scoring 6 goals and pitching in another 5 assists in 38 La Liga matches.

His production was not enough to prevent Deportivo from being relegated last season. However, Gama is unlikely to remain with the club for long. Both Sporting Lisbon and Sevilla have been rumoured to be interested in signing him before the end of the transfer period on August 31st.

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Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Ilja Chochłow

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Ilja Chochłow

An early goal by Hélder Postiga gave Portugal an important 1-0 win over Russia at the Estádio da Luz on Friday. The win means that the Seleção temporarily move into first place in Group F ahead of Russia. Although, Fabio Capello’s Russian side have played two fewer matches at this point.

Manager Paulo Bento fielded a squad that was missing Real Madrid defender Pepe who was suspended for the match. Zenit St.Petersburg’s Luis Neto lined up alongside Bruno Alves at the centre of defense and was very impressive. Also, Wolfsburg’s Vieirinha was a surprise starter in place of Nani.

After several mediocre displays in recent matches, Portugal began the match playing with great purpose and never really took their foot off the pedal. In the 8th minute of play, Cristiano Ronaldo made a dangerous run and was brought down about 35 yards away from goal earning a free kick.

Miguel Veloso delivered a dangerous ball into the box which Hélder Postiga deflected into the net. It was the start that Paulo Bento and the legion of Portuguese fans were desperately looking for. The Seleção did not ease the pressure creating several good scoring chances before the end of the half.

Fabio Capello’s Russia side looked noticeably disjointed, struggling to maintain possession and rarely troubling Rui Patricio throughout most of the match. Cristiano Ronaldo had the best opportunities for Portugal but was unable to score despite some good shots on goal. João Moutinho was behind most of Portugal’s threats.

Portugal manager Paulo Bento spoke about the squad’s performance to journalists after the match.

“We played a very balanced game and maintained a good amount of pressure over our opponents. We started the match well, and had our moments of quality which resulted in us gaining an advantage. We did have problems clearing the ball out of dangerous areas on occasion but we were able to play an intelligent game and reached our objective by winning,” Bento told media.

“The motivation you get by representing the Seleção should be enough. We had a terrific attitude throughout the 90 minutes and a good mentality in comparison to the match against Israel. It is important to continue to work hard because we have not achieved anything.”

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Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Ilja Chochłow

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Ilja Chochłow

The Seleção managed a comfortable 2-0 victory over Azerbaijan in World Cup 2014 qualifying on Tuesday. Paulo Bento’s side was helped by a red card to Azerbaijan’s Rauf Äliyev that allowed Portugal to breakthrough in the second half.

Portugal were hoping to erase the memory of a disappointing 3-3 draw against Israel on Thursday. The Seleção were without their two brightest stars, with Manchester United’s Nani missing his second straight match with an injury and Cristiano Ronaldo serving a suspension. Zenit St. Petersburg’s Danny and Wolfsburg’s Vieirinha started on the wings for this match.

Portugal dominated possession straight from the opening minutes, but like in so many recent matches goals did not come easily. Hélder Postiga missed two excellent chances in the opening half hour of play. Later in the first half, Bruno Alves struck a free-kick off the post.

The Seleção went into half-time dominating in every facet of the match, but still lacked the crucial goal to ease the nerves of their supporters. Despite, a few nervous moments in the opening half-hour the Portuguese defence looked solid at the back, not conceding a shot on goal.

In the second-half, Azerbaijan’s Rauf Äliyev received his second yellow of the half after his arm made contact with Pepe’s face in an airborne challenge. The decision was the turning point of the match.

In 63rd minute, Bruno Alves scored off a corner for the second straight match to put Portugal ahead for good. Later on in the 79th minute, Fábio Coentrão found some room on the left side and managed to find substitute Hugo Almeida who scored on a diving header.

Defender Pepe picked up a yellow card in the first half of the match which means he will miss Portugal’s next qualifying match against Russia on June 7th. Manager Paulo Bento praised his team’s effort and added that the result was fair, considering the number of chances Portugal had during the match.

Goalscorer Bruno Alves told RTP after the match that the victory proves that Portugal still have a good chance to qualify for the World Cup and urged supporters not to count them out.

“We showed our ability and character. We played very well and scored goals. It was important to win and we did. This highlights our strength as a team. We are together until the end, in good moments and bad. We always believed because we have quality players. Less than good results will not change our resolve,” Alves added.

Bruno Alves’ Goal Against Azerbaijan

Hugo Almaida’s Goal Against Azerbaijan

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Ilja Chochłow

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Ilja Chochłow

Full Squad

Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício (Sporting), Beto (Sevilla), Eduardo (Istanbul BB);

Defenders: João Pereira (Valencia), Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid), Sílvio (Deportivo), Bruno Alves (Zenit), Pepe (Real Madrid), Luís Neto (Zenit), Sereno (Valladolid)

Midfielders: Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Miguel Veloso (D. Kiev), João Moutinho (FC Porto), Custódio (Braga), Carlos Martins (Benfica), Paulo Machado (Olympiakos)

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Danny (Zenit), Varela (FC Porto), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg), Pizzi (Deportivo), Hélder Postiga (Zaragoza), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas)

Portugal manager annouced his squad for two important World Cup qualifying away matches against Israel and Azerbeijan amid injury worries and poor form.

The Seleção will know that their margin of error will be small after some poor results so far in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. Portugal are currently 3rd in group F with 7 points after 4 matches.

Though not in any real danger of missing qualification, a stretch of poor results against lesser teams has put serious pressure on manager Paul Bento to get back on track. A loss to Russia, and an unexpected draw with Northern Ireland in Braga has many fans concerned about the team’s form.

This combined with a lacklustre draw with Gabon and a loss to Ecuador in friendlies. The team has been plagued with defensive mishaps and wasteful possession since their successful European Championships last June.

Bento will welcome back central defender Pepe from injury but will be missing one of his most potent offensive weapons in Nani who picked up a hamstring injury in Manchester United’s FA cup match against Chelsea.

Sporting Braga’s Eder and Ruben Micael are both out with injuries. Joao Moutinho is battling a thigh injury but was selected and is expected to start against Israel on March 22nd.

Vieirinha received his second call-up after some good performances with his Bundesliga club Wolfsburg. Deportivo winger Pizzi, Benfica’s Carlos Martins and Olympiakos’ Paulo Machado made their return to international play.

Deportivo’s Nelson Oliveira, Benfica’s Andre Gomes, Besiktas’ Manuel Fernandes, Malaga’s Vitorino Antunes and Benfica’s Andre Almeida are notable omissions.

Paulo Bento admitted to reporters that gaining automatic qualification by winning their group is less than realistic at this point but insisted that qualifying through a playoff, “Does not define our status,”