It brings me great sadness to write about Portugal’s semifinal elimination at the hands of the Spaniards which is probably why it took me so long to do so. Yet I am also proud of how far the team went, making it to the semifinals is quite an accomplishment.
Although many disagree, I am of the opinion that Portugal dominated Spain. Especially in midfield.
Spain’s style of play relies heavily on being able to control midfield and attack as they please through the center.
Portugal knew this going into the matchup and had to adjust their style accordingly. Forcing Spain to the sidelines, and often enough, causing La Furia Roja to lose possession of the ball.
Not only was it hard enough for Spain to get through midfield, but in the event that they did manage it, they had to get by Pepe and Coentrão. Both of which are two extremely talented and solid defencemen.
Since the day that Spain defeated France to advance to the semis, I knew it was going to be a close and tight matchup and that there wouldn’t be many goals. However, I never thought it would be decided with penalty kicks.
Should Ronaldo have kicked first? Hell yes. Why wouldn’t you go with your best first? It would probably have been a goal. It’s almost a sure thing to get that first goal if Ronaldo kicks. Why didn’t he? Did he want the glory of kicking last and saving the team if needed? Maybe. Are the reports true that he was going to kick first and Bento asked him to kick last? We will never know. But damn was it ever frustrating to see him standing by and not take a shot.
I was also disappointed with Hugo Almeida and Raul Meireles. They did nothing at all, I even lost count of how many soft passes Meireles attempted that were intercepted.
September 2012 marks the beginning of the qualifying matches in Europe for World Cup 2014. Thirteen teams will qualify for the final tournament in Brazil.
This more than enough time for the Federação to make the necessary changes and adjustments to players and’or management in order to bring Portugal to the top of the world stage.
As you can see, the only real threat should be Russia, but then again look at what happen with Russia against the Greeks. I really can’t imagine a scenario where Portugal does not finish at the head of group F. This group should be easy for them and the Seleccão will most certainly advance to the next stage.
All we can do for now is be proud of reaching the semifinals and wait until 2014 to support Portugal in the FIFA World Cup.