Portugal vs Iceland - Match Analysis

Pre-Match Thoughts
Tonight Portugal take on Iceland in what is already expected to be an inevitable win for the Portugal national team. I think it is fair to say that on that basis not a lot of people have given Iceland a chance and looking at the talent and quality of players in the Portugal starting 11, it’s very hard to argue against this claim. Coming into this match, it must be said that Cristiano Ronaldo is indeed the ‘X-Factor’ here, if Portugal is to go far in this tournament then much of that depends on his performance and I would like to think that many would agree with this.

1st Half
The first half really has produced what I would label or rather, brand a ‘one-sided’ affair. There has been flashes of momentary or rather brief threats to goal from Iceland so perhaps there is a danger to come in the 2nd half. Nonetheless, the Portuguese have really dominated this half and the outcome of this match is really a question of can they go and get that 2nd goal to ensure safety in the latter stages of this match when they will gradually tire, or if they are content with that 1 goal, can they defend for the whole of the 2nd half and are they willing to invite unnecessary pressure onto themselves. The goal for Portugal came as a result of brilliant play, often 1 touch and 2 touch football which resulted in a good cross being converted emphatically by Nani at the near post. The goal was very much deserved and its genuinely a product of the constant pressure and the attacking intent that the Portuguese have brought with them tonight. However, with that said the Portuguese should be more clinical with their other chances as they could very well pay for that in the 2nd half.

2nd Half
Well, well who would have expected that response from Iceland. Certainly shocked a lot of people including myself but then again this really stemmed from the failure of Portugal to be clinical with their chances because if they had grabbed a 2nd goal earlier on, they would have had a safety net to back them up. It is also somewhat arguable as to if the goal was a well worked one or rather a self-inflicted wound. Certainly you have to argue that Pepe and Carvalho certainly shot themselves in the foot with their catastrophic defending, really something which could have been resolved or prevented with a bit of effective communication between the two. Why both intend to follow the same man is beyond me but credit to Iceland as well for a good cross and a brilliant finish. Generally, the 2nd half saw Iceland become content to sit back, soak in the pressure and defend till the final whistle. Bearing the result of the game in mind, then this was an effective method, of course they won’t be able to do this again against the bigger teams with more attacking firepower but that’s only if they make it out of the group stages. Portugal were still intent to keep attacking and did so with not much luck as their efforts on target lacked real conviction to test the keeper. I think it’s fair to say Ronaldo looks a figure out of place in the Portugal team because of the lack of top quality consistent service that he is used to at Madrid.

In summary it’s an average performance from the Portugal national team but it’s a familiar tale yet again. They manage to get into a big tournament with so much promise as to their potential and how far they can go but time up on time again, they simply fail to deliver when it matters and they keep knocking on the door for answers but they are shut out and left with questions over their real ability as a team who has rather become dependent on one individual.


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