Portugal 2-1 Mexico (a.e.t.)

Portugal have clinched a third-place finish in the 2017 Confederations Cup after defeating Mexico 2-1 in extra-time, courtesy of an Adrien Silva winner from the penalty spot.

After the heartache against Chile from the 12-yard-mark this Wednesday, Fernando Santos’ men continued to find difficulties in converting penalties before an own goal gave the Gold Cup winners the lead in the second half.

Late heroics from Pepe would offer Portugal the chance of retribution, with Adrien’s composure from the spot completing the mission to propel the national team onto the podium, amidst an ill-tempered finish to the game that saw the referee brandish one red card to each side.

New-look line-up

As Nani led the Seleção out in the hunt for bronze, authorised absences for Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva and Raphaël Guerreiro meant there’d be first starts in the tournament handed to Gelson Martins, Pizzi, Danilo Pereira and Luis Neto, while Nélson Semedo was also recalled. It was the chance for this quintet to stake a claim for a place in the team ahead of next years World Cup. Before choosing a bookmaker to bet on who will lift the most coveted trophy in Russia next summer, the football predictions and tips at Bethut are well worth a read.

Mexico’s 4-1 defeat to Germany in the semi-finals served up a real inquest into the future of El Tri’s boss Juan Carlos Osorio, with the Colombian calling on the experience of Rafael Márquez, as well as greater firepower in Carlos Vela and Oribe Peralta, to attempt to provide a strong final outing in Russia.

The anticipated reaction didn’t quite manifest itself as the Mexicans had hoped in the early exchanges, with Gelson instead being the player with the bit between his teeth. The Sporting winger, with five minutes on the clock, was able to expose space down the right flank and create the game’s first opportunity with a calculated cut-back, only for the emerging Nani to volley the ball back in the same direction.

Javier Hernandez offered Portugal a small warning of what damage he could inflict after finding space inside the area to head towards Rui Patrício’s goal, but Fernando Santos men continued their early dominance and soon found a way to isolate Mexico’s defence, as a late challenge from Márquez on André Silva left the European champions claiming a penalty, subsequently granted by the Video Assisted Referee.

More penalty woe

André Silva himself claimed full responsibility from the 12-yard-mark in the 16th minute, but a strong save from Guillermo Ochoa prolonged Portugal’s thorny relationship with penalties after Wednesday’s shootout whitewash against Chile.

All worries would’ve been placed on the back-burner had Nani found the target with his head just a minute later, but a lagging cross saw the Valencia man struggle to keep his effort down from a sound position inside the box.

Having survived Portugal’s early stronghold, Mexico began to put the pieces together and create some problems of their own for the opposition, as a tricky free-kick from FC Porto’s Miguel Layún almost initiated a goal-mouth scramble before being collected by Rui Patrício.

The Sporting shot-stopper proved to be just as decisive in the 30th minute, as Hernandez was allowed the room to turn and fire a wicked strike on his left foot, with Patrício palming the effort over in acrobatic fashion.

Portugal’s reply came via Gelson, again motoring down the right to provide Pizzi with a cross at the far-post, but Layún was quick to deny his Primeira Liga rival from finding the target in the 33rd minute. Mexico’s Peralta then game close to deceiving his own goalkeeper with a headed clearance at his near-post, finding the side-netting instead, as the two nations drifted into half-time with a goalless draw.

A new half was introduced with the same characters rising to prominence, as the Seleção almost broke the deadlock through Gelson’s right-footed volley courtesy of André Silva’s creativity in the final third, but this time Portugal would be made to pay for their wastefulness.

Mexico take lead

Working the channels, Hernandez utilised the time given to him to pick out Peralta at the near-post, but the Club América striker’s movement and non-contact with the ball would go on to deceive both Patrício and Neto, with the latter deflecting the ball into his own goal in the 54th minute.

Gelson continued to look like Portugal’s best bet in registering on the scoreboard, as the Sporting man hit the by-line before finding Pizzi unmarked and witnessing the playmaker drag his effort wide rather uncharacteristically in the 59th minute. Danger continued to orbit Ochoa’s goal, with Gelson meeting João Moutinho’s header across goal just two minutes later to nod an effort in the direction of the Malaga keeper who pulled off a tremendous save.

From the resulting corner, Nani was gifted the perfect opportunity to equalise from within the six-yard-box, but failure to make solid contact with the ball saw today’s skipper glance a header wide towards the far-post. With the game stretching, El Tri almost made full use of the gaps beginning to open up in Portugal’s defence, as Carlos Vela’s half-volley from inside the box offered a scare to Santos’ backline before crashing into the side-netting in the 64th minute.

Pepe to the rescue

Ricardo Quaresma came into the scene in the 70th minute, at the expense of Nani, in hope of turning Portugal’s fortunes around, with the tricky winger alleviating the furious nail-biting when delivering a delightful cross in the 91st minute that was stabbed in by Pepe on the volley, securing extra-time football in the third-place play-off.

The fresh legs of PSV Eindhoven’s latest acquisition, Hirving Lozano, promised to be a handful going into the latter stages of the tournament for the two nations, with the young Mexican becoming the latest to be denied by an inspired Rui Patrício after emerging all alone at the far-post from a corner.

Fatigue on both sides began to induce scrappiness into the game, but a neat attempt at a sombrero from Gelson would spring the game back to life when hitting Layún’s arm an earning a second penalty for Portugal. This time it was Adrien, a favoured taker for his club, that was trusted with bringing the penalty hoodoo to an end, as he sent Ochoa the wrong way to give the Seleção das Quinas a 2-1 advantage just before the break in extra-time.

Tempers boiled in the second period, with Nélson Semedo becoming the first to feel the force of the referee’s disciplinary powers when picking up a second yellow card for a high foot. His Benfica teammate, Raúl Jiménez, replicated the full back’s actions soon afterwards and was also red carded.

Herrera pulled yet another save out of Patrício with a sweetly-struck volley in the 117th minute before calls for a penalty on Héctor Moreno transcended into Mexican fury late on and led the game into a 2-1 victory for Portugal at full time, subsequently clinching third place prior to the Confederations Cup final later this evening.

by Patrick Ribeiro (twitter: @P_SRibeiro)

Portugal: Rui Patrício; Nélson Semedo, Pepe, Luis Neto, Eliseu; João Moutinho (Adrien Silva, 82’), Danilo Pereira (André Gomes, 82’), Pizzi (William Carvalho, 90’); Gelson Martins, André Silva, Nani (Ricardo Quaresma, 70’)

Mexico: Guillermo Ochoa; Néstor Araujo, Héctor Moreno, Rafael Márquez, Miguel Layún; Luis Reyes, Andrés Guardado (Jonathan dos Santos, 80’), Héctor Herrera; Javier Hernandez (Raúl Jiménez, 85’), Oribe Peralta (Hirving Lozano, 61’), Carlos Vela


[0-1] Luis Neto (own goal), 54’

[1-1] Pepe, 90+1’

[2-1] Adrien Silva, 104’


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  • Guest - SupremoGino

    Luis Nani vs. Mexico


    Just thought I'd share this here for those who may be interested. Quite possibly his worst performance ever. The selecçao and us fans deserve much better.

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  • Guest - SupremoGino
    Rated 1 out of 5 stars

    Dude, that is hard to watch. What i found even more disturbing was the reactions from his team mates. I watched Nani vs Mexico and Chile videos. So many giveaways and free headers, that is 2 sure goals that never happened.

    You can clearly see Pepe and Quaresma throw their arms up in frustration.... :( Bad sign.

    from Burlington, ON, Canada
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  • Guest - Canada Guest

    I watched the video link from SupremoGino.

    Watch Pepe's reaction to Nani's misses at roughly the 1:33 and 4:18 mark of the video. Too funny.

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  • Guest - Chris

    That Nani video is very hard to watch indeed. Santos needs to make the cold blooded call to move on from him. Thanks for the prior service Nani, but he's not Ronaldo. Not everyone deserves the loyalty treatment until they retire on their own. Portugal is too good for that. We aren't Estonia. Bruma, Gelson, Queresma, and probably even Podence should all be called above Nani now. It sounds harsh, but Nani shouldn't be called up for a competitive game again unless there's a MASSIVE injury crisis where 2 or 3 forwards in front of him are hurt. Let's see Santos call ups in August.

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  • No matter how we say it, yes it will sound harsh. Plus Nani has always been like this. With confidence he looks like a world beater but without it he looks so lost and slow.

    I think it’s a good sign. The depth Portugal currently have is the best since 2004. We don’t have to have Nani play every game because the drop off after him was huge. That is no longer the case.

    With Portugal having a deep side you can plainly see some players way out of their depth. Either through age or just form, some are slowing the Selecao down. Gelson or Quaresma should start and sub as per the opponent dictates. Hopefully Bruma continues to rise from the mess he did to himself way back when he forced his way out of Sporting and then got a serious injury his 1st year in Turkey.

    When you put out talents like Ronaldo, Pepe, Guerreiro, Cedric, Rui P, Andre Silva, Bernardo and Adrien Silva. The players not meeting expectations are so evident. Nani and Andre Gomes above all others are not keeping up with the rest.

    I think we are all very curious how Santos will address it.

    from Burlington, ON, Canada
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  • Guest - Danny


    This video of Andre Gomes vs Chile is even worse than the one of Nani. Both these guys have no business being on the team.

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  • I feel sorry for Gomes, not his fault that he is this bad. I put the blame on the coaches who put him out there. I believe in giving players who have potential chances and putting them in situations to succeed. Gomes has exhausted his NT chances. The game against Chile could have been a completely different game with a competent MF player instead of Gomes. This guy has no scoring record even at Valencia, given our challenges to score you need a MF with some cutting edge. Also, he is useless in the final third even passing. He is a player with no position, should be relegated to play on a mid tier team in a decent league until he can demonstrate attributes worthy of a call up. There is no dispute, this player has no place on the NT.

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  • Guest - Marques Pombal

    Why is everyone claiming that bruma is the next to fill in. I would recommend Helder Costa. He is something special that benefit the national team.Him playing under Espirito Santo he will flourish. Also having him play along side with Ivan cavaleiro and now neves.

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  • hahaha thats laughable. bruma is on another level don't even try.

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  • Guest - Chris

    Val, that is a great point you make about how we finally have so many good players that the bad ones stick out like sore thumbs, when it used to just be Ronaldo, Pepe, and maybe a fit Coentrao so the level of everyone else looked about the same. Good call on that, it definitely makes guys like Nani and Gomes look even worse.

    I think the Nani situation is also a microcosm of what has held Portugal back from becoming a Brazil/Argentina/Germany/Spain/France on the international stage. I don't care about country size/population, Portugal has had and definitely NOW has the players to be right there with those nations. It's a mentality/perception thing. Look at the Nani situation, and them compare it to something like Schweinstegger with Germany. Was he still being called up for Germany when he was at United not even playing? No a younger player who was actually playing at club level got the call up. Portugal needs to move on from calling up "proven veterans" no matter what, even if they're not playing and/or are out of form. Need to remove the sentimental choice and pick whats best. Guys like Ronaldo can be an exception of course, and obviously he's still great, but the Nani's and Moutinho's of the world need to be moved on from. If Nani does nothing at club level this year and Bruma is balling at Leipzig and Nani still gets the call up over him, that's an issue.

    It's time Portugal take that next step and I think that is a big factor.

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