Arsenal of talent

He calculated the trajectory of the ball with frightening precision, flashing quickly to his left at the last second. With an imperious flick of his outstretched left boot, the ball was helplessly committed to everything that would happen afterward as a defender crashed to the turf trying to clear the danger. They idly watched as he pivoted towards goal, letting him take two touches with a casual poise that belied his menacing intent.

A controlled effluence of fury, laces through the ball, and he had scorched the back of the net with a ferocious left-to-right veering effort from 30 yards…

Couldn’t we all wax eloquent in description of so many of Cristiano Ronaldo’s masterful goals?

But this final edition of my series, and indeed this World Cup from Portugal’s point of view, will not be about Ronaldo. Goals like the one described above against Armenia in Euro 2016 qualification may decide the outcome of some individual matches, but I believe the success or failure of Portugal’s 2018 World Cup campaign as a whole rests on other factors.

But that is not because Ronaldo has struggled at times for Real Madrid this season (Or has he? See graphic). On the contrary, Ronaldo, conceivably making his final appearance at a World Cup, is as important to the Seleção as ever, but this tournament like Euro 2016, will be marked by a shift from tactical reliance on one uber-talented virtuoso to a more cohesive team dynamic.

As discussed in Part 2, Portugal’s centreback partnership alone may lack sufficient quality to fend for itself, and will surely require a versatile midfield quartet to mitigate the defensive burden. How Fernando Santos ultimately configures the midfield jigsaw puzzle is as difficult to predict as the progress of the individual players themselves during this club season. As it stands, the depth of our midfield talent pool notwithstanding, the performances of several crucial players at their domestic clubs has not inspired confidence.

But not everyone is struggling, and Santos has proven himself an astute manager in terms of player selection. For the sake of brevity, I will only address three final points regarding Portugal’s dreams of World Cup glory: choosing the right defensive midfielder, choosing the right playmaker, and choosing the right strike partner for Ronaldo.

Holding midfield

The age-old question is solved, isn’t it? William or Danilo, that is. Yet it is an obviously recurring phenomenon that Danilo absolutely dominates William statistically in nearly every available category of measurement during each club season. Furthermore, Danilo stacks up reasonably well against other notorious holding midfielders such as Casemiro and Sergio Busquets. Notably, Danilo’s physical dominance of midfield is a crucial asset that continually lures me back into this debate even after it seems well over. This is especially true given the state of our defence.

Even so, William consistently outperforms Danilo when it matters: for the Seleção.

His range of passing and placid nature anchors our midfield in a way that Danilo has been unable to replicate. My concern with William is how well he can screen our centrebacks during matches when Portugal are unable to retain superior possession. The truth is William plays defence a bit like Andrea Pirlo: not by actually playing defence, but by distributing the ball up-field as soon as he finds a yard of space to deliver a cross. Collecting and spreading the ball away from vulnerable areas as opposed to lying in wait to dispossess an unwary opponent. Of course he can tackle and win duels to an extent, but he is not particularly skilled at either of those activities. William epitomizes the mantra "slow is smooth, and smooth is fast."

While his style of play will suffice against many opponents, I question how well it will hold up against Spain, Germany, or Brazil? In the Euro 2016 final against France, Moussa Sissoko rampaged through our midfield with impunity and left me wondering who was going to stop him. The reality is that William is ill-equipped to solve that type of problem. Danilo has the physical tools and aggression to provide that particular service, which I suspect will be necessary at some point in Russia.

Oh, I remember, we still won the Euro 2016 final, and William was involved in the build-up to the decisive goal. All I am saying is that for our midfield to have the best chance of protecting our soft defence or sustaining an effective attacking rhythm, we need the right defensive midfielder for the right match. In my opinion, William and Danilo should both see the field at this World Cup based purely on our opponent’s identity and playing style.

Rather than fight over which midfielder that should be in each context, it is important to recognize the benefit of having two defensive midfielders who exhibit completely different expressions of the game. Too often when a substitute enters a match, they are just a lesser version of the starting player they are replacing. Not so with William and Danilo. Their natures are so different that their introduction into a match would fundamentally alter the DNA of our squad.

 

Defensive midfield comparision through 22 Jan 2018

This is a huge asset, not a curse. We have a Pirlo-esque alternative and a midfield destroyer, both of whom must play their part if Portugal are to have a realistic chance to win this World Cup. For now, William fully deserves his starting role, but I do hope Santos remains versatile enough to consider Danilo’s merits when the situation requires.

For those suggesting it best to “have our cake and eat it too” by fielding William as the holder and Danilo alongside Pepe, please consider: the best central defenders in World Cup history were not merely those with elite physical tools. It was not those who won every duel and blocked every shot.

Often they were the most tactically astute, and the most experienced; masters of their craft as opposed to physical titans like Vincent Kompany or speed merchants like Rapahael Varane. Fabio Cannavaro and Alessandro Nesta are ideal specimens. There is no question Danilo could play centreback, and Santos may yet opt for this solution. But it takes years to mature the rare ability to track diagonal runs, anticipate the evolution of play through midfield, and simultaneously maintain positional awareness with three other defenders in unison.

For me, this is the same context for understanding the key differences between John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho. The former was a physically aggressive combatant. The latter a graceful tactician.

Who was the better centreback? To that I simply respond with another question: do we really need to ask?

Playmaker

Guns-blazin’ or composed authority? Looking at the statistical output for the leading contenders in central midfield: Adrien, Moutinho, Bruno Fernandes, and Manuel Fernandes, it is a case of one or the other in terms of passing tempo, creative style, and offensive versatility. Both Fernandes’ give Portugal a cutting edge in midfield that could be so very essential given Ronaldo’s decreasing role in build-up play. Adrien is the raw bundle of energy that blunts the opponent’s creativity and the most capable defender in this role, a real Fernando Santos-kinda guy. Moutinho, meanwhile, is the tidiest option in possession.

Still, without hesitation I will argue Bruno Fernandes is in the midst of the most impressive season by a Portuguese central midfielder since the days of Deco or maybe even Rui Costa before him. He has scored 10 goals and recorded 13 assists in 31 matches….from central midfield. Can you even imagine the manner of volatile influence he might have behind a duo of, say, Guedes and Cristiano Ronaldo?

But wait, there is more. According to statistics, Bruno Fernandes is by far the worst in terms of possession. Quite the enigma: a goalscoring central midfielder that apparently cannot hold onto the ball. Is it simply because he so often dispatches it into the back of the net or makes the crucial pass for another player to do so? Or is he wasteful and overly ambitious?

This is where the conundrum deepens because while it seems foolhardy to deprive this Portugal side his goalscoring prowess, there are other important facets of the game that must be considered. What really matters is how Santos weighs up his potential to adapt to this squad’s tactical agenda. Will Fernandes be evaluated as reckless or innovating? Irresponsible or a cutting edge?

For me, the playmaker role is a three-horse race between the Sporting prodigy, Adrien Silva, and Moutinho, and these players could not be more different. For all of Adrien’s useful qualities in curtailing the opposition midfield’s attacking threat, he will likely never replicate Bruno Fernandes’ precision strike efficacy, or mimic the well-timed runs he regularly makes into the penalty area.

Moutinho is the sober choice. An experienced, imperturbable director. But can he defend well enough? Is he a sufficient offensive asset? His adjustment into Santos’ 4-4-2 has been arduous at times. But surely his chemistry with this squad and patient reading of the game could be the difference in a tight match? It was in the Euro 2016 final against France.

 I think everyone of us wants to see fireworks at this World Cup. A rekindling of the Portugal of old. Swashbuckling adventure on the metaphorical high seas. But is that prudent? What kind of risk are we willing to embrace for the sake of watching Bruno Fernandes burn a hole through the net from 30 yards? How much risk will Fernando Santos be willing to assume?

I am fast running out of time and space to continue the mental exercise, but I would like to offer just this last morsel of thought that is rather uncharacteristic of me as a pragmatist...

We may need to go-for-broke this summer. Unleash Bruno Fernandes. Go straight for the throat of those nations who mistakenly believe what the international media is telling them: that Portugal lack the quality to hurt them.

Alexander the Great was one of the great generals of history in part because he behaved unpredictably. In battle, rather than look for weak points, he sought out his enemies’ most formidable defensive vanguard and struck with reckless abandon. He completely defied expectations and savaged those portions of the line that were deemed impenetrable. In destroying the heart of the enemies defence, Alexander shattered his enemies’ morale.

No one suspects a deadly-unpredictable, mercurial avant-garde from Fernando Santos’ Portugal. Right in this moment in which no one cares to assess Portugal as anything more than a hollow defensive shell of a team, it is time to leverage the very best of our attacking weapons with devastating effect. 

Our defence is not equipped to hold forever. What is there to lose?

Forward comparision through 22 Jan 2018

Secondary striker

In the very same vein, Portugal now have at their disposal a rare attacking gem, unearthed and refined this season in La Liga. What really sets Gonçalo Guedes apart from his peers? The two simple characteristics assessed by Sir Alex Ferguson as absolutely essential factors for a top player: “a turn of pace and the ability to read the game.”

Guedes combines his intimidating strike power with that most elusive of talents, the means to find a center of inner composure before making the crucial choice to shoot, pass, or dribble.

Just 21 years old, he is choosing the correct option more and more frequently.

For me, it is not so much that Guedes dominates most statistical categories compared to Portugal’s other forward options, excluding Ronaldo. It is that unlike Bruma or Gelson, there is a broader range of possibilities with Guedes, not just the spectacular strike in the case of Bruma, or the mazy run in the case of Gelson.

Not to mention Guedes completely alters the speed of Portugal’s attacking threat. I love Andre Silva and scorn the day he chose to sign for AC Milan, a troubled club in need of renaissance, but he simply cannot reproduce the spectrum of attacking threats that Guedes consistently displays. Silva, to his credit, has been excellent for Portugal and remains a valuable asset, a luxury Portugal were so often without over much of the last decade.

But Guedes seems destined for something great. How great? I don’t know, but I am wildly anticipating the one-two punch of Cristiano Ronaldo, Portuguese football's own Hercules, with Gonçalo Guedes, quite possibly Ronaldo’s successor as the next mythological hero in the saga of Portuguese football.

The conclusion of the matter

In my estimation, whether it is Guedes or Silva paired with Ronaldo, this Portugal squad have the best forward arrangement of any since Euro 2000 when Nuno Gomes led the line, all due respect to Pauleta. In Bernardo Silva we have the elegant midfield orchestrator we lacked at Euro 2016, and diversely talented attacking options off the bench such as Ricardo Quaresma and Gelson. Only João Mário and his deteriorating situation at Inter concerns me.

Having examined this team’s potential from top to bottom, are we any closer to substantiating the effervescent hope we all feel about our beloved Seleção? Is it yet beyond us to attach our raw imaginations to a base of reason? Whatever you, the reader, have observed in your mind’s eye, I proudly stand by this team’s potential to shock the world for a second time. While potential itself is often as deceiving as it is alluring, I regard it as valid to conclude this Portugal squad has enough to stake their own unique claim to hope, a quality which earnestly resists my best efforts to rationally articulate.

This team may not appear flattering from every individual angle, but within them dwells a full-bodied will to survive and overcome, perhaps the one quality missing from the extraordinarily talented Portugal squads of the past.

Can they really do it?

Will we actually witness Ronaldo finish what his legendary predecessors began by finally scaling the very pinnacle of footballing achievement? The theatre begins 15 June in Sochi. A grander spectacle I can hardly imagine...

 

Força Seleção sempre.

 

by Nathan Motz

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Comments (14)

  1. joe

Great 3 articles.

The talent depth in the full back, wing, midfield and upfront are beyond any seleccao we have seen to this point. What I absolutely mean by that is not just individual quality in depth but individual versatility and quality of...

Great 3 articles.

The talent depth in the full back, wing, midfield and upfront are beyond any seleccao we have seen to this point. What I absolutely mean by that is not just individual quality in depth but individual versatility and quality of players to play a number of roles in the team which gives Santos so many tactical options that he can rearrange against the different opponents we face.

For example, if he goes with a 442, guedes can easily play up front with ronaldo or out on the left mid as he does with valencia and andre silva goes up top. Equally bernardo silva can play centrally or on the right which he prefers. Bruno fernandes can also play as a no10 but is equally adept as an no 8. All of our fullbacks minus cedric are equally adept to play a wing role as well as their position which might be handy against a team with a left or right side with devastating attack, that would give defensively solidity but also not negate offensive ouput, i.e., semedo at full back and joao cancelo right mid, again something that marcelino did with cancelo at valencia why he was there and was quite effective. On the left is the same thing, guerreiro can play along the left from front to back and so can coentrao. Joao mario and andre gomes can also play central mid, out left, or behind striker. The point being is that a tactically astute manager really has an abundant amount of options to suit his gameplan. We have never had that ability as a nation.

In regards to our holding midfield, i agree 100% with your assessment which heeds back to mine, versatility. Who is the opponent and what do we need, a wonderful luxury to have; or do we play both sometimes. Danilo unlike in the past as vastly improved his driving forward with ball and offensive contribution under sergio c., but if you want possesions and calmness and a killer pass, william is your man.

As far as which ones besides those 2 go russia in the heart of the midfield, Santos has tough decisions but my advice is go for versatility, that something special and techincal quality.

Because of the versatility of guedes, b. Silva, j. Mario, a. Gomes, and b. Fernandes....the decision of whom to bring to russia is difficult becuase those players can cover so much of that midfield which allows Santos to bring more wing options such as bruma, martins, amd quaresma amd an extra full back rather than take a central mid when you have 5 players who are equally as good if not better.

A. Silva, j. Moutinho, m. Fernandes are my 3 that are in Santos lottery of who stays or go...the rest mentioned above for me at this stage of the season goes. I bet 2 of those players dont make it. I watched j. Moutinho for monaco the other day...you can see he is not the same player and he was mostly a sub in euro2016. A. Silva is just starting to play a few games now, he wouldnt make team at this point because of lack of game time which leaves just m. Fernandes. He might be a little lax sometimes but i think he can do what the other 2 can do but also provide that little bit extra...he is my pick at this point.

I suppose at this point it will depend on formation, strategy, tactics and opponent for who will play where and how we see this extremely talented and versatile team take shape. Since this is the last article, i will put my team selection and two starting line ups with formations just because its fun to guess.

Gks: Patricio, Lopes, Varela
Def: Pepe, Fonte, Ie, Oliveira, guerreiro, Coentrao, semedo, pereira, Cancelo
mid: william, danilo, m. Fernandes, b. Fernades, a. Gomes
Attack: Ronaldo, guedes, a. Silva, b. Silva, quaresma, martins, bruma, j. Mario

Thats 25 players without moutinho, r. Sanches, adrien silva...2 more need to be cut...I feel sorry for Santos.

My 2 formations based on Santos typical setups, a 442 and a 433.

442

Patricio
Semedo pepe fonte guerreiro
B. Silva william b. Fernandes guedes
Ronaldo a. Silva

433

semedo pepe oliveira guerreiro
Danilo
William a. Gomes
Martins ronaldo guedes

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  1. Marcel Trinity

Don’t forget Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota either. Both getting a lot of time on the pitch (as opposed to many of the others on our team who have made very questionable moves over the summer). For all the talent , even Bernardo is getting...

Don’t forget Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota either. Both getting a lot of time on the pitch (as opposed to many of the others on our team who have made very questionable moves over the summer). For all the talent , even Bernardo is getting menial playing time with PEp at City. I’m hoping that all of their fortunes turn a bit on the coming months but failing that, Santos may take someone like Neves or Jota over J Mario or Andre Gomes or N. Samedo. Also this again highlights the impact of ill advised premature moves away from Portuguese teams; Imagine this conversation if Renato Sanches had stayed with Benifica and J Mario and Andre Silva with sporting and Porto. We have so much talent coming from Portugal if only they had some patience!!!! Also M Fernandez doesn’t do much for me at this point ; I’d much rather take R Neves

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  1. Ash

Guedes works best coming in from the wing. Valencia and Portugal both play this same 442 formation.
My final 23 would be:
Rui Patrício
Anthony Lopes
Beto
Cédric Soares
Nélson Semedo
Pepe
Danilo Pereira
José Fonte
Paulo Oliveira
Raphaël...

Guedes works best coming in from the wing. Valencia and Portugal both play this same 442 formation.
My final 23 would be:
Rui Patrício
Anthony Lopes
Beto
Cédric Soares
Nélson Semedo
Pepe
Danilo Pereira
José Fonte
Paulo Oliveira
Raphaël Guerreiro
Ricardo Pereira
William Carvalho
Rúben Neves
João Moutinho
Adrién Silva
Bruno Fernandes
Manuel Fernandes
Cristiano Ronaldo
André Silva
Gonçalo Guedes
Gelson Martins
Bernardo Silva
Ricardo Quaresma

Assuming Danilo gets moved to Centerback, Neves takes his spot at Defensive mid. I like João Mário but he’s a benchwarmer at Inter. He’ll be completely out of form for such an important tournament. Manuel Fernandes has been outstanding for his club for years now and offers something different to our national team. He’ll also be used to playing in Russia.
André Gomes offers absolutely nothing so why bring him when there are options a million times better.

More offensive:
Rui Patricio
Cedric Pepe Danilo Guerreiro
Bernardo William Adrien Guedes
Silva Ronaldo

More Defensive:
Rui Patricio
Cedric Pepe Danilo Guerreiro
Bernardo William Adrien M.Fernandes
Guedes Ronaldo

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  1. jon/usa

Barring injury, Joao Moutinho, Adrien, William, and Danilo are all but guaranteed a spot on the world cup squad. That probably leaves one extra spot for a #8-ish type of player. Bruno and Manuel Fernandes, Andre Gomes, and perhaps Renato Sanches...

Barring injury, Joao Moutinho, Adrien, William, and Danilo are all but guaranteed a spot on the world cup squad. That probably leaves one extra spot for a #8-ish type of player. Bruno and Manuel Fernandes, Andre Gomes, and perhaps Renato Sanches (if he can get a run of good form under Carvalhal) are all competing for that last spot. The likes of Ruben Ribeiro and Rony Lopes can play centrally, but they are likely competing with Bernardo Silva, Joao Mario, Quaresma, and Gelson for one of 4-5 available spots -- likely a conversation for the next segment of this series of Seleccao-related posts.

While I agree that Danilo has an edge of William in terms of pure defending, I've always preferred the Sporting man's style of play. Danilo shields a defense extremely well with his tireless running and tough-tackling, but he has nowhere near the passing range of William Carvalho. It also has to be said that William has more than held his own against both Real Madrid and Barcelona, so I'm not the least bit worried about his defensive capabilities in big games. His lack of pace can be exposed when games open up, but with Fernando Santos at the helm, our games almost always seem to be on the tight and cagey side. Nonetheless, Danilo is still an excellent alternative if William isn't fit to start.

Bruno Fernandes offers a real cutting edge in the final third, but as Nathan mentioned, he's a bit too sloppy in possession for my liking. There's nothing wrong with taking risks, but I feel a more neat and tidy type of player a la Joao Mario is perhaps better suited to Fernando Santos' preferred style of play.

In my opinion, our big-game midfield should consist of William, Moutinho, J.Mario, and Bernardo.

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  1. Nick J

Patricio
Ricardo P. Pepe CB Coentrao
William Danilo
B. Silva B. Fernandes Guedes
Ronaldo

I’d take J.Mario if possible but if its between him and Andre Gomes then I don’t know.

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  1. Rolf Gerber    Nick J

Your 4231 looks like an interesting option. William and Danilo paired would allow William to provide more influence in offence terms. With his positioning, stature, vision, passing accuracy and ability to read the game, William brings everything...

Your 4231 looks like an interesting option. William and Danilo paired would allow William to provide more influence in offence terms. With his positioning, stature, vision, passing accuracy and ability to read the game, William brings everything of a dominating playmaker. While Danilo can be the destroyer against opposition that cannot be controlled sufficiently. Control is what Santos wants - letting the game open up is the last thing he likes (Euro 16 Hungary!). Sure Santos will keep that concept. The success is depending from cohesion within the group and tactical intelligence - and sure from individual brilliance. In your 4231, all personel can operate in their preferred areas except CR7. That's the weak point of it. But each of the 3 formation-wise behind him, can partner-up with Ronaldo.

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  1. Nick J    Rolf Gerber

Well CR7 is basically a striker now so he could operate centrally quite easily but if he does drift wide then one of B. Silva B. Fernandes Guedes can move into the middle!

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  1. Neville

The present inform lot that are doing well at their respective clubs

Rui Patricio ( Sporting Lisbon)
Anthony Lopes (Olympique Lyonnais)
Beto (Fernabache)
Pepe (Besiktas)
Paulo Oliveira (Elbar)
Neto
Ruben Vezo(Valencia)
Cedric Soares (Southamton)
...

The present inform lot that are doing well at their respective clubs

Rui Patricio ( Sporting Lisbon)
Anthony Lopes (Olympique Lyonnais)
Beto (Fernabache)
Pepe (Besiktas)
Paulo Oliveira (Elbar)
Neto
Ruben Vezo(Valencia)
Cedric Soares (Southamton)
N Samedo ( Barcelona)
F Coentrao ( Sporting Lisbon)
Rafael Guereiro (Borusia Dortmund)
Mario Rui (Napoli)
Joao Concelo (Inter)
Danilo Pereira (Porto)
William Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon)
Ruben Neves (Wolverhamton)
Bernando Silva ( Manchester City)
Joao Mario (Inter)
Joao Moutinho (Monaco)
Adrien Silva (Leicester)
Andre Gomes(Barcelona)
Pizzi (Benifica)
Bruma(RB Leipzig)
Nani (Lazio)
Ricardo Queresma (Besiktas)
Goncalo Guedes (valencia)
Rony Lopez ( Monaco)
Gelson Martins (Sporting Lisbon)
Diogo Jota ( Wolverhampton)
Cristiano Ronaldo(Real Madrid)
Eder (Lokomotive Moscow)

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  1. Steve Harrison

I've said this before and I'll put my crash helmet on and say it again, there's a high degree of delusional thinking going on when you all start talking about the strength in depth of the current Portuguese side.

The personnel who make up the...

I've said this before and I'll put my crash helmet on and say it again, there's a high degree of delusional thinking going on when you all start talking about the strength in depth of the current Portuguese side.

The personnel who make up the new Golden Generation keeps on changing as each successive wunderkind proves to be just another Hugo Viana.

Let's start with the two Andres: Gomes and Silva. Both have had their flaws exposed since graduating to the big leagues.

And, in the middle of the park, well just 18 months ago it was Sanches and Mario who were going dominate the Selecao's mid field for years to come. At least it looked that way when they were playing against the likes of Estoril and Tondela every week. But since then, have been tested and found wanting against much better opposition. And the truth is they are really not that great.

While a much better player than either of the above, Bernado has also thus far failed to deliver . He was bought to take over from a fading David Silva. Or replace Raheem Sterling who Pep suspected of flattering to decieve. But both have raised their games while Bernardo has stood still, or sat still on the Citeh bench.

But hey; let's not dwell on any of that. Because we now have two new worldbeaters in Bruno Fernandes and Ruben Neves. And yes, they're fine playing against Boavista and Burton Albion. But what makes you believe they can step up five levels and take on Belgium and Brazil next July?

To talk about Bruno Fernandes in the same post as Deco and Rui Costa is ridiculous. And to liken William to Pirlo is even more absurd.

Likewise to suggest that Santos might resort to "swashbuckling adventure on the metaphorical high seas" is the kind of self-deception I'm capable of only after half a bottle of Macieira.

Aside from me, I reckon there's just one other person who isn't deluding themselves about the quality of the squad that's going to Russia, and that's Fernando Santos. You can bet that to compensate for this deficiency he will be playing the same cautious, defensive game that served him so well in Euro 2016. And he'll be falling back on the over 30s: Patricio, Pepe, Coentrao, Font, Moutinho, Nani and the only two players with the skill to turn a game at World Cup level: CR7 and RQ20.

I sincerely hope I'm wrong and I'll gladly buy any one of you a beer in Povoa's Nautico Bar in June or (and this too may be wishful thinking) in Vauxhall's Estrela in July.

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  1. Neville

Most Important is to see how the team will combine rather than individual brilliance.

There are players who play well (combine) with the national teams even when they don't really do well at the club level for various reasons not all attributed...

Most Important is to see how the team will combine rather than individual brilliance.

There are players who play well (combine) with the national teams even when they don't really do well at the club level for various reasons not all attributed to the players. The player success at the club is based on the club manager and with other club players, style of play, position of players etc.
Playing with the national team is a different ball game, the combination of players by the Coach Santos would depend upon be experience of older players with the new generation.
We need players who have an eye to win every match and win the world cup.
But I would say that we need a little bit of luck and prayers for Seleccao Portuguese team to win the World cup. We need to take our lucky charm "EDER" to the world cup.

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  1. Ricky

Very hard decision Santos has on the final 23 but with so much talent it's a good headache to have so my 23.
Goalies
Rui
Lopes
Varela
Defense
Cedric
Nelson s
Pepe
Fonte
Bruno alves
Edgar le
Guerrio
Ricardo Pereira
Midfield
Danilo
Willi...

Very hard decision Santos has on the final 23 but with so much talent it's a good headache to have so my 23.
Goalies
Rui
Lopes
Varela
Defense
Cedric
Nelson s
Pepe
Fonte
Bruno alves
Edgar le
Guerrio
Ricardo Pereira
Midfield
Danilo
William c
Bruno fernades
Joao Mario
Manuel fernades
Bernardo silva
Quresma
Forward
Cr7
Guedes
Bruma
Andre Silva
Gelson martins
Very tough choices must be made but our 1st game we need to walk away with a point

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  1. Joao

As much as we need some one like Danilo in defense, Santos isn’t going to move a player out of position.
If I had to make the call ups I would go with
Rui Patrício
Anthony Lopes
Beto
Cédric Soares ( hasn’t been as good as last season but is...

As much as we need some one like Danilo in defense, Santos isn’t going to move a player out of position.
If I had to make the call ups I would go with
Rui Patrício
Anthony Lopes
Beto
Cédric Soares ( hasn’t been as good as last season but is always solid for the NT)
Ricardo Pereira (I love Semedo but Pereira has been more consistent)
Pepe
Paulo Oliveira (Consistent for club better than liability Alves at this point)
Edgar Ié (Consistent for club better than Neto]
José Fonte
Raphaël Guerreiro
Fábio Coentrão (If he keeps up his current form and doesn’t get injured)
William Carvalho
Danilo Pereira
Adrien Silva
João Mário (If he gets in form. If not then João Moutinho)
Manuel Fernandes (Having a good season. Offers more than Gomes)
Bruno Fernandes (Having a breakout season)
Cristiano Ronaldo
André Silva (Not having a good season some of it not his own fault but he’s proven his worth with the NT)
Bernardo Silva
Gonçalo Guedes (Having a breakout season)
Ricardo Quaresma
Gelson Martins

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