Thursday, 30 June 2016

Poland v Portugal Match Analysis

Poland got off to a storming start. A shocking bit of defending from Southampton's Cedric allowed Poland's Kamil Grosicki to get in behind and float the ball into the box for the main man Robert Lewandowski to finish first time with a genius finish to make it 1-0 to Poland. The drought was over for Lewandowski who grabbed his first goal at Euro 2016. Poland continued to dominate the game and tested Rui Patricio in the Portugal goal on several occasions mainly through the lively Arkadiusz Milik.


Portugal started to come into the game from the 25th minute. Cristiano Ronaldo was pushed to the ground by Polish defender Pazdan but the referee saw nothing wrong with it and gave no penalty. Ronaldo was infuriated with the decision being denied a clear penalty after the clumsy defending of Pazdan. Soon after Portugal were level. After some elaborate play from Nani who backheeled the ball to Renato Sanches who shifted the ball and took aim to fire the ball into the back of the net past Lukas Fabianski to make it 1-1. The wonder kid announcing himself in style at Euro 2016 grabbing his first goal for his country. Although the ball did take a slight deflection off Grzegorz Krychowiak it should take nothing away from the brilliance of that goal.

The second half didn't have the same verve as the first half. The first clear chance we saw was from Poland. Jedrzejczyk sent the cross into the box to be hot my Milik but Rui Patricio was there with an instinctive reaction save the deny Poland. The dullness that epitomised the second half was summed up when Pep surged forward from his backline and looked to play in Ronaldo but Jedrzejczyk got to it first and sent it flying towards goal but Fabianski was able to smother the ball to leave the score at 1-1. A frankly mind numbing half of football at this point EastEnders seemed a better source of entertainment than this game.

The game went into extra time. If you thought the second half was dull then you hadn't seen anything. The 30 minutes of extra time were eventless with both teams looking tired and ragged and offering up nothing in terms of any real quality. If you were still watching and hadn't fallen asleep the game went to a penalty shootout and thankfully they're never dull. After a perfect 4 penalties for both teams former Poland captain Blaszczykowski stepped up and saw his penalty saved by Patricio after he aimed for the bottom corner but Portugals number one read his intentions and denied the Borussia Dortmund man. Portugal now had the chance to win the shootout and the man it fell to, Ricardo Quaresma with penalty number 5 for Portugal. The chance to be the hero was there for the maveric winger who made no mistake and slotted home the penalty to send Portugal to the semi finals. The ego of Cristiano Ronaldo may need some care as he usally has the task of penalty number 5 to seize the glory but not today he was number one on the list. Of course Cristiano is surly more concerned with his teams progression rather than satisfying his ego.

Incredibly Portugal are through to the semi finals without winning a game in regular time. Their 2-1 win over Croatia came after extra time in the last 16. It is quite astonishing that Portugal have not actually won a game in normal time an yet they are in the finals. Have they been lucky or is it good tactical structure set up by manager Fernando Santos as we saw him do with his previous teams. One thing that is certain is that they haven't shown us what they can truly do with the players in that squad so where better to turn on the style than is a semi final, especially for Ronaldo who has cut a fustrated figure at Euro 2016. Can he show his true self and lead his nation past Wales or Belgium to reach the final?



















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