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World Cup 2018: 3 things we learnt from Portugal's group games

Sachin Bhat
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
2.21K   //    27 Jun 2018, 18:56 IST

It has been a mixed World Cup for Portugal
It has been a mixed World Cup for Portugal

Portugal survived an almighty scare in the last group game against Iran but eventually progressed through to the last 16 by the skin of their teeth.

Better days awaited the side after the sensational 3-3 draw against Spain in the opener with Cristiano Ronaldo too hitting the throttle. But by the end of the third group game, there were plenty of issues and cause of concern for Fernando Santos ahead of the mouth-watering clash against Uruguay.

Despite what appeared to be a fairly straightforward group, it was anything but for Portugal. Here's what we learnt from their three group games:


#3 Portugal have serious fullback problems

Guerreiro has become a pain point for Portugal at the left-back position
Guerreiro has become a pain point for Portugal in the left-back position

When the 23-man squad was announced, many predicted Portugal to have defensive concerns given the ageing personnel. But while the centre-back pairing of Pepe and Jose Fonte, who have a combined age of 69, have proved to be alright, real concerns have emerged in the fullback positions.

Cedric Soares has blown hot and cold so far. He was the best performer against Morocco, but in games against Spain and Iran, the Southampton star displayed a poor reflection of himself.

He was completely out of position in the build-up to Spain's second goal and conceded the late penalty against Iran, though it was down to an incorrect decision. But Rafael Guerreiro has proved to be the weakest link at the back.

Guerreiro's influence plummeted drastically after the first match and was well off the pace in the Morocco game. Most of their attacks stemmed down the left flank and the Borussia Dortmund fullback was belted black and blue by Nordin Amrabat.

When Portugal struggled to break down a gritty Iranian defence, he didn't help out appropriately in the attack and also failed to link up with Adrien Silva up front.

Uruguay would definitely try and poke this side of Portugal's system to launch attacks and maybe it's time to bring on Marco Rui in his place to shore up the defence.

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Sachin Bhat
ANALYST
Football aficionado. Writing enthusiast. Aspiring journalist.
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