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Euro 2020 Qualifiers: Wasteful Portugal prepare to host Serbia in crunch clash

ANALYST
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855   //    25 Mar 2019, 19:34 IST

Ronaldo was left frustrated in front of goal despite having a number of good chances against Ukraine.
Ronaldo was left frustrated in front of goal despite having a number of good chances against Ukraine.

The reigning European Champions began their EURO 2020 qualification campaign in frustrating fashion.

Pitted against Ukraine, the Portuguese team were held to a 0-0 draw despite dominating every statistic.

Despite having 18 shots, compared to Ukraine's 6, Portugal were unable to convert any of their opportunities, with the one goal they did score being ruled out for offside.

Although the result was ultimately disappointing for Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal, there are some positives they can take from it.

Firstly, their issue from an attacking perspective wasn't the inability to create chances, but rather a failure to convert.

In addition, the Ukrainian goalkeeper did pull off a number of great saves too. Portugal do seem to pose some goal threat, and it won't be too long before they start to convert these opportunities.

Secondly, defensively they looked fairly solid, with Pepe and co. only enabling Ukraine to have one shot on target against them in the entire match.

Portugal are regarded more for their dogged style of football, as opposed to beautiful free-flowing attacking prowess, nevertheless, with Ronaldo and the current pool of youngsters, they could develop into an exciting team to watch.

Time is what they need to properly gel, and the Euro qualifiers will undoubtedly aid them in that mission. Furthermore, with a fairly easy group and many qualifying matches to come, the Portuguese national side have ample opportunity to find their footing.

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Ronaldo returned from an 8-month absence
Ronaldo returned from an 8-month absence

Tonight, Portugal will host Serbia in their second qualifier. Serbia are yet to play a qualifying match, due to there being an odd number of teams in their group.

This will perhaps serve as an advantage for the Portuguese who have had a chance to warm up.

Serbia are a side of similar stature to Ukraine - the two sides are ranked 31st and 30th in the official FIFA rankings - therefore the challenges facing Portugal tonight will be similar to those they faced on Friday.

However, the Serbian national team possesses arguably a better pool of players, with captain Kolarov and former Chelsea players Ivanovic and Matic in their ranks.

Whilst only time will tell which way this match swings, one thing is for sure, Portugal will need to be more efficient in front of goal, and that includes Ronaldo.

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