Portugal 0-1 Spain: Selecao Player Ratings as Cristiano Ronaldo draws a blank in disappointing defeat | UEFA Nations League 2022-23

Portugal v Spain: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 2
Portugal v Spain: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 2

Portugal were defeated 1-0 by Spain in the UEFA Nations League on Tuesday, September 27. The result meant Spain, the visitors, pipped hosts Portugal to qualify for the semi-finals to be held next year.

Portugal entered this contest on the back of a dominant 4-0 win against the Czech Republic in Prague in their last game. That saw them leapfrog Spain into the top spot in League A Group 2, with a two-point lead.

Portugal won three, drew one and lost one of their five games to earn their 10 points. Coach Fernando Santos fielded a strong lineup in the key clash against Spain, knowing that they needed to avoid defeat to progress to the semi-finals.

Portugal started the game well and maintained good shape even as Spain dominated possession of the ball. The visitors kept the ball 72% of the time, but played most of their football near the halfway line. Their midfielders and forwards remained passive and only pressed the opposition once they entered their half.

The hosts attempted four shots in the first period, with two of them on target, forcing saves from Unai Simon. Ruben Neves and Bruno Fernandes made positive starts to the game in midfield, helping Portugal progress the ball effectively. Cristiano Ronaldo did well to keep Spain's defenders occupied and even got Hugo Guillamon booked for persistent fouling.

Portugal were gifted their best chance just before half-time as Simon misplaced a pass while playing from the back. However, Ronaldo failed to capitalize and saw his shot sail into the stands. The teams went into the break deadlocked at 0-0.

Both Spain and Portugal began the second half just as they had ended the first. Tackles flew in and central areas of the pitch were heavily contested by the midfielders. The hosts continued to concede possession, allowing their opponents to arrive in large numbers in key areas.

Coach Santos left it until midway through the second period to make his first alteration, bringing Joao Mario into the fray. He made a few other changes in a bid to turn his team's fortunes around. However, they were left exposed at the back and dealt a late blow.

Substitute Nico Williams found himself unmarked in the box and cushioned a header down for Alvaro Morata to smash in from close-range. Portugal's defenders were caught napping and were punished instantly.

They failed to find a response despite Ronaldo's late chance and bowed out of the competition. On that note, let's take a look at how each of their players performed.

Portugal Player Ratings

Diogo Costa - 7/10

Costa had little to do for the majority of the game as Spain failed to register a shot on target until late in the second half. He made four saves in the second period and played five accurate long balls.

Joao Cancelo - 7/10

Cancelo often ventured forward to join Portugal's attack and dribbled the ball with finesse. He won three of his six duels and made three clearances and one interception. Cancelo also played one key pass, one accurate cross and completed two successful dribbles.

Danilo Pereira - 7/10

Pereira looked solid at the heart of Portugal's defense and used his physicality well. He won all five of his duels and made two tackles and three clearances.

Ruben Dias - 7/10

Dias was strong in the tackle and astute with positioning as he anchored Portugal's defense. He won five of his six duels and made nine clearances. Dias also played three accurate long balls and attempted three shots, of which two were off target and one was blocked.

Nuno Mendes - 7/10

Nuno Mendes looked lively going forward and combined well with Carvalho and Fernandes. He won 14 of his 21 duels and made seven tackles. He also plassed the ball with 75% accuracy, including two long balls.

Ruben Neves - 7/10

Neves was the chief ball-distributor for the hosts and passed it around with precision. He passed the ball with 87% accuracy, including one key pass and three long balls. He also attempted one shot on target and won two of his six duels.

William Carvalho - 6.5/10

Carvalho defended well and closed the players down quickly, rarely allowing Spain too much time on the ball. He passed the ball with 91% accuracy, including one key pass and two long balls. He won two of his seven duels and made three interceptions.

Bruno Fernandes - 7.5/10

Fernandes attempted a spectacular shot in the first half which whizzed past the upright and missed by a matter of inches. He passed the ball with 54% accuracy, including three key passes, one cross and one long ball. He also won eight of his 14 duels.

Bernardo Silva - 6.5/10

Silva dribbled through tight spaces with ease and passed the ball around well. He passed the ball with 81% accuracy including one key pass and one cross. He won three of his seven duels and was also booked for a foul.

Diogo Jota - 7/10

Jota had a few chances to score but was denied well by Simon. He passed the ball with 78% accuracy including one key pass. He won six of his 16 duels and attempted one shot that was on target.

Cristiano Ronaldo - 6.5/10

Ronaldo looked active as he kept both of Spain's central defenders occupied and looked to turn past them. He attempted two shots and saw both saved by Unai Simon. Ronaldo also won four of his seven duels and played two accurate long balls.


Joao Mario - 6.5/10

He came on midway through the second half and put in an average performance.

Rafael Leao - 6/10

Leao came on with just under 15 minutes left to play and missed an easy chance to score from.

Vitinha - 6/10

Vitinha came on in the closing stages of the game and put in a decent performance.

Joao Felix - N/A

He came on late in the game and did not do enough to warrant a rating. Hid did, however, receive a booking.

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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