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Portugal 3-1 Switzerland: 5 Talking Points & Tactical Analysis 

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
8.90K   //    06 Jun 2019, 09:39 IST

Portugal players wheel away to celebrate with talisman Ronaldo after his hat-trick in their semi-final win
Portugal players wheel away to celebrate with talisman Ronaldo after his hat-trick in their semi-final win

Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick proved enough for Portugal to squeeze past a valiant Switzerland, who, with the victory, earned their place in Sunday's UEFA Nations League final. 

They will play the winner of today's other semi-final between England and the Netherlands, after the Juventus forward continued his impressive goal-scoring record in major tournaments. Since his international debut in 2003, he has now netted in ten major tournaments and despite turning 34 earlier this season, Ronaldo remains their focal point in attack.

AC Milan fullback Ricardo Rodriguez leveled the scoring with a penalty after Barcelona's Nelson Semedo was adjudged to have hauled down Stuttgart's Steven Zuber in the area, before captain Ronaldo led by example deep in the second-half. 

Having broken the deadlock with a free-kick, he helped them retake the lead with a blistering strike at Yann Sommer's near post - before curling one into the bottom corner on a counter-attack just two minutes afterwards. 

The Swiss, despite their best efforts, were made to pay for wasteful finishing and questionable decision-making in midfield at times when Portugal were there for the taking. 

Without further ado, here's a look at five talking points from their late win in Porto.


#5 Silva and Zakaria battle as Carvalho and Xhaka wilt

Bernardo Silva (right) was Portugal's best player barring Cristiano, while Swiss captain Xhaka struggled
Bernardo Silva (right) was Portugal's best player barring Cristiano, while Swiss captain Xhaka struggled

Call me a critic but the sight of Bernardo Silva darting beyond Granit Xhaka, only to be cynically hauled back by his midfield counterpart, felt like deja vu

The pair have battled on a few occasions previously in the Premier League and while Bernardo is already a two-time Premier League champion with Manchester City, Xhaka's future is in unfamiliar territory this summer as he could depart Arsenal before next season begins. 

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Their respective performances rather reflected their contrast in fortunes since joining England's top-flight: Silva was Portugal's best performer bar Ronaldo and always looking to create chances from seemingly nothing. A game-high four key passes, four completed dribbles and five tackles won rather speak for themselves. 

Meanwhile Xhaka struggled to really impose his presence on the match in midfield. His display will be remembered for relinquishing possession cheaply in the build-up to Ronaldo's hat-trick sealing goal late on. 

Whether or not that's harsh is for you to decide. In a frustrating watch, despite the scoreline and chances created, both sets of players flickered between impressive and indecisive throughout. 

William Carvalho, once so highly-rated, was among those in that mix. Denis Zakaria was Switzerland's best player, other than Xherdan Shaqiri - orchestrating attacks from deep and looking to pounce on Portugal's weaknesses.

He did so without necessarily relying on possession either, which is easier said than done. Three tackles, two interceptions and key passes completed, 80% pass accuracy and just 37 touches in 70 minutes show how effective he was without regular service in midfield. 

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