Portugal failed to impress in their first warm up game for the European Championships. Many people’s outside bet for the tournament were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Macedonia. The only real threat the Portuguese posed to the Macedonians’ goal was Cristiano Ronaldo’s long range efforts, but he received little support and Portugal looked unable to produce anything from anyone else on the pitch.
Portugal’s last outing also resulted in a draw. They drew with Poland in February in an equally lack lustre performance.
In this week’s encounter the team that came closest was in fact the Macedonians. Two incidents in particular nearly resulted in Portuguese blushes. Gorna Pandev and Vance Sikov both almost capitalised on defensive errors but Portugal escaped unscathed.
Portugal handed rare starts to Rolando, Ruben Micael and Ricardo Quaresma and if Paulo Bento judges them on this display it will be unlikely they will be gaining any further starts in the near future. Nani came on late for Quaresma and made an impact to some extent. They were still unable to break the deadlock but he at least seemed to make an effort to support the Portugal captain, Cristiano Ronaldo, who played like
David Beckham in his prime.
Throughout the game, Portugal looked unlikely to pose any real threat and had it not been for the second best player in the world there is every chance that Macedonia could have really made their presence felt and could have created and maybe taken more than the two chances they did have in the game. As it was though, Real Madrid‘s Ronaldo’s persistence was enough to allow Portugal to control the game without ever really looking likely to get that all important goal.
The Portuguese will hope that Ronaldo’s impressive display will be the factor that is carried forward from this game and the rest of the team will improve and finishing will be added to their display in good time.
If Portugal have aspirations to progress from their group they will need to improve on this display otherwise Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark will punish them a lot more than Macedonia were able to.