Rating the Portuguese players after victory over Switzerland: who got a 5, and who got a 9?
After an entertaining clash yesterday, we look back at Portugal’s performers on a day that Portugal advanced to their third international final in history.
Rui Patricio - 6/10
A solid game from Rui between the sticks. Great stop in a one-on-one with Shaqiri very early on set the tone of the game and Rui remained a safe pair of hands from both crosses and shots throughout. Not a great deal to do but when called upon he did what he needed to do.
Docked a point because of the penalty; he went the right way, got a hand to it, and should’ve kept it out.
Nelson - 8/10
A terrific game from the Barcelona right back, constantly bombing forwards to help out with the attack. There were a few question marks about his inclusion over Joao Cancelo before the match, but ultimately Fernando Santos’ faith in the 25-year old former Benfica fullback was repaid. That last-ditch tackle to block a shot on target late on was phenomenal and stopped what looked like a great goalscoring opportunity.
He did give away the penalty that allowed Switzerland to equalise early on in the second half, although he didn’t know much about it and, by most accounts, the decision was harsh. Otherwise, a great game.
Ruben Dias - 8/10
Ruben Dias was a rock in defence for Portugal. Switzerland were relying quite heavily on crosses and persevered with whipping balls into the box, but Dias almost always seemed to be in the right place at the right time to header the ball away.
An outstanding last-ditch tackle when Rui Patricio was caught outside the box meant that Portugal’s clean sheet remained intact in the first half - and the Benfica boy was arguably the best player on the pitch - bar one.
The 22-year old will have certainly impressed the onlooking Manchester United scouts, who are believed to be heavily interested in the centreback.
Pepe - 7/10
Pepe also had a very solid game for Portugal; Porto fans may have been less than impressed by the veteran centreback during this season, but his efforts for Portugal were commendable. An excellent display from the 37-year old, who is still going strong for his country.
Just such a shame that he suffered that shoulder injury just after the hour mark which ended his night early - and he’s a serious doubt for the final now.
Raphael Guerreiro - 6/10
A mixed display for the leftback; adventurous going forwards, but again struggled defensively and tracking back. Very nearly cost Portugal a goal when he failed to get on the end of a William Carvalho pass at the halfway line, before only jogging back to the defence to try and win back the ball.
Ruben Neves - 7/10
Playing in a deeper role, Neves generally guarded the defence well and showed good positional awareness and tackling, although did produce a few misplaced passes and had one poor shot off target. However, his pass for Portugal’s second goal was phenomenal, and bumps him up from a 6 to a 7.
William Carvalho - 9/10
As we’re getting used to, William Carvalho yet again put in a dominant shift for the national team. His strength, his composure, his ability to dribble at opponents and seamlessly shrug them off - Carvalho was dominant at both ends of the pitch with his physicality and creativity both intertwining to produce a terrific performance. He also covered for Guerreiro at left back very well indeed; as we know, Guerreiro does struggle with the defensive side of his game, and Carvalho, playing as almost that inverted left midfielder, was always there to help Guerreiro deal with attacks down the Swiss right side.
Bruno Fernandes - 6/10
Yet again for all of his efforts and top-draw performances at club level, Fernandes was highly ineffectual for the national team. Failed to really deliver any quality crosses into the box - and he tried a few times - and just generally didn’t really have the desired impact. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him dropped for the final.
Bernardo Silva - 8/10
Unlike Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva managed to show at least some of his brilliance from his time with Manchester City. Composed on the ball, willing to dribble at players, the Swiss defenders had a hard time getting the ball off Bernardo and dealing with his trickery. He lived up to expectations.
Joao Felix - 5/10
A testing day for the 19-year old forward. And a real learning curve. It wasn’t a disastrous night, and there were flashes of quality from the Benfica teenager, but ultimately he made minimal impact and was largely ineffectual. A tough game to be thrown into to make a debut, and he has an outstanding future ahead of him, but this game emphasised that Felix remains a raw talent.
Cristiano Ronaldo - 9/10
Wow. Just wow. The astonishing thing is that this wasn’t even one of Ronaldo’s better games in a Portugal shirt. Not able to get into the game too often and showing perhaps a bit of rustiness with some poor touches and control in the opposition box, Ronaldo was far from his scintillating best - and yet he comes out of the match with a phenomenal hattrick!
That delightful free-kick - people criticise Swiss keeper Sommer, but the swerve he generated on the ball completely wrong-footed him and made that goal a brilliant triumph from a technical point of view.
Between his first goal in the 25th minute and his second in the 88th though, he did very little. But, as the perfect big-game and big-moment player, when the ball fell to him, he made no mistake, and got his second with just 2 minutes remaining when he lashed the ball past the Swiss shot-stopper for the second time on the night.
And, to put the icing on the cake, he produced a sublime counter just moments later, sprinting forward from the halfway line into the opposition box, producing a couple of rapid step-overs, before unleashing a well-placed strike to the keeper’s left. Delightful. Exquisite. And many more superlatives.
Jose Fonte (on for Pepe 63rd min) - 7/10
Fonte came off a great season with Lille and slotted into the Portugal backline when called upon with half an hour remaining. Replacing the injured Pepe, Fonte filled the hole left by the Porto centreback perfectly and maintained a solid backline alongside Ruben Dias.
Goncalo Guedes (on for Felix 70th) - 5/10
It looked like this was going to be a poor substitution for Fernando Santos just a few minutes after his introduction. With Rafa and Diogo Jota available on the bench, there will have been more than a few scratching their heads when Guedes was the man chosen to come on, and even more when his incredibly heavy pass dribbled over the touchline to end a very promising Portugal attack.
But he continued to work hard for the team, and was crucial in Portugal’s third goal, unleashing Ronaldo before completing a great run from the halfway line that dragged a defender out of his place, creating the space for Ronaldo to exploit and ultimately allowed him to score his third and final goal.
Joao Moutinho (on for Fernandes 90th min) - n/a
Didn’t have much time to make an impact but always a great sight to see the hardworking Moutinho being brought on when you have a two-goal lead to see out late on. A safe pair of hands that helped get the job done at the end.
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