Cristiano Ronaldo News

Friday, November 03, 2006

The worst Portugal, the best Poland

Portuguese national team ended double-match qualifying round with a defeat (1-2)


Portugal lost 1-2 against Poland and wasn't able to achieve what Luiz Felipe Scolari has set: 4 points in two matches. Portugal never lost a match for the European Championship qualifying stage in the last eight years. They lost yesterday night, probably the worst performance since Scolari took command of the national team, being their 10th defeat in three years.
Starting with Petit instead of Maniche, the only difference from the line-up against Azerbaijan last Saturday, the first moments of the game were a nightmare for Portugal, which was losing 2-0 already in the 18’ minute, with Smolarek being their ‘hangman’ and scoring in the only two opportunities Poland has created. The first goal came at 9’, after Ricardo saved a first attempt; and the second at 18’ with a strong shot inside the box. In between, Zurawski sent the ball to Ricardo’s post.
Poland defence was merciless and Portugal never managed to play their usual football the entire first-half, doing nothing but running after the ball. The fact that the only danger next to Poland’s goal has been created at 36’ is symptomatic; in a corner by Deco to which Simão wasn’t able to put his head after a volley from Nuno Gomes.
Being this, Portugal came to play second half – with Tiago for Costinha – with only two shots made against six from Poland. Portuguese football improved, but not quite enough to foresee that score could turn in their favour. Portugal managed to get closer and closer to the Polish goal, but only a few plays produced real danger and, unalterably, they were followed by quick Poland counter-attacks. It was clear that Cristiano Ronaldo was not at his best condition after being severely tackled by Lewandowski at 20’, leaving the Portuguese player injured.
Yet, the best opportunity in the game for the Portuguese squad came from his feet, already with Nani and Maniche on the pitch for Petit and Deco: with five minutes to play, Nani served Cristiano Ronaldo, but he failed to slide the ball the correct side of Kowalewski left post. Portugal’s solitary goal was scored in injury time by Nuno Gomes, after a nice play from Maniche and with Simão crossing the ball from the right.
There were nine players on the field represented by Gestifute: Ricardo Carvalho, Ricardo Rocha, Costinha, Deco, Cristiano Ronaldo, Simão, and Tiago, Nani and Maniche, these last three entering in the second half.
After this third qualifying match for Euro’2008 tournament, Portugal stands with a win, a draw and a defeat, being fifth in the group with four points and one match short. Serbia is the leader with 10 points, followed by Finland with 8, Poland and Belgium with 7. Kazakhstan is sixth with two points and with only one point are Azerbaijan and Armenia, the later also with one match short.
The next match is scheduled for November 15, in Coimbra, where Portugal will face Kazakhstan.


“We made childish mistakes: we left their players unmarked, we ran against each other, things that don't usually happen and that the opponent took advantage of. Poland played with all its players behind the ball, only crossing the midfield at eight minutes and to score. Poland’s first opportunity ended up in goal, and so did the second. They were thrilled with the result and played very well. Their physical condition is great… With 90 minutes played, their right and left defenders were able to run coast to coast… Poland players’ fitness and our mistakes got us defeated. Poland is a great team, played well, organized and deserved to win.
We tried to correct some of our mistakes in second half. Now we are in fifth place, things are more difficult but we have to win back the lost point.
[About Petit’s position a bit forward in the field] He played this way because I thought it was best for tonight’s match and he already played there against Finland.”


“They started better, very strong and scored when they had the chance. They played better. They overtook us by playing at a very high pace. Portugal could have reached a different score, but the goal came too late. We have to keep on working, stand together, and move on.”

Stadium Slaski, in Chorzow (Poland).
Referee: Wolfgang Stark (Alemanha). Assistants: Volker Wezel and Harry Ehing.
Yellow card: Lewandowski (20’), Simão (22’), Ricardo Carvalho (61’) and Kowalewski (90’+2’).
POLAND – Kowalewski; Golanski, Bak, Radomski and Bronowicki; Lewandowski, Blaszcykowski (Krzynowek, 66’), Sobolewski and Smolarek; Rasiak (Matusiak, 74’) and Zurawski.
Coach: Leo Beenhakker.
PORTUGAL – Ricardo; Miguel, Ricardo Carvalho, Ricardo Rocha and Nuno Valente; Costinha (Tiago, 45’) and Petit (Nani, 68’); Deco (Maniche, 83’), Cristiano Ronaldo and Simão; Nuno Gomes.
Coach: Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Full-time: 2-1. Half-time: 2-0. Score: 1-0: Smolarek, 9’. 2-0: Smolarek, 18’. 2-1: Nuno Gomes, 90’+2’.


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