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Portugal have won their final two qualifiers for Euro 2020 and clinched a place in next summers tournament. Portugal defeated Lithuania 6-0 and Luxembourg 2-0 to finish in second spot in their group and avoided another trip to the dreaded playoff. What we have learned about Portugal after their last qualifiers and place in Euro 2020.
1- Bernardo Silva is the straw that stirs the drink.
Bernardo Silva continues to show that he has
become the main play making threat on this
Portugal side, having once again starred in the
Portuguese midfield in nations last two qualifiers.
Bernardo chipped in one goal while setting up
three of Portugal's other seven goals in their final
push for a spot in Euro 2020 this summer.
He finished qualifying with three goals and
six assists in eight games as his brilliance in the
midfield will be a key piece of any success that the
national side is to have in Euro 2020. Bernardo who
is coming off being selected the Nations League's Final Four player of the tournament will be counted on by Fernando Santos to create space in the midfield while supplying the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and company with scoring opportunities as Portugal look to defent their Euro 2016 crown.
2- Portugal natural striker options are on the rise.
Fernando Santos did something that we have not
seen since the days of 2014 and that was to name
three natural strikers to the squad for these last
qualifiers. Santos called up Frankfurt strike pair
Andre Silva and Goncalo Pacienca joined by Euro
2016 hero Eder. Pacienca started along Ronaldo
against Lithuania, chipping in a goal and an assist,
while Andre Silva took his turn along Ronaldo in
the Luxembourg qualifier and worked hard on what
Ronaldo called a potato field before he was
substituted in the second half. Fernando Santos
also has at his disposal an upcoming Rafael Leao, an in form Paulinho and youngster Fabio Silva, who's names could be added to the list of striker options as the tournament inches closer. Could we be returning to the days of Pauleta, Nuno Gomes and Helder Postiga? Expect Santos to go with two strikers if in form for this summers tournament.
3- Portugal looks set for a group of death Euro 2020
UEFA has decided that for Euro 2020 they will
ignore the FIFA world rankings and have created
their own seeding system for how countries will
be placed in the four pots for the six group draws.
The seedings will be based on how countries finish
in their respective ten groups and with Portugal
finishing second behind Ukraine, Portugal looks
set to finish as the third best second place team
dropping them to pot 3 and a potential group of
death scenario that could see them joined by a
combination of countries such as England, Italy,
Spain or Germany followed by France, Netherlands, Croatia or Poland. The only way that Portugal would slide into pot 2 is if Estonia somehow do not lose on the road to the Netherlands today, with Estonia having only earned one point in qualifying to date that scenario looks highly unlikely.
WRITTEN BY JORGE CORREIA