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Diogo Jota
Bernardo Silva

Three things we learned about Portugal after their first three World Cup qualifiers.



April 4/21


Portugal opened their World Cup 2022 qualifying in March with three games against Azerbaijan, Serbia and Luxembourg and if not for a horrible call in additional time that missed the ball crossing the line against Serbia for the win,  they would have been a perfect three for three instead of earning two wins and a draw in their encounters. This is the three things we learned about Portugal after the start to their campaign.














1- Bernardo Silva may be becoming Portugal's best player.


Bernardo Silva is the main play making threat on

this Portugal side, his creativity is unmatched when

it comes to national team play and  we may be

getting to the point in calling him Portugal's best

player as the torch looks to be slowly be passed from

Cristiano Ronaldo who now counts on Bernardo's

magic to get him the ball up front as he bobs and

weaves through the opposition. There is no one on

this Portugal squad with the skill and confidence on

the ball at this time like Bernardo Silva. The one knock on Bernardo could be his pass first mentality which has led him to score only seven goals for the national side while setting up eighteen goals in his 54 appearances. For those who look only at the goals scored stat you are missing the brilliance that the 2019 Nations League M.V.P. does on the field in the lead up.


2- Diogo Jota shows why we need to take him serious.


Diogo Jota is making it very difficult to take him out

of the starting eleven with his performances for

Portugal since earning his first cap in November

2019. Jota has scored six goals in twelve appearances

to date and added half that total in the two games

that he played over this qualifying. If Jota continues

on this pace he could be in Portugal's top ten all time

scorers in the next couple of years. Jota has earned

his place in the starting eleven going forward over

the likes of Joao Felix and Andre Silva and is a

welcome addition along side Ronaldo who can not

always be counted on to provide the majority of the nations goals. Jota looks confident on and off the ball and is slowly gaining the attention of opposition defenders which will help find Ronaldo a bit more open space on the field.



3- Fernando Santos shows his stubbornness


There is no doubt that Fernando Santos is Portugal's

greatest manager, bringing home the first two ever

International trophies on the senior men's side but

his starting eleven selection and substitutions left

too many questions and doubts in many minds.

Santos choice to only play an in form Andre Silva a

total of 75 minutes in all three games had a few

wondering why the striker was not utilized more

in games that required scoring. His choice to switch

Joao Cancelo from right back to left back in the

Serbia game instead of keeping Cancelo on the right side, were he has dominated this season was odd and Cancelo's sub par performance on his wrong side hurt the squad in this game. Santos' most stubborn quality may just be in not substituting Ronaldo in just about any game he plays which may continue to be the case until CR7 sets the all time International goal scoring record but Ronaldo is not the same player and a change in tactics should be something to consider and hurts Portugal's growth as a squad when it is not done.


WRITTEN BY JORGE CORREIA

Fernando Santos