The present day Portugal team is undoubtedly the best in the nation's history, but sadly, Nuno Santos's team is struggling to win games against the top nations.
The disappointing 2-1 defeat to Serbia a few days ago showed how disjointed the team is. Despite having one of the best sets of players in the world today, Portugal still plays averagely without cohesion, teamwork and determination to win.
But, what might be the problem with the Portugal national team? Below are a few reasons I can think of, based on my observations thus far.
01. No Team Work:
A team full of star-studded players always finds it difficult to create a good playing pattern that makes the team fluid and unpredictable. In Portugal's case, they are struggling to play collectively as a team, which is something we see from Paris Saint-Germain when Messi is in the team.
02. Playing More Individual Football:
Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal team plays more individually, making it difficult for the team to comfortably see off a well-organized team if a few of the team's star men fail to turn up (perform). We saw the same thing happen at the Euros when Bruno Fernandes struggled to replicate his Man Utd form, and against Serbia a few days ago, when it mattered the most, all the star players ghosted for the entire game.
03. Playing Similar Pattern:
Every team with a serial winner and goal poacher like CR7 will always want to accommodate the 5-time Ballon d'Or winner, thus shifting the tactics to favour him (Ronaldo). This is practically the same problem happening to Man Utd this season. Playing the balls into Ronaldo for most of the game is very predictable and outdated. When the opponents easily out-mark Ronaldo, it's game over for his team because there is no Plan B or C.
The pattern of playing to Ronaldo's strength is a bit outdated in my opinion. There needs to be fluidity and cohesion in the team, which will accommodate all players in general, and not just a single player as we are used to seeing with Man Utd and the present day Portugal national team.
As mentioned in "option 3," the pattern of playing all balls into Ronaldo is very predictable and can easily be neutralized by the opposition. If Portugal could play more direct and make more use of the midfield and wide players in the final third, rather than relying on Ronaldo, they would be unstoppable. But should they remain rigid (stick to playing all balls to Ronaldo), then it will be hard for them to even qualify for the 2022 World Cup.
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