BOLA tells you how Fernando Santos prepared for the play-off semi-final and the reasons for choosing Diogo Costa, Guerreiro or Otávio.
Lately, perhaps disappointed with the hangover of titles hitherto unattainable by the national team, the Portuguese has frowned every time he receives a call-up or an XI from Fernando Santos. There was no shortage of frowning an hour before the game against Turkey, when it was known that Diogo Costa would play in place of Rui Patrício; that Nuno Mendes would start at the bank; that Otávio would start… The script written by the coach for the semi-final of the World Cup qualifying play-off had secrets that A BOLA is revealing. Secrets that have brought Portugal closer to Qatar.
Rui Patricio by Diogo Costa
“And in goal… Diogo Costa,” announced, with some astonishment, the reporters on duty for the match. Rui Patrício – 34 years old, 102 caps, undisputed holder in the national team since the end of 2010, after the World Cup in South Africa, which had Eduardo as number 1 – was on the bench during an official match, which does not had not been the case. This happened for a year, when on March 30, 2021, Anthony Lopes defended the national goal in the 3-1 against Luxembourg already in qualification for the 2022 World Cup. The 22-year-old FC Porto goalkeeper s is then qualified for his second selection. , the first in official matches, after his debut on October 9, 2021, in a friendly against Qatar (3-0).
There was a conversation with the Roma goalkeeper before informing who the starter would be in goal. The choice fell on Diogo Costa and part of the explanation is the increasingly important play with the feet that goalkeepers have to assume in the first phase of building the team’s game. Fernando Santos’ confidence in Rui Patrício, the Euro-2016 goalkeeper, the best of the tournament won by Portugal, remains complete – and the experienced Patrício accepted the decision and, we found, was keen to give strength to the young number 22.
Related questions… right and left
João Cancelo, with a penalty game to fulfill, was, as we knew, a card of the game to play against Turkey. Diogo Dalot and Cédric were the candidates for the place which will return Tuesday, in the final against North Macedonia, to the Manchester City player. On Thursday, Dalot played, while Cédric was on the bench – the reason being that the Manchester United player was better in the attacking chapter, with the Arsenal full-back generally having better defensive performances.
The doubts on the sides, both on the right and on the left, prevailed, A BOLA knows it, in the mind of Fernando Santos until a very short time. Raphael Guerreiro, who has been on the road for more years, was the choice on the left, even though the national coach sees them as similar in terms of home style.
the central question
Without Rúben Dias – the Premier League’s best player of the 2020/2021 season is injured – and without Pepe – the experienced FC Porto central defender is recovering from Covid-19 and is only waiting for Tuesday’s match -, the central national team Nacional problem revealed itself early on. José Fonte would start in the starting XI (and did) and midfielder Danilo Pereira would be suited for a position he knows well (and has been). What made him frown was the fact that Gonçalo Inácio was passed over for the record, watching the game from the bench, and not, for example, Tiago Djaló – The Sporting center was called up from the start first hour, that of Lille was only called when Pepe tested positive for the coronavirus. The question is answered by the fact that the latter has routines with Fonte, after all they are teammates in France and if necessary they would form a well-known duo – although Djaló has been used more recently as a full-back, he is a central defender.
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