Portugal 2-0 North Macedonia: Bruno Fernandes Sends Portugal to 2022 World Cup
Last night, Portugal booked their place at the 2022 World Cup with a straightforward win over Giant killers, North Macedonia.
After the game against Serbia, fans of the Portugal NT feared the worst, especially when they were selected in the same qualifying round as Italy.
As luck would have it, the European champions were knocked out by North Macedonia. Now, Portugal head to the World Cup aware that with the quality of their squad and some lucky breaks, they could win the whole thing.
Ronaldo Turns Creator Instead of Goal Scorer
When Bruno Fernandes intercepted the ball in the 31st minute and passed into space for his captain to chase, the old Ronaldo would have sped into the gap and attempted a shot.
Instead, Ronaldo drew the defenders and returned the pass to Fernandes for his Manchester United team mate to score.
It’s unlikely that his insatiable need to score goals will go away anytime soon, but if he continues to show this appetite to set his teammates up, other teams will be wise to be wary of Portugal.
Ronaldo still commands the attention of several defenders whenever he has the ball. If he can draw the defenders in and then play in his teammates for easy chances, Portugal’s chances of winning the World Cup increase substantially.
North Macedonia Run Out of Luck
The people of North Macedonia should be extremely proud of their homeland. They only lost at the last hurdle to an impressive Portugal side after a qualification campaign in which they beat European giants Germany and Italy away.
Football isn’t just about teams that play exciting possession football. North Macedonia’s compact defense and direct counterattacks have won them a lot of new fans.
After qualifying for EURO 2020, they’ll be back soon, vying for a World Cup berth in 2026. We’re hoping to see them compete in that tournament.
Portugal Seem to Have Found A System That Works For Them Now
Before the match against Turkey, Portugal Head Coach, Fernando Santos had to get creative with both starting center backs out. To replace the missing Pepe and Ruben Dias, he went with Jose Fonte alongside defensive midfielder, Danilo Pereira.
To replace Danilo in midfield, he went with Joao Moutinho as the deepest midfielder and the Wolves midfielder did an excellent job.
FC Porto forward, Otavio, also started ahead of more celebrated attackers, Rafael Leao and Joao Felix.
The Portugal side has struggled to look coherent in recent years, despite the overwhelming amount of talent available. If Fernando Santos has finally hit on a system that optimizes the talent at his disposal, they’ll be hard to stop at the World Cup.
Bruno Fernandes, Portugal main man. Too Often, He’s Been An Afterthought
Since Bruno Fernandes has been Manchester United’s best player since he signed for them in 2020. Unfortunately for him, he has not been able to replicate that impact with the Portugal National Team.
Yesterday night changed all of that, he’ll hope. He was thoroughly influential and scored the two goals that took his country to the World Cup.
Portugal fans will salivate at the thought of Fernandes in peak form, alongside Bernado Silva and Renato Sanches behind Ronaldo at the World Cup.
Pepe Back Into The Team And Leading Them Alongside Ronaldo to Another World Cup
Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe, with a combined age of 76, will lead the Portugal team in Qatar. What the two veterans lack in speed and agility, they make up for with experience and world-class ability.
Pepe, who will be charged with leading Portugal’s rearguard alongside Ruben Dias at the age of 39, is still going strong.
Last night, he was at his best with 3 clearances and one interception. He also won 100% of his 6 duels.
Any success the Portuguese squad has will owe a great deal to the veteran defender’s ability to coordinate the backline at the World Cup.
As usual, you can be sure to find the highest World Cup odds and bonuses available at BetKing from November 21!
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