Brazilians..er..I mean - "The Italians of Iberia"!
Screw the "Brazilians of Europe" label - Portugal played like the old great Italian sides today! Lock down on defense, watch for the inevitable breakdown in the back and strike swiftly on the transition. Result? Less than 40% of the possession, but a 3-0 win. Classic! This team is showing that they know how to win in all sorts of games. They've showed that they can play all kinds of tempos in each of the 3 games.
I am thrilled - but I am even more impressed!
A couple of observations:
- Although he wasn't really challenged that much, I don't think playing Espinha instead of Bahia would be a bad thing if it became necessary. I thought he looked pretty comfortable.
- I think Vidigal has to get the start next week - Paulo Sousa seemed rusty and ineffective to me.
- Although Beto seemed rusty to start, I though he had a fantastic 2nd half. If Xavier can't go on Saturday, I think Coelho will play him instead of Secretario (he should, anyway!)
- As great as Conceicao played, I think he's more valuable as the first substitute in; both psychologcally and for a change-of-pace. How do you feel if Figo and Rui Costa are running you around in circles for 60 minutes, then they bring out a fresh Sergio Conceicao who just scored 3 against Germany for a joke with the second-string team? Devastating!
- I think Nuno Gomes has to get the start vs. Turkey. Pauleta was ineffective, and I think Sa Pinto didn't really shine until he was playing more of a midfield role during the 2nd half.
- Hats off to Costa and Couto - again, they were the team's strength in the back.
My two other favorite parts of the game:
- The smile on Couto's face as he was rubbing Jancker's head
- Whatever bragging Sergio was directing to the Portuguese bench after his hat-trick. I can't read lips, but I'm sure it had something to do about his 2nd-team status.
[Edited by Razor on 20-06-2000 at 23:23]