Written by Dan Anjos
So Portugal 12 years later are in another final. This one is different, we are not the home nation but instead playing the home nation. The pressure is not on our side but the desire to win is still there for sure.
credit Nazionale Calcio
With many pundits predicting France to win, I believe it will work in our favour, the pressure that France will face will only get worse the more the game stays 0-0 or if Portugal score first. I can see us setting out defensively minded first knowing that we have the worlds best ever goalscorer upfront just waiting for his chance to be considered the greatest ever footballer this Sunday. We need to play to our strengths like we did versus Wales but France are a much bigger threat going forwards than Wales so we will need to be careful when attacking not to be too naive and leave ourselves exposed for the likes of Griezmann. Pepe’s likely inclusion offers us a more direct football if needed as time after time he seems to pick out Ronaldo with the long ball.
credit Nazionale Calcio
A key area will be the midfield battle, with both teams having a very good midfield. It is likely that we will see a very combative game from that perspective. Pogba versus Sanches, Payet versus Carvalho, Adrien versus Matuidi are likely to be very intense battles and whoever wins the more individual battles is more likely to win the game. France’s full backs are of a certain age and have played every single minute for France in the Euro’s so a good test for their energy will be facing Cedric and Raphael full backs that love attacking. Maybe this is an area where Portugal can create some danger from. It all depends if the French midfield will be willing to track back or not but from what I have seen versus Germany they will be tracking back.
France will be favourites and will have the support of their home nation. We know what it feels like to be France and Ronaldo certainly does. He was only 19 when he lost the Euro 2004 in front of the whole nation. We will have to play very well to have a chance of winning it but for such a small country it is already a huge achievement to be in 4 semi finals out of 6 possible, and now being our second final in 6 tournaments. I think the Portuguese Football Federation and the clubs deserve credit for this achievement as many other countries with a larger Population, wealthier and bigger leagues cannot boast such a good record. Hopefully Sunday, we win but if not this Portugal committee that has been in France from the players all the way to the Chefs deserve plaudits. Vamos Portugal!!!!!
Who is winning Euro 2016? Where will the game be won and lost? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Nazionale Calcio