Euro 2012 - Stumbling Portugal prove critics right

LVIV Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:31pm IST

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after their Group B Euro 2012 soccer match against Germany at the New Lviv stadium in Lviv, June 9, 2012. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after their Group B Euro 2012 soccer match against Germany at the New Lviv stadium in Lviv, June 9, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Eddie Keogh

LVIV (Reuters) - When Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo tore off his armband after losing 1-0 to Germany in their opening Euro 2012 Group B game on Saturday, the frustration summed up all that is wrong with his team.

Before the tournament coach Paolo Bento slammed critics who said Portugal would struggle with an uninspired midfield, out-of-form strikers and a high-profile winger who struggles to fire in big tournaments.

But the match appeared to prove the critics right.

"I haven't done the individual analysis yet but I think it was a very good game by Ronaldo," Bento said.

In truth, the Real Madrid winger did little to justify his top billing.

Ronaldo's goal-scoring feats with Real Madrid are remarkable but the reality is that many of the teams in the Spanish top division are ordinary.

Ronaldo's fancy footwork and stepovers might work well against Getafe and Real Zaragoza but when he comes up against quick top-class defenders who refuse to panic, he finds it harder.

Within the first few minutes of the game he literally bounced off the powerfully-built Mats Hummels and had a similarly frustrating time against Jerome Boateng.

Ronaldo had one good chance in the 64th minute when he broke clear into the German box but was denied by a last-ditch tackle from the excellent Boateng.

Bento will also fret about the way the Germans took control of the game simply by sticking close to Ronaldo and Nani, Portugal's other attacking winger.

On several occasions midfielder Joao Moutinho found himself with plenty of space but when he looked for an outlet in the final third of the field both Nani and Ronaldo were closely marked and the attacks broke down.

Before halftime Ronaldo was remonstrating with team mates about the quality of their passing, yet he too was guilty of misplacing the final ball.

Up front the story was even more depressing, with striker Helder Postiga largely ineffective and Hugo Almeida the only experienced alternative.

Portugal still have hope, since Ronaldo and Nani might have more luck on Wednesday against Denmark, a slower team with a defence which is not as strong as Germany's.

"We have to concentrate in the second game and we have to win it," Bento said.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Tennis

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Athletics Champ Dead

Athletics Champ Dead

Ex-world champion Mulaudzi killed in car crash.  Full Article 

Fired Over Statements

Fired Over Statements

PGA president fired for 'insensitive' remarks.  Full Article 

Showing Admiration

Showing Admiration

Mourinho is a very Special One, says Van Gaal.  Full Article 

Assault Probe

Assault Probe

ISL probes allegation of assault on Pires.  Full Article 

Controversial Balotelli

Controversial Balotelli

Why always me? Balotelli might have a point.  Full Article 

Formula One

Formula One

Caterham F1 team set to miss next two races.  Full Article 

La Liga Clasico

La Liga Clasico

Suarez to return in clasico, says Barca coach.  Full Article 

Premier League

Premier League

Best is yet to come from Aguero, says Pellegrini.  Full Article 

NBA Preview

NBA Preview

LeBron's Cavs help bring focus back to the hardwood.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage