Match Report

This was a proper game :) Portugal were very impressive, playing a bold, wide 4-3-3 that they made extra-dangerous with long, early passing that often got Ronaldo and Simao one-on-one with their full backs. And then they had Deco and Moutinho joining in from centre-mid a lot, both capable of beating a man and both capable of carrying the ball 20/30 yards, which is incredibly hard to stop unless you have superb defenders all over your midfield. I was very impressed with their energy as a team too. Their first goal was shoddy Turkish defending in midfield allowing Pepe to step out from the back and score off a deflected shot after a neat one-two. The second goal was excellent, with Moutinho spinning a pass away just in front of the keeper and the sub running on to score. Their weakness is Nuno Gomes at central striker (pin man), who's no threat at all, and he was taken off near the end for Ronaldo to go up front. At the back, they've got LOADS of pace, but I don't like the way Pepe defends because he's quite dependent on referee's giving him the fouls he thinks he deserves (people like Ferdinand and Micah Richards and Gallas and Toure don't need that). He's a good athlete, but it's possible he'll cost them a goal at some point by not standing up and doing a proper job in contact. Bosingwa is very quick and has great balance, and it'll be interesting to see how he gets on at Chelsea. I think Portugal are probably more stoppable than they looked tonight, because without much of an aerial threat they will struggle to create against teams that commit to defending narrowly their box and the area in front of it (as England did very well when Rooney was sent off against them in 2006). They're also no great shakes defending set-pieces (there's no physical bulk to them and they get naughty under pressure), and I'd expect a team like Germany to cause them problems there. But they looked good, and I was impressed with the way Scolari used their talent - brave, bold and confident.

Turkey are not a bad side - they're physical all over, especially at the back, and they've got some proper tricky ball-players (Emre was good tonight, and never stopped). Colin Kazim-Richards was powerful and effective (yeah...I never thought I'd write that) and they kept going when a lot of teams would have been cowed by Portugal's slickness. Tuncay is terrible, though; his touch is dodgy and he gets caught offside stupidly quite a lot. It's not impossible that they will go through from this group, because I would maybe fancy them against the Swiss and Czechs.

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