Joao Felix delivers for Portugal on the big stage #1622
Portugal 3 Ghana 2FT
Inside the Portugal camp It has all been about one final run for Cristiano Ronaldo. A European champion in 2016, but his World Cup journey hasn’t exactly been a tremendous success. While history is on the line for Ronaldo at the Qatar World Cup as he looks to score in his 5th World Cup. Something very few have ever done. Ronaldo’s one last ride. Cristiano Ronaldo has one more shot to potentially do the impossible and win the World Cup. Perception surrounding the Portuguese Superstar may not change, but holding that trophy in the end will enhance the legacy. He would be adding a World Cup to his already European championship. Everyone’s going to view that differently if he’s going to achieve that. However, they will come a time. Will we sit down and have that conversation and having a World Cup in his possession may contribute to his argument. Doesn’t make him the greatest, but it enhances the level of greatness we have seen internationally, especially considering his age and his productivity still. While the Portuguese team is young and raring to grow in this tournament, It is the last one. We will see the great Cristiano Ronaldo perform. It will not be another World Cup for Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s important that he makes this one count. However, unlike previous tournaments, Portugal do not run through Ronaldo. He is part of the ingredients but He simply isn’t the catalyst anymore. Yet if he plays his role, Portugal can go. Very far. No one is really considering Portugal as potentially winners, but if he buys in you never know what can happen. The World Cup is special and unpredictable. One last chance for Ronaldo and Portugal to win it together. Failure in Euro 2004 Portugal coming up short in the semi-final in 2006 and Not being able to improve on that as the Portugal side has declined in the World Cup ever since. Ronaldo has been a part of teams that have failed to get out of the group. They have continually come up short. Perhaps this in one last ride will be the one where Portugal can get to the end and do the unimaginable. Ronaldo’s last tournament could be something potentially special, but there is incredible distractions surrounding the Portuguese camp and Cristiano Ronaldo’s influence intertwined in this could throw Portugal off course. As we know, Cristiano Ronaldo did an explosive interview with Piers Morgan right before the World Cup shredding Manchester United and what he believes was right. While he didn’t really expose anything while a member of the team he sat in front appears Morgan and belittled everything. The timing bit was disingenuous. Not only the disaster he has created with Manchester United, but also this was his last thing he did before going to the World Cup with Portugal. As a true narcissist creating potential division and distraction surrounding Portugal’s ambitions. Two Manchester United players are on the Portuguese national team. While there may not be any turmoil between them, He has recently created this mess and a distraction to what Portugal are there to do. On top of all of it. Manchester United recently terminated his contract. Another topic of discussion that could throw this Portuguese team off course. To make the matters worse, He skipped Portugal’s press conference before they’re opening game against Ghana. Cristiano Ronaldo had an opportunity here to put these affairs aside ahead of the World Cup, making a statement that he is here about his business. Skipping the press conference is another thing that May not help Portugal and what they are here to do. Portugal are here to win the World Cup or at least taken attempt at it. They’re not here to take part. They have ambitions of doing something incredibly special. Meanwhile, they have to deal with all this nonsense in the backgrounds. These are the true consequences of Cristiano Ronaldo’s actions and the only ones that is hurts is his Portuguese teammates that are at this tournament to go on a run at the World Cup. It may be one last ride for Cristiano Ronaldo, but hopefully the damage he has done prior to the World Cup and at the World Cup doesn’t derail their World Cup campaign. Portugal as good as they are struggled to qualify. They had to go through the playoff after losing out to Serbia in their qualifying group. They got through North Macedonia to qualify for this tournament. They have an arsenal of top players young and only ever growing. They could do something special if Cristiano Ronaldo goes on to make history against Ghana, but this performance isn’t about Ronaldo as much as he wants to make it about him. Portugal’s opening group match against Ghana is about Felix and what he had to go through to show his true colors and potential that he still possesses that still exist inside of him. The World Cup has given a platform for him to explode. Portugal Battle of Ghana isn’t about history made with Ronaldo. It’s about relishing on the stage for Felix.
Portugal had a hard road to the World Cup Ghana had to battle. They had to get past Nigeria in a World Cup playoff as one African nation denied as another gaining access. Ghana along with Senegal in 2002 are the only two African nations to make the quarterfinals. Ghana once were a penalty away against Uruguay for making the semifinal in South Africa in 2010. They come to battle and to fight in a very tough and grueling group that also features South Korea and Uruguay. Ghana being viewed as the underdogs in this group ready to battle anyone. Portugal’s battle with Ghana. Had plenty of drama and controversy throughout the 90 minutes we saw in this group. It was a rather unenthusiastic and dull first half between them. Nothing really significant happened during the first half. Ghana defended well and created a few chances for themselves. While Portugal created opportunities of their own but failed to launch in critical situations in front of goal. Neither of the teams really put forward a performance that would suggest They should be feared by anyone. It was a bit of a cagey affair and level of toughness between the teams but still nothing spectacular or special about either of the performances Untill the 65th minute, Ronaldo was gifted an opportunity to score in his fifth World Cup. When I mean gifted I mean it was a gift. The Ghanaian defender got the ball on a challenge with Cristiano Ronaldo. Nonetheless, VAR was not called upon. Ronaldo stepped up and delivered the penalty, giving Portugal a 1-0 lead while scoring at his fifth World Cup The definition of absolute greatness despite the circumstances that led to them taking the lead. 8 minutes later Ghana fire back with Andre Ayew header leveling The scores. Ghana wasn’t simply going to sit there Lay down and die. They were going to give Portugal a game and that’s exactly what they did. 5 minutes later the moment of the game. Joao Felix shows the world what he is capable of the 78th minute. He Portuguese youngster that has gone through an awful lot over the recent years shows his brilliance a brilliant run getting through the Ghanaian defense into the box before dipping it over the Ghanaian keeper to give Portugal a 2–1 lead. Felix shows his brilliance on the big stage, something he’s always had in him but hasn’t been in a situation where he’s been allowed to show those qualities. 2 minutes later off the bench Rafael Leao right place at the right time. Sinks it in the bottom corner as Portugal. Take a 3–1 lead. However, there were certain questions to be asked as he appears to be offsides yet no protest as they let it stand. However, Ghana In the 89th minute Bukari stings it in the back of the net. Minimizing the deficit. The match applied 9 minutes of stoppage time. In the final minute of the game high rated young goalkeeper Diogo Costa spills it as Ghana nearly find a way to steal a point but ultimately Diogo Costa gets bailed out in what would have been a horror mistake that could have cost Portugal points. Portugal take all three points against Ghana but warning signs of caution ring through the Portuguese performance.
No one deserved this more than Joao Felix
Portugal performance can be capsulated by one moment Joae Felix silencing all of his critics and showing the absolute brilliance that he possesses. The man of the match was given to Cristiano Ronaldo by the FIFA World Cup, but the real mastermind. The engine behind Portugal’s result and victory was the young Portuguese boy Felix. Felix has gone through an awful lot over the years. He has faced so much adversity to finally given opportunity on a big stage in the World Cup in that big moment. Felix deserves this more than any other. Felix Is an incredibly special and gifted player that has been wasted away in athletico Madrid under Diego Simeone. Athletico Madrid Play a very defensive style of football. A player like Felix needs an attacking system to show his skill and talent. As long as he is stuck there in Madrid, he’ll never get an opportunity to show his talent. Even so, He has scored some big goals for atletico Madrid in a league winning campaign and in the Champions League. However, being in this environment has halted him from reaching the potential we all know he’s capable of. This is one of the biggest talents in world football, but we never get to see him thrive in a team and a system that has destroyed his soul. He was picked as the man to replace Antoine griezmann. The entire time he has been there. He is not been used properly and very rarely been in positions to show the world how special he is. He’s extremely special but due to the fact that he’s in a defensive system while he is an attacking magician a ballerina on the ball with incredible vision, athleticism and playmaking ability. Play making isn’t permitted under Diego Simeone. They’ve took him as a young superstar and the decapitated his potential. He is going to find a way out but he’s been through so much adversity That it’s hard to watch him suffer any further. To add insult to injury his girlfriend, a four years cheated on him in the summer. In Euro 2020 he was unused until the final 20 minutes against Belgium. He played 36 minutes the entire tournament yet after the match against Belgium. Roy Keane eviscerated him for not being a difference maker despite the lack of game time he played in that moment. He was never truly given a chance at the Euros but at the World Cup in the opening game against Ghana he lights the world on fire. He shows that playmaking ability is extreme intelligence and the ability to thrive on the big stage. The goal was absolutely fantastic. Beautiful run and finish, but his overall influence throughout the game was spectacular. I can’t find anyone else who deserves it more. Felix has been through so much to arrive in the World Cup stage and providing a vital goal that contributed to the victory is exactly what has been needed. A chance to show his insane standard. They gave him a chance to blossom and show what he can do. In January is likely going to find a new club. We’ll finally get to see him follow through on the potential He once had as a rising talent. At the World Cup he had a truly remarkable moment that larger contributed to Portugal. He did a little bit and everything and was one of the few bright spots in an underwhelming Portuguese performance. Getting Felix in positions to thrive will be Portugal’s best chance to go deep in Qatar. His goal and performance against Ghana is just a clear example of exactly how special he can be.
Ghana Showed True Character
Ghana showed truly incredible character even in defeat. They’ve dealt with some true misfortunes in the performance against Portugal. Yet they always kept coming back and fighting until the end. African countries haven’t been progressing well enough to compete and put their best foot forward in the World Cup. The countries in the far East have shorn more progress than we are seeing out of African countries. African countries are not handling the development in a positive way and seem to be so far back from Asia and the Americas in terms of progress. As we’ve seen at this tournament. Senegal, Cameroon , Tunisia have all looked underwhelming in all aspects. However, it does appear. Ghana has been a bright spot and what has otherwise been a disappointing opening games for African countries. Ghana showed their capabilities against Portugal. They never once led in the game but they kept coming back. There certainly made some mistakes, but considering the talent disparity, this performance was about true character. If anyone should be upset or fuming by refereeing decisions, it has Ghana. Ronaldo’s penalty shouldn’t have been called. It was a clean tackle. On top of that Portugal’s third goal was offsides and should not have stood. Ghana gave so much to that game for them to be denied. An opportunity of points is shameful. Even on top of all of that they even nearly stole it in the end. This is got to be the most difficult group to predict in the World Cup. With Uruguay and South Korea, along with Portugal Ghana can bounce back and find a way through into the knockout rounds. I don’t want to sound cliche but Ghana is Africa’s only hope of a representative in the round of 16. They showed a tremendous amount of character and quality. They never gave up on the game and for large stretches they outplayed Portugal’s big stars. Without the impact Felix made in so many different areas, Ghana very well could have made it through. The refereeing errors could have directly impacted their chances of qualifying for the next round. Ghana did everything to earn a point and two appalling decisions denied them of an important result against Portugal. Ghana should not be underestimated still have a very real opportunity to go through, but the consequences of the appalling referring decisions could directly impact where the road ends for Ghana.
Portugal Almost threw it away
Portugal nearly throws the game away in the end. There’s no denying that Portugal benefited from a penalty from Ronaldo that wasn’t a penalty and a third goal that was offsides that wasn’t pulled back. They’re overall performance was suspect at best. All the ambitions that I talked about from Portugal’s point of view and them having the ambitions to push forward and potentially deliver a World Cup in Ronaldo’s last ride could whisp away if they play like this again. There was nothing particularly impressive about their performance. It might be too soon to say, but it does appear that there are big warning signs surrounding Portugal and their ambitions at the World Cup. As I’ve already discussed, Felix was absolutely sensational. Leao came off the bench and did some great things however collectively as a team they made errors all over the pitch. They may defensive mistakes on both of the goals and Costa nearly gifted Ghana a third goal. Costa is one of the best up-and-coming goalkeepers in the world. I don’t care how old he is. You cannot drop the ball in the last minute of stoppage time. He nearly threw the game away for Portugal. He isn’t the only one to blame. There are so many different areas in which Portugal came up smaller than mini Me. This performance was dry, dull and uninspiring. They did absolutely nothing in the opening half and they missed opportunities. If Portugal were a real threat to anyone, they would have come up and delivered when it mattered the most. They would have stopped any comeback attempt from Ghana that they had. They would have taken advantage of their early chances and not allowing it to come down to the end with the tension arising. When you think of the context of the group South Korea and Uruguay all possess Game changers. That could take Portugal for a ride. This was a Portugal side that could have been an under the radar team that could go deep. Ronaldo outside of the penalty provided nothing. The big name players that were supposed to show up in this game failed to do so. Felix was the mastermind behind the performance without his influence. Portugal would have thrown this away. Portugal cannot continue to rely on Felix and him alone. It is just one game and maybe this is the prisoner of the moment, but there are only three games in the group. They drop points in the next game. Their entire status around getting out of the group is in jeopardy. An era is supposed to end at this World Cup but it’s not supposed to end like this. They need a wake-up call or you know what they’re going out.