Written By : Bhavdeep Singh
Portugal faced Austria in the final match of match day 2 and while the latter had won their match against Hungary and could do with even a point, the former needed a desperate win to qualify for the knockout stages
The Portuguese started the first half quite well, with Nani getting a few chances early on, but nothing came of them. The first quarter of the match was mostly back and side passing by both teams but it picked up its pace by the 17th minute as Portugal got very close to scoring again, they seemed to be a threat every time they launched an attack but thanks to some poor passing up front, nothing really developed. Meanwhile Austria were constantly on the defensive, they were well organised and that helped them overcome the threat of the Portuguese attack, which seemed quite simillar to that of an energetic Manchester United.
The rush ended by the half hour mark and it seemed to be back to normal, both teams introduced the ball to the keepers’ gloves again, but thanks to some lousy attacking by the Austrians and poor set pieces by the Portuguese, nothing ended up in the net. The closest Portugal got to scoring in the half was from, in fact, a set piece in the 28th minute when Nani hit the pole, a pole that was bound to see a lot more than that.
The Austrian goalie, Robert Almer, must be praised for this draw though, he played very well and made some crucial saves later in the half to keep the scoreline at 0-0 till the break.
Austria kicked off the second half, and right off the bat they took the ball all the way to Rui Patricio (the Portuguese goalie), who saved Arnautovic’s long ranged shot, personally, I thought, Austria had decided to put their foot on the gas but Portugal had different plans. From the 50th to the 69th minute, they dominated the game, and by dominated I mean the ball didn’t go in their half more than twice. The tempo was high, the passing was better and the only thing missing was a decent finish or a mistake by Almer, the latter was more likely to happen to be honest, as Austria’s chemistry wasn’t at its very best. They seemed to be searching for a counter, got none and ran back to defend to secure at least the point that they had.
Even when the Portuguese’s tempo had gone down, Austria seemed scared to attack, they were constantly oscillating between attack and defence, and that wasn’t really working out for them. It all seemed to come to an end in the 77th minute when Ronaldo was offered a penalty, only it didn’t as he missed it.
Yes, you read that right, Christiano Ronaldo missed a penalty
He did try to make up for it as he scored from a header only to be shown the offside flag. To be fair to him, he worked really hard and probably deserved a goal, but it just wasn’t his day. In the dying moments of the game, Portugal launched a series of attacks but Austria stood strong.
The game ended at 0-0, the second of the tournament
Overall, the Portuguese mid and defence look very solid, but they need to work on their finishing if they want to be taken seriously. They face Hungary next and are yet to win a match. At two points, it would be very tough to guarantee a spot in the knockout stage, but it is totally possible. As far as Austria are concerned, this game was quite different from the one against Hungary in several aspects, they need to work on their chemistry and need to have a solid game plan, if they do, they need to implement it. Their qualification is almost sealed as they face Iceland in their final match of the group stage it all comes down to match day 3 for group F.
This article will be up at The United Devils as well, check them out at : www.theuniteddevils.co.uk for more such reviews
Pictures : The Independent, Bleacher Report, totalsportek.com