Portugal coach Paulo Bento revealed he will continue to try a midfield diamond ahead of Brazil 2014 after testing it against Cameroon.
Bento selected a fairly experimental line-up in Wednesday’s friendly versus Cameroon in Leiria, with Rafa Silva of Sporting Braga and Benfica’s Ivan Cavaleiro both making their debut.
During the first half of Portugal’s 5-1 win, the home side spent a significant period in a 4-4-2 formation with a midfield diamond – a substantial change from their regular 4-3-3 system – with Silva playing as the attacking midfielder and Cavaleiro joining Cristiano Ronaldo up front.
While Cameroon managed to reach half-time at 1-1, due to Portugal’s problems dealing with a new formation, Bento said he would continue to try new ideas ahead of this year’s World Cup finals.
“In terms of the model, we do not want major changes,” the 44-year-old said.
“We have played a more classic 4-4-2 – unlike the first part of today, where we opted for a diamond – since (we began using the) inverted triangle midfield.
“We want to identify the players with the greatest number of solutions and choose the moments that we find more convenient to try to surprise our opponents and not our players.”
Apart from debutants Cavaleiro and Silva, Bento’s line-up also included inexperienced trio Beto, Luis Neto and William Carvalho, while the likes of Nani (hamstring) and Rui Patricio were not included in Portugal’s squad.
Bento praised his team’s ‘response’ to a new combination of players and a new formation.
“(They) gave a demonstration of capability in technical terms and in attitude,” Bento said.
“The response from the players was positive.
“We had some difficulties, mainly in the first half because we played in a system that is different than usual. We had difficulty countering the opponent.”
Portugal switched back to their customary 4-3-3 in the second half and scored four times to wrap up a comfortable win, while Ronaldo finished with two goals to become the all-time leading goal-scorer ahead of retired striker Pedro Pauleta.
Ronaldo had entered the game level with Pauleta on 47 goals.