Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Portugal 3-1 Turkey: Main Talking Points As The Navigators Book An Unlikely Showdown With North Macedonia

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, World Cup 25 Mar 2022

164 Views
Embed from Getty Images

While Italy might have seen their dreams of making it to this year’s World Cup finals go up in smoke on Thursday night, Portugal avoided their own qualifying banana skin against a rugged Turkey.

Spearheaded by an attacking duo of Diego Jota and Cristiano Ronaldo at the Estadio do Dragao, Fernando Santos’ side now know that they’re just 90 minutes from booking their spot out in Qatar.

Although the former European champions might have endured a nervy second-half as Turkey missed a last-gasp penalty, goals from Jota, Otávio and Matheus Nunes wrapped up a deserved victory for the Navigators here.

Portugal revel in Italy’s pain

With it announced last year that both Portugal and Italy were drawn in the same side of the semi-final draw, there is no doubt that almost everyone across the continent was expecting a real European heavyweight showdown in June.

However, after coming off the Estadio do Dragao pitch following Thursday’s 3-1 victory, there would have been even more cause for celebration in their dressing room after hearing the news from Palermo.

In what will be remembered as one of the greatest upsets in World Cup qualifying history, North Macedonia managed to snatch a stunning 92nd-minute winner away at the reigning European champions amidst remarkable scenes.

While Portugal will be wary of following in Italy’s footsteps when they meet the 67th-ranked side in the FIFA rankings for their final showdown, Santos’ star-studded squad should be smelling a golden chance in June.

Also given home advantage and likely to return to the Estadio do Dragao, Portugal really couldn’t have wished for a better night’s work on Thursday.

Jota underlines his value to the Navigators

While any Portugal fixture might have most of the headlines stollen by a certain Cristiano Ronaldo, Diogo Jota’s display on Thursday night once again underlined just why he is so important to the former European kings.

Handing Santos’ side a deserved 2-0 lead heading into the half-time break as the 25-year-old produced what is almost becoming a trademark header, the Liverpool ace finds himself enjoying somewhat of a qualifying purple patch.

Running riot in Porto and causing Leicester’s Çağlar Söyüncü a string of issues, the former Wolves winger has now racked up five goals and one assist during his seven World Cup qualifying appearances.

Although the arrival of new Liverpool winger Luiz Dias in January might have cost Jota a handful of top-flight minutes, he has already bagged 13 Premier League strikes this season – a tally that is only bettered by teammate Mohamed Salah.

While Portugal might have been without a host of big-name stars on Thursday, including the Manchester City duo of Joao Cancelo and Ruben Dias, Jota’s performance papered over any potential cracks.

A rollercoaster night for Yilmaz

While Turkey might have mounted an eye-catching late rally during their Group G campaign last year, the Crescent-Stars eventually fell just two points adrift of pinching top spot off of Holland.

Always knowing that they faced a huge task on foreign soil when their name was drawn out against Portugal, Stefan Kuntz’s side might be wondering what could have been after a rollercoaster night for attacking icon Burak Yılmaz.

While the Lille striker might have managed to tap home from close range with 25 minutes left on the clock, Turkey’s skipper was then handed a golden chance to really cause an upset in Porto.

Awarded an 85th-minute penalty with the score still at 2-1, last season’s Ligue 1 winner remarkably blazed his effort over the crossbar and was at the center of a real moment to forget.

Despite impressing during their knockout stage run thanks to the performances of Inter Milan’s Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Turkey’s 3-1 defeat here means that they once again missed out on the chance to reach their first World Cup finals since 2002.

Match Report:

Portugal: Meireles Costa, Dalot, José Fonte, Danilo, Guerreiro, João Moutinho, Otávio, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Jota, Ronaldo

Subs: William Carvalho, Leao, Sequeira, Nunes, Tavares Mendes

Turkey: Çakir, Kabak, Demiral, Söyüncü, Kutlu, Çalhanoğlu, Kökçü, Zeki Çelik, Aktürkoglu, Ünder, Yilmaz

Subs: Yazici, Toköz, Dursun, Ünal

Goals: Portugal: Otávio 15′, Jota 42′, Nunes, 90′ – Turkey: Yilmaz 65′

Yellow Cards: Portugal: João Moutinho, Jota – Turkey: Demiral, Zeki Çelik, Calhanoglu, Toköz

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Daniel Siebert

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

SHARE OR COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE

WE RECOMMEND

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Live Scores

advertisement

Betting Guide Advertisement

advertisement

Become a Writer
More More
Top
1
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x