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Portugal 5-2 Sweden: Five-star Selecao win in style

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 21 Mar 2024

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Portugal made light work of Sweden to seal an 11th straight victory with a 5-2 win in Thursday’s friendly.

Roberto Martinez’s team did not let up after Rafael Leao lashed them ahead in the 24th minute, with Matheus Nunes and Bruno Fernandes putting them three to the good by half-time.

Bruma made matters worse for Sweden before in-form Sporting CP forward Viktor Gyokeres netted at the other end, albeit that goal should have been disallowed for offside.

Goncalo Ramos rounded off Portugal’s rout just after the hour, though Gustaf Nilsson did grab another consolation for Sweden in the final stages.

Leao’s strike was just his fourth for the Selecao, with the winger hitting his shot sweetly after controlling the rebound from Bernardo Silva’s effort off the woodwork.

Portugal’s control was cemented just after the half-hour mark, as Silva set up his Manchester City team-mate Nunes for a composed finish from outside the box.

Sweden were punished for more slack defending on the stroke of half-time – Fernandes left free in the six-yard box to power a shot high into the back of the net, taking his international tally to 20 goals.

The hosts started the second half with the same intensity, and Fernandes’ pressure paid off when he blocked a clearance and set Bruma up for a tap-in. Just 91 seconds later, Gyokeres pulled one back for Sweden from an offside position, but with no VAR, the goal stood.

Ramos restored Portugal’s four-goal lead shortly after, with his eighth goal in 10 international appearances adding further gloss to another fine win under Martinez, though Nilsson – who had earlier tested Rui Patricio with an audacious attempt – ensured Sweden had the final word.

No Ronaldo, no problem

Portugal were without their biggest star in Guimaraes, with Cristiano Ronaldo the most notable absence from the team sheet. But it is not like they struggled without the 39-year-old.

The Selecao have scored 36 goals in their perfect Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, the most of any nation during that time, and they clocked up another five with ease.

Perhaps even more pleasing to their coach, the goals were spread among his midfield and forward line, with Bruma also coming off the bench to make an impact.

They might have gone under the radar, but Portugal could be the ones to watch in Germany come June.

Tomasson’s big changes fail to pay off

After playing in a rigid 4-4-2 formation under Janne Andersson, Sweden deployed a more attacking set-up under new boss Jon Dahl Tomasson on Thursday, with Newcastle United star Alexander Isak playing behind Gyokeres, who is thriving in Portugal this season.

It showed the promise of paying off in the second half, with Gyokeres getting his goal just before the hour-mark, but by then it was already too late for them to mount a real comeback, and Nilsson’s effort did nothing more than restore a tad more pride.

Three of Portugal’s goals were simple tap-ins, with the Selecao’s scorers left with an empty net to aim for, and that slack defending will frustrate Tomasson.

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