Portugal hosted the Netherlands in an entertaining friendly at Estadio Algarve, and the two international powers battled to a 1-1 draw.
After a well-played match, Portugal nearly suffered a 1-0 loss. However, Cristiano Ronaldo saved the day with a late leveler.
As I'm sure you are aware, Ronaldo wasn't the only star striker in this match:
Understandably, Ronaldo and Robin van Persie commanded the bulk of the attention in this match, but in the first half, the Netherlands' Kevin Strootman and Jeremain Lens stole the show.
It was a well played first half, but Portugal dominated the majority of the action. However, they had nothing to show for it. There was just one goal in the opening half, and that belonged to the Netherlands.
The Netherlands jumped on top on the strength of a marvelous strike from Strootman in the 17th minute, as he took advantage of a lapse in the Portugal defense.
Lens set up the score with a low cross to his former PSV teammate, who happened to be looming unmarked near the edge of the box. Strootman had more than enough room to blast home the goal.
Look at all the space he had to operate with in the image captured in the tweet below (just don't ask me how the hashtag for this game was settled upon):
Meanwhile, Portugal was undone by sloppy play in the final third. Poor passing doomed any good looks their possession should have created. The Portuguese were clearly troubled by key midfield injuries and were lacking precision.
The second half played out much like the first. There were no lapses in the Portugal defense, but the home side did continue to control the action.
In the 87th minute, Portugal finally had something to show for their fine play. After continuing to press the action, Portugal earned a late corner.
Pepe deflected that corner by Miguel Veloso. The deflection wound up at the feet of Ronaldo. Needless to say, the Real Madrid superstar knew what to do, and it was a relatively easy look. He leveled the game at one.
Meanwhile, van Persie was no longer on the pitch to answer. The Manchester United star was subbed out in the second half. It may have been injury related, but whatever it was did not appear serious.
The rest of the action quickly passed without another goal, and these two teams walked away from the pitch with a draw.
Let's get to the grades, which will be followed by what's next for these two:
Cristiano Ronaldo: A
In his last two contests against the Netherlands, Ronaldo has scored all three of his team's goals.
At times in this match, Ronaldo was over-aggressive, but that is easy to overlook considering he scored the leveler with just minutes remaining. He was in the right position and calmly drilled the key score for his side.
Michel Vorm: A-
Michel Vorm had a nice day in goal for the Netherlands. Sure, he let the equalizer pass late in this contest, but there was nothing he could do about that.
Had it not been for two nice saves off of Ronaldo attempts, one on a header in the first half, Netherlands would have been leaving this match with a loss.
|Bruno Martins Indi||B|
|Stefan de Vrij||B|
|Rafael van der Vaart||C+|
|Robin van Persie||C|
|Ricardo van Rhijn||C|
|Marco van Ginkel||B|
Substitute info via Goal.com
Substitute info via Goal.com
Portugal will travel to Windsor Park to take on Northern Ireland in a World Cup qualifier on Sept. 6. Meanwhile, the Netherlands will also be in action on Sept. 6 as they travel to take on Estonia in a World Cup qualifier.