Brazil vs. Portugal: Biggest Takeaways for Each Squad After El Selecao Victory

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 11, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 10: Neymar #10 of Brazil is given a yellow card in the first half against Portugal during the international friendly match at Gillette Stadium on September 10, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Though international friendlies often need to be taken with a grain of salt, the Brazil-Portugal showdown on Tuesday night told us a lot about both teams. 

Each squad was missing some of its key players, but that didn't mean the starting lineups weren't loaded with talent. The 3-1 Brazil win had its fair share of fireworks.

Let's take a look at what we learned from each team in this matchup. 


Brazil: Summer Wasn't a Fluke

The Brazilians had just about the best summer you can have with no major international tournament on the schedule or World Cup qualifying matches (they automatically qualified as the host nation), and they backed it up in the win.

Neymar got in on the scoring—something he did early and often over the summer. He scored in his first three Confederations Cup appearances, and notched a fourth in the dominating championship win over Spain. 

Brazil's win over the defending World Cup champions in that final proved they'll be a force as the home squad next summer, and they carried that over on Tuesday to showcase it against one of Europe's best teams.

Sure, their opponent didn't have their undeniable leader in Cristiano Ronaldo, but Portugal boasted plenty of playmakers capable of scoring in Nani, Joao Moutinho, Fabio Coentrao, Raul Meireles and others.

Even so, Brazil kept them to just one goal on the night.

Meanwhile, a scoring outburst from Thiago Silva and Neymar in the first half put Brazil on top after giving up an early goal, and Jo extended their lead out of Portugal's reach at the start of the second half. 


Portugal: This Team Needs Ronaldo

The Portuguese boast plenty of formidable attacking players, but if they're going to hang with elite national teams such as Brazil, they need their leader.

Ronaldo has been the most valuable player for this team seemingly since he arrived, with 106 career caps and 43 goals. He also showed up in Euro 2012 after a slow start, ending up with three goals and leading his team to the semifinals, where they nearly topped Spain.

Without him, they looked unable to put up the offensive chances to match a team like Brazil, which can generate attacking moves with ease and rack up a lot of goals in 90 minutes.

They have their midfielders and strikers, but Ronaldo's ability to mingle in between and advance down the wing is what makes Portugal a formidable team in international football. 

Without that, they're far from capable of making a deep run in the 2014 World Cup.