corey has yet to fill out a bio.
I agree, our first two performances have been absolutely unacceptable regardless of the injuries and suspensions.
And I think we can all agree that Bento's incompetence is to blame. The man is probably the most stubborn coach in international football. Both his tactics and player selections are extremely flawed and predictable. And at this world cup, Portugal has looked like a bunch of talented individuals running around mindlessly. We've looked extremely disjointed, disorganized, lazy, complacent, etc, etc.
Their are several quality Portuguese coaches who would be massive upgrades from Bento (Jose Mourinho, Jorge Jesus, Andre Villas Boas, Leandro Joardim, etc) but I highly doubt any of them would leave club football to coach the Seleccao. The only guy I can think of is Vitor Pereira as he recently resigned from Al Alhy, some obscure, yet high-paying club in the middle east. But to be honest, I would be more than happy to see the FPF higher an experienced foreign coach who has had success in the past.
I don't have too many issues with the squad, but I do feel our bench is extremely weak compared to some of the other quality sides. I've never been a huge Quaresma fan, but I'd rather have him on the squad than Vieirinha and especially Varela - he looked awful in the pre-tournament friendlies. I'm not a huge fan of Andre Almeida, but his versatility is a big plus. Nevertheless, Antunes is a better left-back and Cedric is a better right-back - Bento, however, would prefer one guy who could serve as a back-up to both fullbacks.
I haven't watched too much of Sevilla this season, but from what I have seen, they look a decent side. They've got a few quality players like Carlos Bacca, Kevin Gameiro, Alberto Moreno, Marko Marin, and Ivan Rakitic. They've also got the Portuguese trio of Daniel Carrico, Diogo Figueiras, and Beto. They're definitely better than AZ Alkmaar.
I'm not sure about Artur. He's a great shot-stopper, but he's extremely error-prone. I'd personally like to keep him as our back-up keeper.
Great point. If Quaresma does make the WC squad (and Nani is fit), he will likely start on the bench simply because Nani is more familiar with Bento's system.
I must admit that I have been pretty impressed with Quaresma's recent performances. He's doing better than I expected especially against decent sides like Napoli and Sporting. He's work rate and decision making in particular is much better than it was in the past. I'm still not convinced that he can perform against the elite sides of international football, but he has done more than enough to warrant a call up to the national team. Nani, Vieirinha, and Bruma are all still injured and the likes of Rafa Silva, Carlos Mane, and Ivan Cavaleiro, though talented, are not yet ready to make the step up to the senior national team.
I hope not. I've seen quite a bit of Quaresma since he's made his return to the Portuguese top flight and while he has been doing rather well, most of his best performances have been against extremely weak opposition. He is not the player he once was, especially in terms of his pace, agility, etc.
Nani's lack of playing time (due to persistent injury problems) is extremely worrisome, but I still think he'll ultimately end up on the world cup squad. However, I'm not sure if he'll be a starter. Silvestre Varela is a step down from Nani in terms of quality, but he's consistent, a decent crosser, and has a knack for scoring clutch goals in big games. Rafa Silva has also had an absolutely brilliant season for Braga, though I feel he is better when playing on the left side.
It'll be interesting to see who Bento starts against Cameroon in a couple of weeks. Quaresma might get a call-up due the injuries of Nani, Bruma, and Vieirinha, but I still feel Varela is Bento's preferred alternative to Nani.
Quaresma had the talent to become one of the best players in his generation, but his immaturity, selfishness, and bad attitude have prevented him from reaching such heights. To be honest, Chris, this move for Quaresma reeks of desperation. It's a huge gamble. Sure, he has the talent, but I highly doubt he'll offer Porto much productivity and consistency.
Does he have the talent to resurrect his career? Yes. But I just don't see it happening. He'll certainly be fun to watch with his flashy tricks, flicks, and trivelas, but I'm not expecting much end product.
I hope he proves me wrong, but I doubt he will.
I am a huge fan of William Carvalho. He isn't an extremely quick, athletic, tough-tackling defender like Porto's Fernando, but he's tactically intelligent, remarkably composed on the ball, and physically solid. He actually reminds me quite a bit of Sergio Busquets in that he relies more on anticipation and defensive awareness than slide-tackles or sheer pace to regain possession, and that he is so calm and composed under pressure.
He's certainly been one of the major reasons why Sporting has gotten off to such an excellent start in the Liga, and it's no surprise that clubs such as Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Juventus, and Barcelona are reportedly sending scouts to watch him in person.
He lacks Veloso's passing range and set-piece ability, but he's definitely a much more solid and defensively sound option than Veloso who is really more of a Xabi Alonso-esque deep-lying playmaker than a proper defensive midfielder.
He has the potential to become a world-class #6 so it's only a matter of time before he's starting for the national team (hopefully by next summer).
Lica excelled as a mobile, false-9 for Estoril last season, so I have no doubt that he is capable of playing as a center-forward. He is clever with his movement, links-up well with his teammates, and he's a decent finisher. It would be interesting to see Lica, Ronaldo, and Nani swapping positions in a very fluid front three.
Wilson Eduardo, however, is more comfortable as a wide forward/winger, a position in which we currently have plenty of depth. He's a decent player, but not good enough for the Seleccao in my opinion.
If Bento refuses to call-up Lima, these are our best options at center-forward (in my opinion of course)
3. Nelson Oliveira
4. Helder Postiga
That's a great question, Corey.
Benfica does already have quite a few quality wingers and attacking midfielders, but I don't think any of them are as consistent, and most importantly, versatile as Pizzi.
Let's just hope he has another fantastic season in La Liga since he is clearly one of Portugal's most creative players. He is definitely good enough to compete with Nani for a spot in the starting 11, and he is also a perfect candidate to operate as a #10 in a 4-2-3-1.