Portugal Draw Poland 1-1 in UEFA Nations League Without Cristiano Ronaldo

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistNovember 20, 2018

Portugal's Andre Silva vies for the ball with Poland's Mateusz Klich, center left, during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Portugal and Poland at the D. Afonso Henriques stadium in Guimaraes, Portugal, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Araujo)
Manuel Araujo/Associated Press

Portugal drew with Poland 1-1 in Group A3 of the UEFA Nations League on Tuesday, with the hosts cantering into the semi-final stage.

Andre Silva grabbed the opener for the Selecao after 33 minutes with a clinical header, but Arkadiusz Milik claimed an equaliser from the penalty spot after 66 minutes.


Andre Silva Shows There Will Be Life After Cristiano Ronaldo

Portugal fans will already be thinking about what their national team will look like the day Ronaldo hangs up his boots.

The Portuguese have already witnessed one major transitional period, with Luis Figopassing the baton to the former Manchester United and Real Madrid talisman, but the eventual loss of Ronaldo could seriously damage the nation on the world stage.

GUIMARAES, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 20: Andre Silva of Portugal and Sevilla celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Nations League A - Group 3 match between Portugal and Poland at Estadio D. Afonso Henriques on November 20, 2018 in Guimaraes, Portugal.
Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

The emergence of Andre Silva in 2016 was exciting, but the 23-year-old has taken his game to a new level in recent months. 

A switch from Porto to AC Milan in 2017 highlighted Silva's potential, but a loan move to Sevilla has seen the attacker reach new heights.

Nine goals in 14 appearances in La Liga and Europe for his latest club have seen the striker produce a consistency once displayed by Ronaldo in Spain.

Silva was once again on the scoresheet for Portugal in the 1-1 draw in Guimaraes, heading home a classic striker's goal from a near-post corner in the first half.

Czarek Sokolowski/Associated Press

The finish was indicative of a player on top form, and with Ronaldo out of the team, Silva once again led from the front.

Poland fought back in the second half, with the home side taking their foot off the gas, but Silva remained the primary threat for the Selecao.

Robert Lewandowski was also missing alongside Ronaldo, robbing the game of its potential superstar talent. However, Silva proved it might not be long until he's mentioned in the same breath as the very best.

Silva remains a forward that divides opinion, but he's producing the statistics which prove he is a developing star.

La Liga suits the attacker's game, and if he remains in Spain beyond his loan spell, he should become the focal point of Portugal after Ronaldo hangs up his international shirt for the final time.


What's Next

Portugal enter the semifinals of the competition with England, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The final rounds are set to be played in Portugal, with the last-four draw to take place in Dublin on Monday, December 3.