Analysis| The “loss” that almost lost Portugal two points against the Czechs

Portugal escaped a draw against the Czech Republic after overcoming a one-goal deficit to two goals in its opening match in the tournament. Euro 2024to win the match points and join the Turkish national team at the top of Group F, trailing on goal difference, after Turkey’s victory over Georgia (3-1).

Portugal dominated most of the match; But it did not succeed in translating that control into enough goals for victory except in stoppage time. Rather, it conceded the opening goal from a wonderful shot by Lucas Provod in the 62nd minute, before “Europa Brazil” equalized in the 69th minute with an own goal from the defender. Czech Robin Harnasch, however Francisco Conceicao He had a different opinion after he scored the winning goal in the 90th minute (90+2).

Martinez’s tactic was a burden!

He fought Portuguese national team The match was 3-4-3 on paper, but the reality was something else. Bernardo Silva was never a right winger. He played almost all of the first half in the middle of the field, leaving Diogo Dalot’s right front alone.

But this was not the big problem, as some coaches often resort to using one of the wings in this way, especially with the temptation to use an experienced player in the midfield, as is the case with Bernardo Silva, but the big problem is that with such a tactic it was expected that the left front of the Portuguese team would become It is the main source of his attacks.

But what happened on the left front? Portugal coach Roberto Martinez decided to field Joao Cancelo and Nuno Mendes on the left front. The first as a wing-back and the second as a left centre-back. All this at a time when Portugal’s only real winger, Rafael Leao, was positioned on the same front, which made it easier for the Czechs to close that front by condensing the number of players, not caring much about withdrawing some players from the other front or at least moving their position to lean more towards the other front. Portugal is logically dangerous.

That plan and this tactic undermined much of the idea of ​​taking advantage of the tremendous individual capabilities of this trio (Leao, Cancelo, and Mendes), especially since they all needed space to move, and instead of Martinez’s tactics providing them with this, it became a burden on them after it dragged half of the Czechs towards them like locusts.

The loss almost cost Portugal two points

There was a feeling that Martinez was suffering from a state of “lack” by having three distinguished full-backs: Dalot, Cancelo, and Nuno Mendes, so he pushed the three of them, and tried to assign Cancelo duties related to the midfielders, which increased over time after the former Belgium coach began to realize that the team was completely incapable of taking advantage of him. Mendes and Cancelo are together on the same front, and the former cannot go out and find space, as the Czech players are already there, and even when Cancelo enters the middle, Leao himself is one of the wings who likes to start the attack from the sides, and therefore it is not possible to wait for sudden movements for Mendes in light of his need. A double move from Cancelo and Liao to the inside, which is not easy.

Some coaches sometimes make mistakes in their plans and wait for the second half in order to improve the situation, but the idea is that Martinez could have adjusted after 15 or 20 minutes, once it became clear that Portugal was suffocated by this tactic, by moving Cancelo to the right front, as he is more capable of positioning on that front and can He exploited the spaces there with his speed and skill more than the Manchester United full-back, with the latter being returned to the right center back position and moving Diaz and Pepe to the left, with Nuno Mendes becoming a wing-back, and the team can benefit from this matter.

But those claims written here were a kind of luxury because Martinez did not move even between the two halves and took Dalot out directly. Rather, he was content with sending Bernardo Silva again to the right, then waited until the 63rd minute to start his move and take out Dalot and bring in the center back, Gonzalo Inacio, then bring out Leao, the lover of the wide sides. He includes Jota so that Portugal can breathe with two wing-backs, Cancelo and Mendes, who are not bothered by the wings on the flanks.

Portugal's national team contented itself with a draw against the Czech Republic

The problem is that this move by the Spanish coach only happened because the Czechs scored a goal that would have been almost disastrous for the Portuguese had the Czechs not been there to help by scoring an own goal. Then the Portuguese regained confidence and began investing in clear adjustments and improvements in their squad.

Impressive crosses

After Portugal breathed and confidence returned, the Portuguese now had many solutions. Even from deep, the situation improved due to the opening of the field on both fronts, so that Silva, Cancelo, and Bruno Fernandes began to penetrate deep into the right, and Jota also became an excellent distractor for the defenders’ movements. Cristiano Ronaldo Who almost scored in the first half from an offside position, then came back and repeated the same thing in the second half, but Jota deposited the ball into the goal had it not been for the match referee indicating semi-automatic offside, which does not waste much time compared to the “mouse”!

Even in the first goal shot, all the adjustments were crystallizing – Portugal opened the right front – there was activity and spaces in depth. There are crosses sent from both sides, and finally Nuno Mendes breathes on the left and contributes the header that caused confusion and then the own goal.

The same thing happened with the disallowed goal and then in the second goal in the last minutes after a cross that the Czechs failed to clear, so the young substitute Conceicao appeared and scored a goal. A sigh of relief for Ronaldo’s teammates, who played a good match, but coach Martinez’s men will have to finish the matches faster if they want to rest “The Don.” For the decisive stages, if Martinez can convince him of that comfort.

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