Portugal into Round of 16 in World Cup 2022
In today’s key Group H match in Qatar’s 2022 World Cup, Portugal defeated Uruguay 2-0 in a very well-played match in which Bruno Fernandes did all the scoring. The Uruguayans began the game with a three-back defense but found it did not work against the nimble Portuguese offense so after a tightly contested first half in which Portugal controlled possession (60%-40%), but Uruguay had the best single scoring opportunity, both coaches decided on some key changes.
Uruguay went with speedier, younger offensive players and replaced Edinson Cavani with Luis Suarez while Fernando Santos substituted for an injured player and then put in fresh legs in attack and midfield to bolster the Portuguese team’s possession.
The ref was the same poor one who officiated the game between Brazil and Serbia which resulted in two huge injury losses for the South Americans, and in this match, he decided to change his tune handing out his first yellow at the 6th-minute to Uruguay’s Rodrigo Bentancur for a step on Portuguese defender Ruben Dias.
Unfortunately, the ref forgot about his job in the second half where Uruguay got away with many uncalled fouls including the one that forced Portuguese defender Nuno Mendes out in the first half. A couple of those fouls were committed by Uruguayans already on yellows, but the ref decided not to give a second yellow to anyone. Of course, Portugal felt it needed to retaliate and what had been a tough match began to get chippy. Fortunately, despite 26 fouls and five yellows, no one else got hurt though both coaches made substitutions that seemed to indicate they were protecting certain players.
The first goal (54th) was a Fernandes cross to a cutting and unmarked Cristiano Ronaldo whose leap confused the Uruguayan keeper and allowed the ball to bounce into the net. The second was a Fernandes penalty off a Jose Maria Gimenez handball in the penalty area. The Uruguayan defender who went down to try to avoid a nutmeg that got by him anyways then reached his arm back as if to break his controlled fall which needed no break assistance. Only replays showed that when he put his arm behind his body he had actually palmed the ball, as if a basketball, and in his descent (golly-gee) that handled ball just happened to change course and prevent the Portuguese player’s progress further into the box.
The ref, of course, missed the play, but VAR clearly uncovered and showed the subterfuge in slow motion and Fernandes used his hop-wait-shoot technique to score the second goal (90+3) and put the game to sleep.
Portugal now joins Brazil and France as the three teams already through to the knockout round of Qatar’s 2022 World Cup.
Photo: Portugal’s Bruno Fernandes, Shutterstock ID: 1432712249, by Vlad1988.