Following today’s 2-0 victory away in Luxembourg, the Seleção confirmed their spot in Euro 2020, where the 2016 champions will have the chance to defend their crown.
A Seleção were not given an easy ride by Luxembourg who aimed to frustrate Portugal and counter-attack when possible. The playing surface itself appeared to be a handicap for Portugal, it hindered their short, slick passing game and it was clear from the first whistle that Luxembourg were more adept at playing on this type of pitch. Portugal however, persevered and took the lead through Bruno Fernandes following a wonderful clipped ball from Bernardo Silva which Fernandes took under his spell with a superb first touch before expertly finishing. A few minutes from time Cristiano Ronaldo added a goal to make it 2-0, getting the final touch on a shot that was going in from Diogo Jota, following another great ball from Bernardo Silva. He now sits on 99 international goals and will be travelling to the Euros in the hope he becomes the first ever player to play in 5 European championships (Euro 2004, 08, 12, 16 + 20)Embed from Getty Images
This result meant that Fernando Santos’ men qualified in 2nd place on 17 points, behind group leaders Ukraine, who impressed throughout qualifying.
Portugal, who demonstrated a greater attacking potency in qualification, especially when compared with their Euro 2016 qualification process. In Euro 2016 qualifying, Portugal won 50% of their matches by a 1-0 scoreline and scored just 11 goals in 8 games. In comparison, qualification for Euro 2020 saw Portugal score 22 goals, double the amount they scored in 2016 qualifying. Fernando Santos’ men will be hoping to take this attacking, swift brand of football in the 2020 European Championships.Embed from Getty Images
The draw for Euro 2020 will take place in Bucharest on the 30th of November. The group Portugal are placed in will determine what cities and venues the Seleção will travel to, given that this edition of the Euros takes place in 12 different cities across Europe.
The 12 cities are as follows:
Group A: Rome (Italy) and Baku (Azerbaijan)
Group B: Saint Petersburg (Russia) and Copenhagen (Denmark)
Group C: Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Bucharest (Romania)
Group D: London (England) and Glasgow (Scotland)
Group E: Bilbao (Spain) and Dublin (Republic of Ireland)
Group F: Munich (Germany) and Budapest (Hungary)
Qualification was difficult at times and Serbia who finished 3rd, gave Portugal a real scare going into the last game, but the most important thing is that Portugal are there. The preparation and focus now turns to the championships next summer.