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Portugal 2-0 Switzerland: 3 talking points

Wednesday 11th October 2017
Portugal went head-to-head with Switzerland in a winner takes all World Cup qualifying showdown. Everything was on the line in an enthralling encounter.

Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal eventually ran out 2-0 winners in a tight match between two evenly matched teams. A Johan Djourou own goal gave the hosts a lead in the 41st minute, before Andre Silva doubled their advantage in the second half. Portugal has now qualified for the World Cup finals by topping Group B - while Switzerland must earn their spot in Russia via the playoffs.

Here are 3 talking points from the match at the Estádio da Luz, Lisbon:

Portugal's lack of rhythm

The Portuguese resembled a bag of nerves in the first half. Their passing was wayward, whilst creativity was clearly lacking. In contrast, the Swiss team were well-drilled, looking efficient in their off-the-ball pressing. On-ball time became an issue for Ronaldo's men. They also had to work in tight spaces, thus leaving the European Champions with minimal options. Portugal needed the luck of an own goal to gain a valuable lead going into half-time.

In the second 45, Fernando Santos' team came out with more aggression whilst showing an on-ball urgency. They certainly looked to be playing in a calmer, cooler manner. These traits were highlighted in Portugal's 2nd goal, as the whole team contributed to an excellent move capped off exquisitely by Andre Silva.

Granit Xhaka quietly impresses

For a team that had won all their games before tonight, Switzerland did not show any attacking flair for the first 60 minutes. However, while his teammates were hiding, Granit Xhaka did step up. It was clear to see the Arsenal man was trying to make things happen.

In defence, he did his best to track Portugal's runners, whilst making vital interceptions all on his own. In Switzerland's limited attack, the 25-year-old constantly kept trying to quicken the pace. His passing through the lines were enough to get Switzerland on the front foot at times. Throughout the game, Xhaka had 89 touches of the ball, completing 77 passes with a 90% pass accuracy, per WhoScored .

Cristiano Ronaldo leads by example

He may not have gotten on the scoresheet as he usually does, but the Portuguese captain ensured his attitude was still extremely positive. The 32-year-old ran tirelessly in the final third, chasing Switzerland defenders at all times. On top of that, he always offered himself as a passing outlet for his teammates.

Arguments can be made that Ronaldo's presence alone disrupted Switzerland for both Portugal goals, but by his usual high standards, his attacking contribution wasn't up to scratch.

The 32-year old attempted 3 shots on goal, only completed 2 dribbles, created 0 chances and was dispossessed twice. It wasn't his best night, but at the end of the day, Ronaldo has led his nation to the World Cup once again.

Now we can all rest assured knowing that both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will be at next year's World Cup. The two best players in the world play for nations that severely underperform, but with both of them on the wrong side of 30, this may be their last chance at World Cup glory.
Mathaeus Abuwa

Arsenal fan with ample amounts of passion for both Cristiano Ronaldo & Real Madrid. I'm one of those bandwagonist hipster fans that will claim to know everything about football, but only watches the El Clasico outside of the Premier League. Forgive me, I'm trying. Oh yeah, #WengerOut. 

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