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Author:  Joao Nuno Fonseca

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Fernando Santos managed to fit his best players into the right positions in a balanced and sustained manner, even though there had been tactical indecisions and changes within the team. An example of this can be found during the defensive set-up against Wales when Adrien Silva stabilised the midfield with Renato Sanches and Joao Mario, by coordinating pressure in the central axis without allowing spaces and lines for passes.
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The mobility of Renato Sanches, Adrien and William Carvalho in Portugal’s midfield brought uncertainty to the opponents’ defensive strategies.
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Portuguese strategy managed to open up free space in the French defensive line with Joao Mario often appearing in the spaces that were conceded.
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In their defensive transition Portugal quickly joined their lines in a balanced manner, with a solution that allowed sideways passes after the recovery. This was clear to see against Poland with Raphael Guerreiro attracted to the area with the ball, with William Carvalho and Adrien Silva closing the central corridor and Joao Mario with the possibility of attacking the space.
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As soon as Portugal recovered the ball, Renato Sanches was often seen as the driving force in advancing with it, combined with his irreverence, for releasing Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani into runs.
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If there is something that worries central defenders and wingers then it is forwards that are mobile – those that have the ability to choose the moment in which to become unmarked. During the whole of Euro 2016, Pepe was probably the central defender that performed the best in his position. He had the perfect timing for keeping the pace at the time in which the forwards became unmarked.
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When I wrote the article about PORTUGAL TEAM TACTICAL IDENTITY, I started it with a sentence from Juanma Lillo, who always stood out to me as a Football professional:
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“We are going to try to not go against what they are, to see if we can manage a way of playing that is their way of playing”

Today that Portugal are European Champions I can identify  Fernando Santos strategy in these words without any doubt. The Portuguese National Team is the image of a team that tactically grew throughout the European Championship with personality and character, that realised the way that they should play and adapted the different strategies to their set-up.
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Don’t miss PORTUGAL TEAM TACTICAL IDENTITY AT EURO 2016 to learn more about this topic!

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Joao Nuno Fonseca
Senior Football Match Analyst

Joao Nuno Fonseca hold an MSc in Sports Training with specialisation in Football under the guidance of the Professor Jose Guilherme. Start his professional career during University in Academica de Coimbra – 1st Division Portugal, as match analyst for the historical club. Won the Portuguese Cup in 2012 against Sporting Lisbon. Currently is Senior Football Match Analyst for ASPIRE Academy in Doha – Qatar and U19 Qatar National Team.

www.joaonunofonseca.com

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