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Home > Turkey Vs Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo Turns Provider As Bruno Fernandes Strikes

Turkey Vs Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo Turns Provider As Bruno Fernandes Strikes

Good afternoon and welcome to live coverage of the Group F match between Turkey and Portugal at Euro 2024. Both sides come into today’s match on the back of victories on Tuesday, Turkey’s in a four-goal thriller with Georgia replete with screamer, banger and last gasp 70-yard dash towards an open goal, Portugal’s in a scrappy 2-1 defeat of the Czech Republic when they had to rely on an own goal and 92nd-minute close-range winner from another ‘Supersub’.

Roberto Martínez, who won the FA Cup with Wigan but doesn’t like to mention it, has seamlessly moved on to better and better jobs with enormously talented squads without ever demonstrating why the critics who depict him as criminally overrated are wrong. Yes, he took Belgium to third place at the 2018 World Cup, beating England in the group game and in the plate match and knocking out a Brazil side perpetually mired in Neymar melodrama, but they ought to have done better than the quarter-final at Euro 2020 and only beating Canada as they were eliminated at the group stage at the Qatar World Cup.

It has to be said that they were terrific in qualification, winning all 10 of their games, scoring 36 and conceding only two. Cristiano Ronaldo scored 10 of them and shows no sign of calling it a day at international level at the age of 39 but always picking him as a centre-forward restricts the coach’s tactical options and it showed against the Czech Republic when a more mobile striker could have brought more out of Bernardo Silva and Rafel Leao. Martínez has managed pretty serenely so far yet there will come a moment when he will have to be brave to make the whole more than a sum of its parts and that will be a true test of whether he is the ‘fraud’ of several denunciations.

Turkey, who qualified as winners of a group also containing Croatia and Wales, played very well, surfing on the crest of a wave of emotion, roared on by thousands of fervent expat fans, trading haymakers with a wonderfully game Georgia side until they prevailed. If they can lure the Portuguese into a streetfight, pitching their dynamism and the skill of Arda Guler against the elegance and nous of Portugal’s midfield and attack, they will have a fine chance of winning. After all, they have already been involved in the tournament’s most exciting match (Spain v Italy was the best).