Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Messi's miss is Portugal's gain

Stats don't always tell the whole story. Sometimes, instinct is a key factor in predicting the outcome of games. When Messi blasted his penalty kick over the crossbar in the Copa America 2016 final, I knew that decided the outcome of three nations. That kick decided the fate of Argentina, Chile and ....Portugal. Because when Messi missed his kick and his chance at a major trophy, I knew Ronaldo would lead Portugal to the Euro 2016 final and would score from the penalty spot in the final. The first part has come true. Now, I await the second. 

Portugal has had a rich footballing history from the genius of Eusebio to the talented golden generation of Luis Figo. But all those talented teams failed to land a major title. Their best chance came in Euro 2004 when they lost the final 1-0 in front of their home fans against a defensive Greek team. It felt unfair that a talented team of attacking players lost to one of the worst teams in the history of the Euros.

Now, as it turns out, Portugal have reached the Euro 2016 final by abandoning their attacking football of the past and gone with a more Greek like approach. That should not be a surprise as their Portuguese coach Fernando Santos spent a few years managing the Greek team until 2014. Portuguese fans don't care how their team wins because their wait for a title has been a lifetime.

Maybe the ultimate irony would be Portugal beating France 1-0 reversing their Greek tragedy. If that happens, Portugal can thank Messi first and then Ronaldo.

No comments: