Portugal – Switzerland: Did Someone Ask For The Ronaldo Special? (3-1)
Vladimir Petković’s Switzerland were full of tactical intrigue in this surprisingly energetic first semi-final of the UEFA Nations League. Switzerland’s plan in midfield enabled them to intricately pick holes in Portugal’s shape, which resulted in them generating countless great attacking moments. Most of them fizzled out into nothing, however, giving Ronaldo the chance to take the spotlight, as he has done so often.
Tactical analysis and match report by Peter M.
Fernando Santos made quite a few changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Serbia in their Euro 2020 qualifier in March. Nélson Semedo came in for João Cancelo as the only defensive adjustment at right back, yet there were plenty further ahead. The highly talked-about João Félix would get his senior debut here, partnering Cristiano Ronaldo up front. Two other stars of the 2018/19 season – Rúben Neves and Bruno Fernandes - also got starts in midfield. This match also saw a switch to a 4-4-2 diamond setup.
Switzerland were also held to a draw in their last match, which finished 3-3 against Denmark. From that game, Petković made three alterations: Nico Elvedi was replaced by Fabian Schär in the back-three, and the strike force was swapped out in full – Xherdan Shaqiri and Haris Seferović returned to the frontline in place of Breel Embolo and Albian Ajeti. The coach kept to his 3-5-2 system for this clash, even though off the ball, one could call it a 4-4-1-1.
Switzerland take control of the middle phase
The strongest aspect . . .