Portugal Camp Focus – Smoke and mirrors from Portugal after an opportunity missed

Portugal’s post-match focus upon the legality of Didier Drogba’s arm cast was merely a diversionary tactic, hiding the disappointing display from the Portuguese in their World Cup opener. Complaints about a perceived lack of protection afforded to Cristiano Ronaldo and the appeal to overturn his yellow card mask the real issue arising from Tuesday’s performance.

The truth of the matter is that Portugal are desperately in need of some magic. Ronaldo has been struggling under the weight of expectation and again failed to exert the influence upon the game that he would have liked. As identified in the last Portugal Camp Focus, the captain is enduring a challenging goal drought which, although laughed off with his comparisons to ketchup, appears to be affecting the player. The despondent figure seen in the latter stages of the match is testament to this, as is his vociferous complaint that he is not afforded the protection that he needs to perform: “Sometimes it’s difficult that the referee doesn’t give fouls because he thinks I dived… sometimes I don’t understand the decisions of referees.” Whilst his reputation may precede him in this respect, it is highly unlikely that these comments would have been made had his 10th minute effort hit the net and not the woodwork. As such, the comments appear to be borne out of frustration at his ongoing goal drought and the pressure of an expectant nation weighing down on him.

For a nation renowned for their wingers, there was a distinct lack of wizardry in the wide areas. Converted winger F

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