World Cup 2022: Portugal 2-0 Uruguay – Fernando Santos’ substitution that almost cost Portugal the match – Analysis

Portugal beat Uruguay 2-0 but a substitution by Fernando Santos came close to spoiling the game. Portugal were well set up in midfield with William Carvalho and Ruben Neves on more defensive duties plus Bernardo Silva and both Bruno Fernandes and Joao Felix very much involved. Neves was almost always the closest to the defensive line, although in other situations it was Carvalho.

In any case, the space between the defensive line and the midfield was controlled and Diogo Costa’s goal was not in danger. In defensive transitions, several midfield players arrived before the Uruguayans.

In the 69th minute, Fernando Santos brought on Rafael Leao for Ruben Neves, leaving Carvalho as a defensive midfielder, which added to the tiredness of his teammates created a huge hole in defence. Uruguay took advantage of situations in transition where nobody could stop the counter-attacks. Uruguay were far superior to Portugal for 13 minutes, although they were unable to find the net.

Finally, in the 82nd minute, Joao Palinha and Matheus Nunes came on to stabilise the midfield and Portugal made it 2-0.

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