Portugal stepped up preparations for Euro 2020 with an impressive 4-0 victory against Israel at the Jose Alvalade Stadium in the capital city of Lisbon. Fernando Santos named a strong starting XI, with Premier League superstars Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes returning to the side after their European commitments with their respective clubs.
Fernandes looked lively in the opening exchanges and saw a lot of the ball. The midfielder broke the deadlock with a first-time finish from inside the penalty area after being played in by Cancelo on the right flank.
Portugal doubled their tally before the interval, with Cristiano Ronaldo getting his name on the scoresheet with a strong left-footed finish. The legendary attacker scored his 104th goal for the reigning European champions to put his side in pole position going into the break.
Santos made a handful of changes to his side after the interval, but Portugal didn't let their guards down and piled on the pressure. They finished the game with a staggering 24 shots on goal and added two further goals in the second half.
Cancelo scored his fifth goal in Portugal colors late in the game to inflict more pain on the visitors, while Fernandes doubled his tally on the night with a clean strike from the edge of the box in the dying embers of the game.
Here are five talking points from the game, as the reigning European champions made a massive statement with a commanding display at home.
#5 Cristiano Ronaldo edges closer to Ali Daei's record
Cristiano Ronaldo scored Portugal's second goal of the night to move up to 104 international goals. The Juventus hitman is one of the greatest footballers of all time and is only five goals away from equalling Iranian icon Ali Daei's record of 109 goals for his country.
🗓️ @Cristiano scored his first international goal when his current team-mate Nuno Mendes was 1 year old 👶
🤯 A phenomenal run of 43 goals in his last 42 caps has Ronaldo just 5 goals short of equalling Ali Daei's men's world record. Will this machine ever slow down? ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/K9dqA91xBF— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) June 9, 2021
Portugal enter Euro 2020 as defending champions and the spotlight undoubtedly falls on Ronaldo, who will look to lead the line to devastating effect once again. He was Santos' star man at Euro 2016 and will look to replicate his heroics from five years ago to emulate Spain's feat of defending the European Championships in the coming weeks.
#4 Bruno Fernandes sparkles for Portugal on his return to the starting XI
Portugal's midfield looked a bit dull in their previous international friendly against Spain, as Danilo Pereira, Sergio Oliveira and Renato Sanches were comfortably outmaneuvered in the center of the park. Bruno Fernandes came on as a second-half substitute and showed flashes of his brilliance, but he could not decide the game in his side's favor.
Against Israel, though, the Manchester United man returned to the starting XI and was the best player on the pitch in the first half. He ran the show in midfield and broke the deadlock with a good finish while also providing the assist for Ronaldo's goal. The 26-year-old capped off a fine performance with a fantastic goal from the edge of the box late in the game, indicating that he's at the peak of his powers.
Two goals and an assist for Bruno Fernandes 🔥June 9, 2021
Fernandes is coming on the back of a stunning season at club level and will look to take his good form into Euro 2020.
Source : https://www.sportskeeda.com/football/portugal-4-0-israel-5-talking-points-european-champions-cruise-thumping-victory-international-friendlies-2021-ronaldo-fernandes933