As early as 2014, Fernando Santos took over the technical command of the national men’s football team. The coach has since successfully guided Portugal to its first two international titles and will play his 100th game in front of the national team this Thursday.
In eight years, there have been many peaks, many highs – just like achievements – but also some lows, and because of this, zero zero Decided to put together ten of the most memorable moments of Fernando Santos as captain of the national team.
FPF / Diogo Pinto
Fernando Santos, September 23, 2014 Announced as new national team coachtaking over from Paulo Bento, who has previously played for the Greek national team and clubs such as Benfica, Porto, Sporting, AEK, Estrela da Amadora and Estoril.
At the time, his first goal as a coach was Portugal’s qualifying match for Euro 2016, which turned out to be a fond memory, but before that, he was officially the national coach in a friendly against France in October of the same year. Debut, Portugal eventually lost to 2-1. Ricardo Quaresma is the author of the first goal for the national team in the Fernando Santos era.
Fernando Santos didn’t wait long for his first victory in Portugal despite his painful debut in charge of the national team. This happened three days after the match against France, against Denmark, which already counted towards Euro 2016 qualification.Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in extra-time and fixed it in a game where the national team has to suffer to be happy 0-1 at last. The national team captain scored his first victory of the Fernando Santos era, opening an impressive scoring record under the guidance of the national team coach.
Fernando Santos finally achieved his original goal, he was hired and confidently qualified for the 2016 European Championships. From an early age, the Portuguese coach believed that, after that, The goal is to win the testbut only later did he utter those timeless words that gave a nation hope.
Portugal’s European start in France, forgetting and drawing the first two games (1-1 with Iceland and 0-0 with Austria), but the selectors did not drop their arms and leave a guarantee, stating: «I will be in France on July 10». However, Portugal were disappointed again, drawing again in the final game of the group stage, this time with Hungary (3-3), but ended up almost miraculously being one of the third and most advanced in the competition. The rest is history…
The group stage couldn’t have been more exciting, the Portuguese always had calculators (and their hearts) in their hands, but in the knockout stages, the dream started to grow. Portugal step by step towards the final. Eliminate Croatia (0-1), overtime, round of 16, Poland (1-1) in the penalty shootout, in the “quarter”, in the semi-final, he left Wales en route (2-0).
Only one game of eternal glory remains, the finale. At the Stade de France in Paris, the national team was at home against favourite France and experienced a great chill in regular time. Rui Patrício and the poles stopped the Gallic party, and in extra time the unlikely hero emerged. In the 109th minute, Eder scored a powerful shot from outside the penalty area and Portugal won. 1-0. Portugal won the first international trophy in their history and Fernando Santos kept his word.
Confederations Cup defeat
Becoming European champions was a historic feat that saw Portugal take part in the 2017 Confederations Cup, which brought together the winners of various international competitions (continental and world) in previous years.
There, Portugal got off to a good start and ended up first in a group that included Mexico, Russia and New Zealand, but the quality of Portugal’s performances left to improve in the semi-finals, where the national team ended up losing to Chile (0-0) in a penalty shootout. Portugal still beat Mexico (2-1) and finished 3rd, but it was only as a consolation and won the German championship.
Despite defeat in the Confederations Cup, Portugal entered the 2018 World Cup in Russia as European champions with different responsibilities than usual, especially after a great game be eligible to take the examhe scored 27 of a possible 30 points and battled Switzerland for the final of the direct qualifiers.
At the World Cup, however, Portugal finished the group stage with the same points as Spain and advanced to the knockout stage, but failed to advance to the last 16. The performance against Uruguay was promising again, with two goals from Cavani (2-1) eventually eliminated Fernando Santos and company. In the final, France saved itself from the European Cup and became the national champion.
Redemption of the League of Nations
After falling short of expectations in two consecutive games, Fernando Santos finally redeemed himself in the UEFA Nations League, UEFA’s most recently created national team competition. Portugal advanced to the group stage with excellent results, first in the same group with Italy and Poland, and qualified for the semi-finals.
This was played at home in Porto, and the Portuguese fleet was delighted.In the semifinals, he 3-1Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick and beat the Netherlands in the final, 1-0, from an isolated goal by Gonçalo Guedes. Portugal won its second international trophy in three years and Fernando Santos once again put his name in history.
Selected record holder
Patricia de Mello Moreira/Getty Images
Also in the Nations League, Fernando Santos reached an important historic milestone for the national team: he became the coach with the most games in charge of Portugal.
facing France (0-0), on October 11, 2020, in the 2nd game, the Portuguese coach played the 75th game in front of the national team, surpassing the previous record holder Scolari, becoming the Coach with the most matches for the Portugal national team. Since then, there have been more than two dozen games and it is moving away from the competition for this record.
with a history
In addition to being the record holder, Fernando Santos also watched from the front row for a record that will forever (or at least be for a long time) in world football history.
On September 1 last year, Portugal hosted Ireland in the Algarve for a 2022 World Cup qualifier in Qatar, with Ireland taking the advantage at half-time. However, in the final minutes of the game, Ronaldo scored twice to give Portugal an important victory. 2-1In addition, the captain of the Portuguese national team scored 110 goals for Portugal, surpassing the Iranian Aridei to become the best scorer in the history of the national team.
Fernando Santos ended up playing a big part in Cristiano Ronaldo’s record. Statistically, the Portuguese striker scored “only” 50 goals for Portugal before the manager arrived in the national team, a figure that has more than doubled in the past eight years (67 goals, since They are still increasing after their meeting with Quinas).
Contrary to the situation before the 2018 World Cup, qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar was not perfect on the Portuguese side, which ended up not qualifying directly.
The biggest exponent of this performance came in the final round of the qualifying group stage, when Portugal only needed a draw with Serbia to advance directly.Portugal even played at home in the Estádio da Luz, but were eventually beaten 1-2Afterwards, Mitrovic froze the Portuguese with an extra-time goal and had to go to the World Cup play-offs. At the end of the game, Fernando Santos even got a white handkerchief from the bench.
Promise, but don’t have to deliver
However, this poor World Cup qualification ultimately dictated that Portugal had to play in the play-offs to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. If he misses the World Cup, he will leave the national team coach position alone.
Perhaps this control worked because Portugal presented themselves in a very different way in the play-offs, and at a more convincing level. First, in the semifinals, they eliminated Turkey (3-1), and then, in the finals, they defeated the surprising North Macedonia (2-0) – he has already knocked out European champions Italy – and secured the last seat in Qatar, where Portugal will be this year.