Diogo Dalot would appear to have done enough in Portugal’s humiliating 2-1 World Cup loss to South Korea to earn a place in his country’s starting lineup for the round of 16 match against Switzerland.
Dalot provided an excellent assist for Portugal’s goal but also made a couple of poor passes that endangered his side.
However, his overall performance was strong enough to have convinced A Bola that he will get the nod over Benfica’s Rafael Guerreiro, who himself was substituting for the injured Nuno Mendes.
Meanwhile, the same outlet and Correio de Manha both report that former United man Cristiano Ronaldo could be facing the axe after another lacklustre performance against the Koreans.
“It’s time to ask whether Ronaldo should start,” A Bola states, while Correio says “there are limits”.
“The Portuguese Football Federation doesn’t want to destabilize the national team,” the outlet states.
“[But] nobody is ignoring the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo’s outburst was aimed at [manager] Fernando Santos.
“The coach has been the captain’s most faithful defender … but there are limits.
“The numbers show that Cristiano Ronaldo, aged 38 [stet], can no longer play like he used to, despite that being his desire.”
Correio notes that the 37 year old registered just two out of nine shots on target, lost possession 10 times, “did not create a single goal-scoring opportunity and, on the contrary, missed three great opportunities.”
It is also noted that he was the player caught offside most often across the whole of the World Cup group stages and that he reached the dubious honour of being named in the worst XI of the group stages.
Whether Santos will be able to risk upsetting his captain – as well as the entire nation – by dropping him remains to be seen. It would certainly be out of character, but perhaps, as the two outlets say, enough is enough.
For Dalot, though, the decision is a lot easier and the United star could yet play a major part in his country’s bid for glory.