After the defeat against the Netherlands (3-2), the task of keeping alive the Portuguese participation in this European Championship was extremely difficult. Today, Portugal needed to beat Sweden, ranked second in the FIFA rankings, only behind the United States of America, and current Olympic champions.
“As my friend Jorge Braz said [selecionador português de futsal]it’s a very big mountain to climb, but we have that ambition and that courage to try to climb that mountain”, said the national coach at the press conference ahead of this meeting.
The obligation to make history, reaching the quarter-finals of the competition, through a very narrow path of possibilities was expressed in Francisco Neto’s choices for the starting eleven with Ana Borges taking the place of Joana Marchão on the left side of the defense, thus allowing the ownership of Kika Nazareth. In goal, Patrícia Morais replaced Inês Pereira, the starting goalkeeper in the first two matches.
Unlike the other games, in which Portugal quickly found itself at a disadvantage, against the Swedish team the first minutes were the best phase of the Portuguese team: organized, conscious and even dangerous.
Early, in the fourth minute, Patrícia Morais, with a decisive exit at Asllani’s feet, showed that Sweden’s attack would not have an open path for the goal. In the 18th minute, following a corner, central Carole Costa had her first real opportunity to open the scoring with a low cross that didn’t go far from the far post.
The dream of a victory over Sweden survived, also fueled by the favorable result of the score of the game between Switzerland and the Netherlands. However, time was running out. In the 22nd minute, following a corner in favor of Sweden, taken from the right, Patrícia Morais managed to clear the first ball with a punch, but the ball ended up falling at Angeldahl’s feet, who opened the scoring.
Eight minutes later, a tough foul by J. Rytting Kaneryd on Catarina Amado forced the SL Benfica player to leave on a stretcher and Joana Marchão to enter.
The moment, which translated into a beautiful image of fair play, with the player being applauded at the exit throughout the stadium, was the culmination of two major setbacks in less than 10 minutes that shook the Portuguese team that was never the same. .
Sweden grew in the game due to the unrest of Francisco Neto’s pupils. In the 42nd minute, a great pass from Asllani looking for Blackstenius ended in a goal, but the goal was ruled out for offside. Three minutes later, the nightmare of dead balls returned: a free-kick in the form of a short corner, Asllani puts the ball on the edge of the area and a well-aimed shot – again – by Angeldahl.
The referee gave seven minutes of compensation, to accommodate, above all, all the stoppage related to Catarina Amado’s injury. It was precisely before the teams went to the dressing room that, in another dead ball, again in a corner, the ball deflected by Eriksson touches Carole Costa and enters the Portuguese goal.
In the second half, Portugal was not able to give the answer it had already given against Switzerland and the Netherlands. And largely because the game resumed pretty much the way it ended, with a goal from Sweden. Diana Silva handled the ball in the penalty area, penalty and goal by Asllani.
In the 60th minute, the Swedes would score another goal, following a set piece, the result of a header by Blackstenius, but the move would be disallowed for offside.
Until the final whistle of the match, Sweden slowed down, but Portugal did not manage to impose itself. Note for Andreia Norton’s cross shot, inside the penalty area, passing close to the far post. Faced with the passivity of the national team, the Swedes still reached the fifth goal by Blackstenius, the first in open ball in the match.
With the Netherlands beating Switzerland 4-1, group C ends according to theory and unsurprisingly, with the two strongest teams, the Swedes and the Netherlands, passing first and second respectively.
From Portugal, the image of struggle and delivery in the first two games, especially against the Netherlands, the champion team in title, and the margin to grow and be able to rival the biggest teams in Europe. It is a path that was once more mountainous than it is today.