Zeca: End of Portuguese era

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo (Supplied)
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo (Supplied)
Cape Town - Moroka Swallows head coach Zeca Marques offers his reaction to Portugal's performance against the USA at the World Cup and suggests it's time for change.

I haven't been too disappointed with what I've seen from Portugal to be honest. I didn't expect them to set the scene alight at this World Cup.

We were not convincing in the qualifiers so I certainly did not expect anything more than what I saw.

This is the end of an era for Portugal. Most of the players in the current squad are near or are already at the end of their international careers. They need fresh new blood.

Goal-scoring has always been a problem in the past few years, because Helder Postiga and Hugo Almeida have proven time and again not to be consistent goal-scorers.

The midfield too is full of players that are in the twilight of their careers.

Joao Moutinho is supposed to be the team's creative heartbeat, but he does not look sharp enough after an unimpressive first season at Monaco.

The team also has major central defensive problems. Pepe and Bruno Alves have continuously committed costly errors.

The question of Cristiano Ronaldo's fitness and the injuries has not helped the side, because he is undoubtedly the best player in the team.

Meanwhile, Nani who is the team's other "big name", has warmed the bench at Manchester United and it is showing. He scored in the match against the USA, but he lost possession far too often.

In general, we always seem think the USA don't know how to play. We always think basketball, ice hockey, baseball and such when we think of the USA.

But, they have made huge strides and are actually a very good team. They have the right ingredients to do damage at a tournament like the World Cup. They have the hunger and commitment, so they deserve a lot of respect for their efforts.

It took a moment of inspiration from Ronaldo to save the match for Portugal, that says a lot about what the Americans are capable of doing.

It has been like that the whole tournament, the teams with the hunger have done more damage while the favourites have suffered.

For us as fans it's been great, because we are not sure of the results.
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