My friends, we should have won this match. First and foremost, we are a better team than Portugal. Furthermore, Portugal adjusted their game to us, not the other way round. It was clear as day that Portugal feared us – but they knocked us out nonetheless. This is an indicator that something went wrong!
I cannot be happy with our selector’s reactions when his changes were belated and he couldn’t see what was wrong with our team that had to be fixed immediately. While the Portuguese selector made a change in the 48th minute, our coach let Pjaca sit on the bench for nearly two hours, a full 110 minutes. Only then did he put him in the game. Pjaca was brilliant! But what could he have done in just a few minutes? That mistake was fatal. I still have a hard time believing that happened.
I am no longer in my prime, but I led teams in hundreds of such matches and I know that the crucial moments during big competitions are those when you decide about changes. I made my share of mistakes and I owned up to them. So I now have the right to say that not sending Pjaca in until the 110th minute was a grave mistake.
Pjaca shoud have been sent in right after Portugal’s first change, at the start of the second half. When the Portuguese coach sent in Renato Sanchez was the time to send in Pjaca. That change improved the blood work of the Portuguese team, but our team remained the same. That is why Pjaca should have come in right then.
We live in difficult times. Politicians have taken so much away from the people, and the people love football; they wanted to vent through football. Now, that’s gone as well. It makes me immensely sad.
Trust me, it was a difficult match for me to watch.