Football fans from across the globe have taken aim at Portugal national team boss Fernando Santos on Sunday night.
Mitrovic at the death
Santos of course guided his side back into action a short time ago.
In their 8th and final group stage outing, Portugal welcomed Serbia to the Estadio da Luz, aware that anything other than a defeat would ensure their spot at next’s year’s World Cup.
In turn, when Renato Sanches opened the evening’s scoring inside three minutes, the hosts’ road to Qatar looked firmly on course:
RENATO SANCHES TWO MINUTES IN pic.twitter.com/Hjjkd7Su2R
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 14, 2021
Serbia, however, had other ideas…
First, shortly after the half-hour mark, Dusan Tadic’s deflected effort from the edge of the area somehow managed to squeeze past Rui Patricio in the Portuguese net.
Then, as proceedings rolled into injury-time, the telling moment of not only the night, but the Group A campaign as a whole, was forthcoming.
After the ball was whipped to the back post, substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic was on hand to nod home what ultimately proved to be the winner, sparking manic celebrations amongst the visiting players and support alike:
Aleksandar Mitrović scored an injury-time winner as Serbia leapfrogged Portugal to seal their place at the 2022 World Cup! pic.twitter.com/EOod5NCYAR
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) November 14, 2021
As unbridled joy spread across Serbia this evening, however, on the flip side of things, Portuguese hearts collectively shattered.
After coming within minutes of a guaranteed spot at the 2022 World Cup, A Selecao will now need to navigate their way through the playoffs, set to get underway next March.
Ahead of their qualification campaign getting underway, such an outcome was viewed as essentially out of the question for Santos’ men, with Portugal of course boasting one of world football’s deepest and most talented international squads.
In turn, on the back of the action coming to a close in Lisbon, it should come as little surprise to hear of one man and one man only being singled out for widespread blame…
The biggest problem for Portugal is Fernando Santos. No one else, nothing else. He should have left after 2016. How can he still be in charge with all the talented Portuguese coaches around?!?!?
— Julien Laurens (@LaurensJulien) November 14, 2021
Fernando Santos will forever be a national hero, but he should’ve been removed as Portugal manager a long time ago.
A dinosaur who plays incredibly negative, uninspiring football. It’s painful to watch him destroy such a talented squad.
When is enough enough?
— EiF (@EiFSoccer) November 14, 2021
Portugal are blessed with such a pool of talented players and exciting, innovative coaches. But their manager Fernando Santos is not one of them. He has dined out on the 2016 success for far too long and has been holding them back for years. Tonight another manifestation of this.
— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) November 14, 2021
What Ole and Santos ball does to someone: pic.twitter.com/cZm23kXy6v
— ™ (@MR10Army) November 14, 2021
I know that Portugal are famed for corruption, nepotism, and taking years to solve things that should have been solved in weeks, but there is absolutely zero reasoning for Fernando Santos to still be employed tomorrow.
— Zach Lowy (@ZachLowy) November 14, 2021
Portugal should sack Fernando Santos tonight. You can’t be underachieving this badly with one of the best squads in the world.
— Eduardo Hagn (@EduardoHagn) November 14, 2021
I want to see Fernando Santos’ resignation letter tomorrow morning.
— Marino Peixoto (@marinovpeixoto) November 14, 2021
Well, I could go on retweeting all night but it’s gonna be slight variations on the same theme. Santos could well go before the playoffs. They are in March, the draw in December. Big decision for the FPF and Santos himself.
— Tom Kundert (@PortuGoal1) November 14, 2021