Portugal faces… Luxembourg. A poster that has almost become a classic in recent seasons as clashes have become regular. The chance of the final draw has put the Grand Duchy side on the road to the Seleção through the qualifiers for Euro 2020, for the 2022 World Cup and now for Euro 2024… That’s six ties in four years, the sixth of which is scheduled for Monday evening at the Estádio do Algarve.
During each of these meetings, it was Anthony Morris who was in Luxembourg’s cages trying to limit the damage. He also did so during each of the first five meetings. We especially remember the save that prevented Ronaldo from scoring a brilliant bicycle kick in 2021, or the penalty saved against Rafael Leao last March.
But every time, Portugal ended up winning. Sometimes by very large margins (5-0 in 2021, 0-6 in March) making this the opponent Morris has faced most often throughout his career. 19 times in five matches, the Union Saint-Gilloise goalkeeper has conceded more than twice as many duels as Club Brugge (15).
Eight goals for CR7
It is no surprise that Cristiano Ronaldo is often one of Morris’ tormentors. He even scored in each of these matches… for a total of eight goals. No other player has been able to beat the Arlon native so much since the start of his career. But the total will not increase on Monday evening, due to the Al-Nasr player being suspended due to excessive yellow cards.
Despite his departure to Al-Nasr since last January, the 38-year-old Portuguese leader remains an essential, even indispensable, element in Roberto Martinez’s group. He also played 100% of the minutes during the last three Seleção matches, which recorded 15 minutes out of 15 before hosting Luxembourg. Therefore, it will leave a big vacuum that the Luxembourgians will try to exploit.
In any case, Anthony Morris’ team will not come as willing victims. The victory over Iceland (3-1) on Friday confirmed the excellent level presented by the Luxembourg squad, which has currently achieved its best qualifiers in its history, with 10 points out of 15. The dream of first participation in the Euro has begun to come true.