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No, Joao Felix isn't to blame for Portugal's Euro 2020 exit

Jude Summerfield
Felix made just one substitute appearance during Euro 2020
Felix made just one substitute appearance during Euro 2020 / THANASSIS STAVRAKIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
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"There's no excuse to be leaning back and just missing the target, just test the goalkeeper because these are top players there's no getting around it.

“Felix, when he came on - that guy's an imposter! He’s an imposter! Your country needs you. He comes on - hit the target!

"£100m?! If I was Ronaldo, I’d be going after him in the dressing room. Shocking!”

Ok, so Roy Keane isn't the biggest Joao Felix fan in the world. In all honesty, it would have been a massive shock if the Manchester United and Ireland legend had come out after Portugal's 1-0 defeat to Belgium on Sunday night and produced anything other than some inflammatory, half-baked ramblings.

£100m! Imposter! Shocking! Congratulations if you had any of those quips on your Roy Keane Bingo cards, you win a big fluffy teddy bear.

In reality, the Atletico Madrid youngster was dealt a pretty tough hand when he was summoned from the bench as Portugal chased an equaliser against the Red Devils. The 21-year-old struggled towards the back end of the 2020/21 club season, suffering various injuries and being dropped from Atleti's starting XI as they won La Liga for the first time since 2013/14.

He was an unused substitute against Hungary and France and missed the defeat to Germany with a muscular problem. With all those fitness issues, to then be thrown into the mix with the Selecao needing a goal to stay alive in Euro 2020 was a massive demand from manager Fernando Santos.

Joao Felix, Toby Alderweireld
Joao Felix takes on Toby Alderweireld / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Felix did about as well as you could expect him to with his second-half cameo. The most effective of Portugal's substitutes, which included midfielder Bruno Fernandes and forward Andre Silva, the former Benfica star used the ball well and was good in the air.

Five minutes after replacing Bernardo Silva, he had already had more shots on target than the anonymous Manchester City winger. He was positive going forward and linked up well with his teammates in a side that often looked devoid of a particular playing style aside from 'give the ball to Cristiano Ronaldo'.

And yet they had their chances to get back into the game. Raphael Guerreiro struck the base of the post, Ronaldo and Diogo Jota were wasteful with their combined six efforts - only one of which was on target - and Ruben Dias had a header saved by Thibaut Courtois.

EURO 2020: Belgium vs Portugal
There are brighter days ahead for Felix / Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

With some proper match sharpness, Felix might have hit the target instead of dragging wide, but Portugal's failure at Euro 2020 was not down to that. It was down to a confused approach and starting XI filled with top class players who didn't rise to the occasion. And Pepe, who is still headbutting every person he sees and laughing while getting booked.

Felix has plenty of international tournaments for Portugal ahead of him and at the end of his career he certainly won't only be remembered for one appearance at Euro 2020 and a throwaway Roy Keane line. He's better than that.


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