Morocco v Portugal: Quarter Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Portuguese media unimpressed by Wolves star Ruben Neves as nation exit World Cup

Portugal are out of the World Cup following a shock defeat to Morocco.

Fernando Santos’ side exited at the hands of the north African nation, with striker Youssef En-Nesyri heading the game’s only goal just before half-time.

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It was another brilliant performance from Morocco, who were organised and threatening.

Portugal just couldn’t break them down, with former Wanderers star Romain Saiss again shining in defence before he went off injured.

Goalkeeper Bono was rarely troubled, and Morocco were fully worth their win.

They now take on France, and will fully believe they can reach the final next weekend.

It was not such a good evening for Wolves maestro Neves, who was back in the starting lineup.

He replaced Willian Carvalho as the holding midfielder, with Otavio and Bernando Silva either side of him and Bruno Fernandes also coming central at times.

While Neves was tidy on the ball, the 25-year-old wasn’t particularly incisive. Rarely did he break the lines, and the game just kind of bypassed him.

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PortuGOAL.net issued player ratings after the game, and Neves was given a 5.5 – only goalkeeper Diogo Costa had lower (4.5).

They said of him: “Collected some interceptions and was the second most efficient passer behind Dias, but if he was there to spray long passes to the wings from deep it just did not work out. A lackluster performance and a lackluster tournament.”

Some had questioned Neves’ selection by Santos for the game against Morocco.

In the 6-1 win over Switzerland, Carvalho played really well and some felt he should have retained his place yesterday.

Time for Ruben Neves to get lead the safety mission for Wolves after World Cup exploits with Portugal

So Neves will now head out to Marbella to reunite with his Wolves teammates, along with Matheus Nunes and Jose Sa.

In the end, it was a bit of an underwhelming showing out in Qatar from Wolves’ main man.

It will probably be a few years before he becomes a key performer for his country, as he is now for his club.

Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

But it was still fantastic to see him representing his country, and Wanderers at a World Cup, even if he didn’t necessarily set the world alight.

Wolves now need to get him back, and Julen Lopetegui needs to work with him and of course build the team around him.