Let’s see what happens to Cancelo when playing for Portugal. In the first place, we must say that the style of play and ecosystem that he finds himself when playing for the national team is totally different than the one he is in at Manchester City. At City, he is used to receiving the ball in advantage, with time and space to progress or make the next attacking action.
This, though, has not happened during the first matches of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, as Portugal has not managed to use ball circulation strategies to move the opponent’s block enough and find their full backs, such as Cancelo, in advantageous positions. In the images below, we can see this difference clearly. With Manchester City he is able to receive with lots of space in front and no opponents near him, which allows him to progress and then finish with after an amazing 1vs1 movement. On the other hand, with Portugal he is receiving in tight spaces, with many opponents close to him which ends up in turnovers or not being able to progress in the game.