Portugal Under-21 coach Rui Jorge named yesterday a 23 man squad to face the Netherlands in the playoff for the 2015 UEFA U-21 European Championship. The playoff is a two-match series, with first played in Netherlands on the 9th and the other in Portugal on the 14th. Needless to say, these two matches are of great importance. This is the closest the U-21 team has come to qualification to a major tournament since 2007, which is the last time the team appeared in a U-21 Euro.
Keeping this in mind, surely, Rui Jorge picked the strongest team possible. Players such as Rafa, Ricardo Horta, Ivan Cavaleiro, and Bruma, who have been in-and-around the senior national team lately have returned to the U-21s. Overall, there are few surprises in the team selection. A notable exclusion is Marcos Lopes, who is out injured. Here’s the full list:
Goalkeepers: Bruno Varela (Benfica), José Sá (Marítimo), Rui Silva (Nacional)
Defenders: Edgar Ié (Barcelona), Luís Martins (Granada), Paulo Oliveira (Sporting), Raphael Guerreiro (Lorient), Ricardo Esgaio (Sporting), Rúben Vezo (Valencia), Tiago Ilori (Bordeaux)
Midfielders: Tó Zé (Estoril), Bernardo Silva (Mónaco), Rafa (Braga), Rúben Neves (Porto), Rúben Pinto (Benfica), Sérgio Oliveira (Paços de Ferreira), Tiago Silva (Belenenses)
Forwards: Bruma (Galatasaray), Carlos Mané (Sporting), Iuri Medeiros (Sporting), Ivan Cavaleiro (Deportivo), Ricardo Pereira (Porto), Ricardo Horta (Malaga)