Nelson Oliveira, Custodio, and Miguel Lopes Make Euro 2012 Squad


Paulo Bento released the highly-anticipated squad list for Euro 2012 today, with the inclusion of Nelson Oliveira, Miguel Lopes, and Custodio and the exclusion of Hugo Viana to note. Hugo Viana has enjoyed a wonderful season for Braga, and many were clamoring for his inclusion in the squad for this upcoming European Championship. As it turns out, Viana did not make the team, which was justified by Portugal coach Paulo Bento. He stated simply that “Hugo Viana does not fit in this group.” Bento simply confirmed the theory that many held that Viana had not been called up because he doesn’t fit into Portugal’s formation. Two other Braga players did make the squad, however. Custodio and Miguel Lopes, both uncapped at the senior level for Portugal, have impressed enough this season to earn a call-up from Bento. Below is the full squad list:

Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício (Sporting), Eduardo (Benfica), Beto (Cluj)

Defenders: João Pereira (Sporting), Miguel Lopes (SC Braga), Pepe (Real Madrid), Bruno Alves (Zenit), Rolando (FC Porto), Ricardo Costa (Valencia), Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid)

Midfielders: João Moutinho (FC Porto), Raúl Meireles (Chelsea), Carlos Martins (Granada), Miguel Veloso (Genoa), Rúben Micael (Zaragoza), Custódio (SC Braga)

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Nani (Manchester United), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas), Silvestre Varela (FC Porto), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Hélder Postiga (Zaragoza), Nélson Oliveira (Benfica)

Who should make the Portuguese team for Euro 2012: Goalkeepers


As is the case before any major tournament, a number of players are vying for a limited amount of spots for their respective national teams. The Portuguese team is no different. Many Portuguese players are enjoying stellar seasons for their clubs, and are certainly hoping for a call to represent their country at this summer’s Euro 2012. We’ll break down these candidates position-by-position, in an effort to predict how Paulo Bento will choose the final squad. First up is the goalkeepers.

Goalkeepers

Definites: Rui Patricio (Sporting)

Maybes: Eduardo (Benfica), Beto (CFR Cluj), Quim (Braga)

Outsiders: Ricardo (Vitoria Setubal), Hugo Ventura (Olhanense), Daniel Fernandes (Twente)

 

The goalkeeping position is rarely a problem for the Portuguese team. There has always seemed to be a strong goalkeeper at the start of every major tournament. For the 2002 World Cup, Vitor Baia was the undisputed choice. For Euro 2004, the 2006 World Cup, and Euro 2008, Ricardo was between the sticks, and for the 2010 World Cup, Eduardo was first-choice. These keepers certainly met all expectations, and have established the fact that the goalkeeping position is consistently one of the strongest on the Portuguese team.

This time around, Rui Patricio is our man. A major part of Sporting’s success in the Europa League this season is down to his heroics in goal. It’s not just for Sporting, however. Patricio has emulated his club form on a national stage for Portugal. Our former stalwart is Eduardo. Arguably just as talented as before, a lack of playing time has been Eduardo’s main problem. After lackluster performances last season for Genoa, Eduardo was shipped off to Benfica for a season-long loan. Unable to dislodge Artur Moraes as first choice, Eduardo has been warming the bench ever since joining the club. Although his playing time has been scarce, his proven ability in the past will most likely win him a place on the team at Euro 2012. Another goalkeeper that has been loaned this season is Beto. Beto was the standout performer in the 2008-2009 season for newly-promoted Leixoes. His performances caught the eye of Porto, who snapped him up for a nominal fee. Despite possessing proven talent, Beto has never earned a starting spot over first-choice Helton. This season, in search for regular playing time, Beto was loaned to Romanian side CFR Cluj. Since then, he has played regularly, and a call-up to Euro 2012 may not be too unrealistic. Braga has continued to establish itself as one of Portugal’s top teams, and right at the heart of it all is Quim. Formerly the undisputed first-choice at Benfica, and even earlier at Braga, Quim has played a pivotal role in Braga’s surge to third-place this season. Although he has amassed 32 caps for the Seleccao, he has only appeared once at a major tournament. His performances this season show that he still has it, even at 36, but will that be enough for Paulo Bento? The outsiders looking in at a spot at Euro 2012 with Portugal are Daniel Fernandes, Ricardo, and Hugo Ventura. None of the three have appeared very much, if at all for Twente, Vitoria Setubal, and Olhanense respectively, and a spot on the Portuguese bus to Euro 2012 looks unlikely.

 

Probable bus-riders: Rui Patricio, Eduardo, Beto

 

Name

Club

Age

League Apps

Cup

Apps

Continental

Apps

Total

Apps

Rui Patricio Sporting

24

25

5

12

42

Eduardo Benfica

29

0

8

0

8

Beto Cluj

29

21

0

0

21

Quim Braga

36

26

2

10

38

Ricardo Setubal

36

3

3

0

6

Daniel Fernandes Twente

28

0

0

0

0

Hugo Ventura Olhanense

24

0

0

0

0

Euro 2012 Away Jersey Presented


In a ceremony on Sunday, Nike officially presented Portugal’s away kit for Euro 2012. The design is exactly the same as the leaked photo from a month back, being white with a red/green cross. Paulo Bento, Nelson Oliveira, Danilo Pereira, Raul Meireles, Bruno Alves, and Miguel Veloso were all present at the presentation. This is the jersey that will be worn in Portugal’s friendly against Poland tomorrow. Here are some of the pictures.

Top 5 Transfers of January 2012


The transfer window was unusually quiet this winter in Portugal, as it was all around Europe. Despite the lack of activity, some potentially major moves did occur. These players all have the capability to be important players for their new clubs in the near future.

 

1. Yannick - Unattached to Benfica

Yannick had been without a club since his failed transfer to French club OGC Nice from Sporting Lisbon. The winger/striker’s skill is undeniable, but his consistency certainly is lacking, as he showed at Sporting. Yannick was reportedly close to a move to Porto and a trial at Aston Villa, but neither moves materialized. Benfica promptly snapped up the forward on deadline day, and he has already made his debut, in the League Cup.

 

2. Daniel Fernandes - Cluj to Twente

Daniel Fernandes has performed well when given the chance to succeed. When he played in Greece, he was extremely successful. His time more recently in Germany did not go as planned, and a move to Romania looked to increase playing time. Things did not go as planned once again, and after making just two league appearances for Cluj, Twente promptly snapped up the experienced goalkeeper on a free transfer. It may take a lot to dislodge the current Twente goalkeeper, but Daniel Fernandes will work through it, just as he has before.

 

3. Ricardo Vaz Te - Barnsley to West Ham

After his release from Bolton in 2010, Vaz Te looked set for a career in the lower leagues of Greece, Cyprus, or Romania. After two unsuccessful stints in Greece and Scotland, Vaz Te was signed on a free by Barnsley. Not much was expected of the striker, but after ten goals in twenty-two appearances, that all changed. West Ham, who look certain for promotion, promptly snapped up the striker from Barnsley, after Vaz Te had only spent half a season with them. The striker has already made his debut for the club, and looks set for a successful last half of the season with what is a very talented squad.

 

4. Joao Carlos - Sporting to Liverpool

At the age of just 18, Joao Carlos was called up to Sporting’s first team at the beginning of this season. He trained with the squad throughout the pre-season, but rejoined the Under-19 team, as did many players, once the season was underway. The center midfielder, who has been compared to Deco, was an integral part of the Sporting U-19 team that decimated all opposition in the group stage of the Next-Gen Series. One of his finest performances came when the squad travelled to Liverpool. The midfielder bagged a wonderful goal, and his performance must have caught the eye of Liverpool first-team manager, Kenny Dalglish, who promptly signed him at the next possible opportunity: the January transfer window. Joao Carlos will now join Liverpool’s reserve team, and hope to win a starting spot in Liverpool’s first team in the future.

 

5. Abel Camara - Belenenses to Beira-Mar

After multiple seasons of solid performances, Abel Camara finally made the step up from the Liga Orangina to the Liga Zon Sagres. Already a regular for the Belenenses team and the Portuguese Under-21 Team, Abel was a well-established striker in Portugal. Now, he has the opportunity to prove his skills on a bigger stage for Beira-Mar.

Yannick Signs for Benfica


Yannick Djalo

Unattached to Benfica

Former Sporting Lisbon winger Yannick Djalo has signed for Benfica, after having been without a club for half a season. There had been much speculation as to where Yannick would end up. After a move to Porto was deemed simply a rumor, there was talk that the player could actually join Nice, the club he was set to join originally. Last night, however, amid reports that Benfica were on the verge of signing him, Yannick stated that there were three clubs chasing him. Soon after, Benfica announced on their website that they had hired Yannick on a four year contract. Yannick trained with the club today, and will attempt to earn a spot this summer in the Portuguese squad at Euro 2012.

Portugal to Play Poland in February


Poland vs Portugal – International Friendly

February 29, 2012

The Portuguese football federation have announced that the team’s first warm-up friendly for Euro 2012 will be against Poland in February. Typically, teams are chosen for friendlies based on their similarity to the opposition to be faced. For example, before the 2010 World Cup, Portugal played China to get ready for their match against North Korea. The teams that are faced in friendlies are usually easier that the ones in the tournament, so that confidence may be built. The match will be held in Poland.

Portugal Drawn in Group of Death


Euro 2012

Group B

Portugal-Netherlands-Germany-Denmark

With the qualification stage completed for Euro 2012, it was time to see how the teams in the tournament itself would be divided. The group stage draw happened on Friday, and Portugal were drawn in one of the hardest European Championship groups they have ever been in. Germany, Netherlands, and Denmark all join the Seleccao in Group B. You heard me. Germany AND the Netherlands. The average world ranking for our group? 6. The Netherlands and Germany currently sit at 2nd and 3rd, respectively, while Denmark is not too far behind at 11. Now, if we were to take a look at Group A, we would see that their average world ranking is 32. Poland is not even in the top fifty, while Czech Republic isn’t in the upper thirty. Needless to say, these groups are not even, but regardless, Portugal have a difficult group on their hands. The team undoubtedly has the talent to vanquish Denmark, and possibly the Netherlands, but Germany will be a different story.

 

Portugal Dismantle Bosnia


Portugal 6-2 Bosnia

Portugal defeated Bosnia by a thrilling scoreline of 6-2 to book their place in Euro 2012. Ronaldo was the star of the show, recording a brace, while Helder Postiga also scored twice. Nani added a spectacular long-ranger, and Miguel Veloso scored his second-ever goal for the Seleccao with a sumptuous free-kick. Portugal were too hot for Bosnia to handle, and while the visitors did make life uncomfortable at times for the Seleccao, Portugal always looked the clear winners.

The game started off almost spectacularly after Raul Meireles failed to finish off a rebound from a Ronaldo shot. That was quickly forgotten when Ronaldo opened the scoring by rifling in a spectacular free kick: his third during Paulo Bento’s reign so far. The team the doubled their lead soon after. Raul Meireles’ simple ball found Nani in quite a bit of room. The winger turned, looked up, and unleashed a ferocious shot that gave the Bosnian goalkeeper no chance. With Portugal up 2-0, the team started to step off the accelerator a bit. They were punished accordingly, if harshly, when Fabio Coentrao handled in the box. The referee awarded a penalty, which Misimovic slotted home cool-as-you-like past Rui Patricio. That was the last event of note that occurred in the first half. The two teams went into their respective locker rooms with the score at 2-1 in Portugal’s favor.

Soon after the break, Portugal were at it again. This time, however, ended in a goal. Some quick thinking from Joao Moutinho put Ronaldo through on goal. The captain rounded the keeper and finished emphatically with his left foot. Once again, with a two-goal cushion, Portugal eased off the pedal. They were once again punished when some lax defending from the team gave Spahic the simplest of finishes. With the scoreline once again within one goal, the Seleccao pushed for more breathing room. They were rewarded on 72 minutes, when a quick pass from substitute Ruben Micael opened up a shot from Helder Postiga, who made no mistakes with his left footed shot, which he buried in the bottom corner. With breathing room restored, Portugal still continued to press for another goal. Just minutes later, the team won a free-kick on the edge of the box. Miguel Veloso struck the ball, which dipped over the wall and into the empty net. The goalkeeper was bamboozled. That goal was only Veloso’s second goal for the National team; the first coming late in 2009 against Malta. The team wasn’t done just yet, however. Almost immediately, Fabio Coentrao was found on the left flank. He surged forward and somehow crossed the ball at the last moment. Helder Postiga was on hand to head the ball home to make the final score 6-2 Portugal and seal their place in next summer’s Euro 2012.

Man-of-the-match: Ronaldo

Crutch-of-the-match: Joao Pereira

Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Fabio Coentrao, Bruno Alves, Pepe, Raul Meireles(Ruben Micael), Joao Moutinho, Miguel Veloso, Ronaldo, Nani(Quaresma), Helder Postiga(Carlos Martins)

Portugal Grind Out for Draw


Bosnia 0-0 Portugal

The Portuguese National team is one step closer to qualifying for Euro 2012 after a hard-fought 0-0 draw in Bosnia on Friday. The team will now rally for a victory on Tuesday in Lisbon, on a much better pitch than the one used on Friday. Concerns had been raised about the quality of the Bosnian field, and those concerns were certainly valid, as the pitch played a role, albeit minor, in the outcome of the match.

The game started in Portugal’s favor after Raul Meireles connected with his volley, only for the Bosnian goalkeeper to punch away at the near post. The team was relying mainly on aerial passes, most likely due to the state of the playing surface, and their strategy was winning them chances. Coentrao sent in a lofted ball, which found Joao Moutinho, whose clever header teed-up Helder Postiga for a volley, which he rocketed over. Ronaldo then spurned two good chances, once with a blocked right-foot shot, and the other a free-kick that sailed over the goal. Overall, the first half was one way traffic as Portugal looked the more likely to break the deadlock.

In the second half, however, Bosnia began to flex their muscles. The home team had a number of chances to open the scoring, and would have, if it were not for the excellent Pepe and Bruno Alves. The center-backs were immense during the entire match, especially during the second half. Portugal had their own set of chances in the second half, with none of them amounting to anything. The pitch had much to do with the low scoreline, as it hindered many a shot.

Man of the match: Pepe

Crutch of the match: Joao Moutinho

Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Fabio Coentrao, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Raul Meireles(Ruben Micael), Joao Moutinho, Miguel Veloso, Nani, Ronaldo, Helder Postiga(Hugo Almeida)