Paulo Bento announced today a list of 23 players for the Seleccao’s upcoming matches against Northern Ireland and Brazil. The Northern Ireland match, to be played on September 6, is a crucial World Cup qualifying match for the Seleccao. Portugal currently sits in first (with a game in hand) in their qualifying group, but must win all of their remaining games for any hope of qualifying. Three days later, the team travels to the United States for a friendly match against Brazil. The squad list is below:
Goalkeepers: Beto (Sevilla), Eduardo (Braga), Rui Patrício (Sporting)
Defenders: João Pereira (Valência), Ricardo Costa (Valência), Pepe (Real Madrid), Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahçe), Neto (Zenit), Antunes (Málaga)
Midfielders: Rúben Amorim (Benfica), Miguel Veloso (Dínamo Kiev), Rúben Micael (Braga), João Moutinho (Mónaco), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahçe), André Martins (Sporting), Josué (FC Porto)
Forwards: Danny (Zenit), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg), Nani (Manchester United), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Hélder Postiga (Valência)
Flamengo to Porto (loan)
Sporting Lisbon legend has controversially made the jump over the Atlantic to return to Portugal. He is not returning to Sporting, however. He has joined Porto on loan until the end of the season, in order to add depth to a thin squad. This move has been rumored for some time, but many did not believe that it would actually happen. Liedson became a cult figure at Sporting during the years he played for the club. Many understood his decision to leave in 2011, when he joined Corinthians, in his native Brazil. He soon moved to Flamengo for the 2012 season, and will now be seen donning the Porto jersey until the end of the season.
Sporting Lisbon’s Brazilian-born defensive midfielder Renato Neto is looking to gain Portuguese citizenship next year in a bid to play for the Seleccao. While the player is well-known in Europe, he is much less known in Brazil, which may be the main reason for the switch of allegiance. Neto joined Sporting’s youth setup in 2007, and developed into one of the most promising prospects at the club. In the 2010-2011 season, Neto got his first taste of first-team action when he was loaned to Cercle Brugge, which is a feeder club for Sporting. That season, he would appear in forty matches at Brugge, and established himself as a hugely important player. Another loan was arranged this season, and the midfielder continued his impressive form. Midway through the season, however, he was recalled by Sporitng, due to an injury crisis in the Portuguese club’s midfield. Since then, he has stepped in admirably, and has appeared in ten official matches. Still only aged 20, Renato Neto looks to have a solid future ahead of him, both at Sporting, and the Portuguese National Team.
Portugal 2-3 Brazil
Portugal fell in extra time after a 111th minute strike from Oscar gave Brazil the advantage. Portugal were not favorites coming into this game, mainly due to their apparent lack of attacking prowess. Previous to the game, Portugal had only scored five goals in the entire competition. Attacking didn’t turn out to be the problem, however. Brazil ripped open Portugal’s defense on numerous occasions. The game started off on a sour note for the Seleccao when a deflected Oscar free kick wriggled its way into the back of the Portuguese net. Portugal responded quickly however, when Nelson Oliveira burst into the box and squared the ball into the onrushing Alex, who made no mistake with his finish. Portugal took the lead soon after. Nelson Oliveira blew past the Brazil defense, and finished from a tight angle to make the score 2-1 Portugal. The lead lasted for a little under 20 minutes, however. Oscar scored again to level the game at 2-2 and send the game into extra time. Oscar scored again and completed his hat-trick in extra time to give Brazil the victory in a game they dominated.
Mika, Cedric(Julio Alves), Mario Rui, Roderick, Nuno Reis, Danilo Pereira, Sergio Oliveira, Sana(Ricardo Dias), Pele, Alex(Caetano), Nelson Oliveira
It now looks as if Portugal’s will not have it easy in next summer’s World Cup. Portugal are sharing Group G with North Korea, Ivory Coast, and Brazil. I don’t think that North Korea will give us any problems(not to say they are a bad team), but Ivory Coast will be a challenge. Needless to say, Brazil will be our biggest contenders. The other groups go something like this: