Portugal Push Aside Iceland

Portugal made it two wins from two for Paulo Bento. Goals from Ronaldo, Raul Meireles, and Helder Postiga gave the visitors a comfortable 3-1 victory over minnows Iceland. The Seleccao put in another assured performance, with Ronaldo, Meireles, and Moutinho at the heart of most of it. Ronaldo put the visitors ahead with one of his trademark free-kicks. I believe it was the first free-kick goal he has scored for Portugal. Nevertheless, it was quite spectacular. After the goal, Portugal continued to dominate, most notably with Hugo Almeida shooting wide. Soon after, some nervous hand from Eduardo let Helguson’s shot in, but that was about the extent of Iceland’s attacking all night. Portugal then made it 2-1 when Raul Meireles picked up a poor clearance from an Icelandic player and smashed the ball into the back of the net. His thunderous drive is a thing to behold. I suggest Youtube-ing it. Substitute Helder Postiga, who is new to the Portugal setup after a two year absence, picked up Portugal’s third after he pounced on a rebound from the Icelandic keeper.

What we learned from this game: 1. Meireles is in great form for Portugal at the moment. 2. Paulo Bento knows what he is doing. 3. Ronaldo is finally being used to his fullest, no doubt because Bento is smart.,

Eduardo, Pereira, Carvalho, Pepe, Coentrao, Meireles, Nani (Danny), Carlos Martins (Tiago), Joao Moutinho, Ronaldo, Hugo Almeida (Postiga)

Manchester United Watching Wilson Eduardo

Sporting striker Wilson Eduardo, currently on loan at Beira-Mar is currently been the subject of interest from EPL side Manchester United. Eduardo has previously been linked to a move to England with Liverpool and Chelsea interested, so he is no stranger to transfer rumors. Wilson has a contract, tying him to Sporting until 2012 with a 20 million euro buyout clause. In theory, if Manchester Untited really want the youngster, they will have to dish out an absurd 20 million euros. Somehow, I don’t see that happening. Eduardo has developed quite nicely. Nicely enough to have pretty-much cemented his place in Beira-Mar’s starting eleven. He has also been called up to the Portuguese U-21 team. “I didn’t know about this until my brother rang me up and told me he had read the news on the Internet. Any player always likes to be observed by great clubs. It’s a sign that they are interested and like what we are doing. But in football there is a lot of talk. Today it’s this, tomorrow it’ll be something else. I’m going to continue working hard. Let’s see what comes of it,” Eduardo told Maisfutebol. Arsenal and Liverpool are thought to be interested too.

Portugal Sweep Away 10-man Cameroon

Portugal finally look to be on track for the World Cup after an impressive 3-1 win over the no-so-indomitable lions. The star of the night was Raul Meireles, who enjoyed a spectacular evening, and had two goals to show for it. It comes as no surprise that he is courted by the likes of Marsielle. The Seleccao played a tougher, and prettier, style of play than they did against Cape Verde, just a week earlier. Portugal wanted to win. You could just tell.

The game started off with a bang. Within the first minute, Assou-Ekotto back-passed to Kameni, who screwed around with the ball too long, almost giving Liedson the chance to put it away, but it went out for a goal kick. Later on, Cameroon star Samuel Eto’o got the double yellow, first for protesting a call, second for a vicious tackle on Duda. That meant that Cameroon were down to ten-men, and without their captain and star player. The breaktrough came in the 32nd minute when some slick passing between Paulo Ferreria and Simao left the latter space to cross, which was hit first-time by Meireles into the back of the net. Meireles was then at the double when his lucky cross-shot fooled the Cameroon keeper. Cameroon took one back when Webo headed past a helpless Eduardo, but Nani squashed all hope of a Cameroon comeback with his delectable chip late in the game to make the final score 3-1.

Eduardo, Paulo Ferreira (Miguel, 45), Bruno Alves (Rolando, 63), Ricardo Carvalho, Duda (Coentrao, 63), Pedro Mendes (Ricardo Costa, 73), Raul Meireles, Deco, Cristiano Ronaldo, Liedson (Danny, 45), Simao (Nani, 45)

Queiroz Releases Starting Lineup Against Cape Verde

Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz has released the starting lineup for the Portuguese National Team, who play Cape Verde later today. Queiroz has raised some eyebrows with his selection of Miguel Veloso and Fabio Coentrao in the starting eleven. Miguel Veloso has enjoyed an above average season, even though Sporting were abysmal. Fabio Coentrao, however, has enjoyed a spectacular season with Benfica, playing a major role in their championship success, which is why Real Madrid are currently courting him.

Here’s the lineup:

Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho, Bruno Alves, Fabio Coentrao
Pedro Mendes, Miguel Veloso, Deco
Nani, Liedson, Cristiano Ronaldo

World Cup: Portuguese Goalkeeper Explanation

Carlos Queiroz raised some eyebrows with his choice to leave out Quim from the 24-man squad. Instead, Porto stopper Beto was given a surprise inclusion, along with Iraklis shot-stopper Daniel Fernandes. So, here is my explanation for each player as to why they were chosen to go to the World Cup:

Eduardo – The Braga number 1 has been just that, number 1. He has had an exemplary season with the arsenalistas, and is currently being courted by a number of different clubs. During World Cup Qualification, Eduardo was part of our defense that only conceded five goals during qualification, so lets hope he can keep up his amazing shot-stopping ability going for the World Cup!

Beto – The 28 year-old keeper was arguably the best keeper playing in Portugal in the 2008-2009 season, so it came as no surprise that Porto snatched him up. Since then he has mostly appeared in cup matches, but recently, in the last part of the season, has won a place in the starting XI. He, almost single-handedly kept last June’s Portugal-Estonia match tied 0-0, with a string of superb saves.

Daniel Fernandes – Fernandes loves, and thrives in, Greece. PAOK was the first place he got noticed, and after making a move to Germany, with Bochum, he wasn’t quite the same. Realizing that he needed playing time if he wanted to play in the World Cup, Fernandes was loaned to mid-table Iraklis (of Greece). There he has rediscovered his heroics, enough that Queiroz found him worthy of a World Cup call-up. He is no stranger to the National Team, with 2 appearances under his belt. He has also been called-up quite a few times, which means that he knows the other players well, which could prove invaluable.

Queiroz Releases 24-man Squad

Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz released a 24-man squad for next month’s World Cup. Due to Pepe’s questionable fitness, Queiroz released a 24-man list instead of the official 23-man list, so that if Pepe is deemed unfit, he can drop him, or if Pepe turns out to be ready, Ze Castro or Ricardo Costa can be dropped. Surprise inclusions are Beto, Daniel Fernandes, Ze Castro, and Ricardo Costa. Moutinho was not included in the squad most likely due to his mediocre season.

Here’s the list:

Goalkeepers: Eduardo (Braga), Beto (FC Porto) Daniel Fernandes (Iraklis)

Defenders: Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea), Miguel (Valencia), Fabio Coentrao (Benfica), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Bruno Alves (FC Porto), Ricardo Costa (Lille), Rolando (FC Porto), Pepe (Real Madrid), Duda (Malaga) Ze Castro (Deportivo)

Midfielders: Tiago (Atletico Madrid), Deco (Chelsea), Raul Meireles (FC Porto), Miguel Veloso (Sporting), Pedro Mendes (Sporting), Danny (Zenit St Peterburg)

Wingers/Forwards: Simao Sabrosa (Atletico Madrid), Nani (Manchester United), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Liedson (Sporting), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen)

Queiroz also released a list of 6 reserves, just in case any of the players in the squad of 23 get injured. Rui Patricio, Joao Moutinho, Ruben Amorim, Manuel Fernandes, Eliseu and Makukula all have an outside chance of playing in the World Cup after being included in this list.