The Portugal National Team will face Cameroon and Greece in the months before this summer’s World Cup. Portugal are slated to face the United States, Germany, and Ghana in Group G, one of the toughest groups of the tournament. Typically, pre-tournament friendlies are scheduled based on tournament opposition. Portugal will face Ghana, so they have scheduled to face a similar team in Cameroon. Greece play a tough defensive style, which is very similar to Germany’s strong defensive backbone. There are still a couple of spots open for pre-World Cup friendlies, and one can expect a similar team to United States to be scheduled soon.
Brand-new Portugal Under-21 team coach, Rui Jorge, has scheduled a set of friendlies for next year. The Portugal Under-21 team has struggled in the past few years, which has puzzled many fans of the team because the team has so much talent. There is new hope with Rui Jorge,who was a seasoned National Team veteran. The team will face Sweden on February 9th. Following that game, the team will face two back-to-back games against Romania and Denmark, on March 25 and 28, respectively. The team will then end the season with games against Germany on May 31 and Austria on June 3.
Today, Portugal announced(everything) some of their pre-World Cup opponents. First on May 24, Portugal play Cape Verde at home. This game won’t be any trouble for us. It will probably just merely be a team-building game. Next, on June 1st, we face Cameroon at home. This game is going to be tricky. Cameroon have just come off a very disappointing Africa Cup of Nations display, being eliminated by eventual – champions Egypt in the quarterfinals. Next, on June 8, while we are already in South Africa, we will face Mozambique, who came off an even worse Cup of Nations display.
So far, only one international friendly for Portugal has been announced. Portugal is playing China on March 3. The friendlies leading up to the World Cup are always quite vital, because it shows the National Team coach who will be a good pick for the World Cup.
Here’s my squad for the China friendly:
Eduardo – The Braga goalkeeper has been very solid this seasn, helping Braga to first in the Portuguese Liga.
Beto – I think that Beto deserves to be included on the World Cup roster, even though he has been getting limited playing time at Porto. Soon, Helton will probably fall out of favor, and Beto can show his worth, because he certainly did at Leixoes.
Rui Patricio – The Sporting no.1 has not been impressive as of late, but that is partly due to his club’s abysmal form. Having said that, he still deserves at least a debut for the National Team, because a bright future is surely ahead of him.
Ricardo Carvalho – The Chelsea veteran forms a solid partnership with Bruno Alves. The showed us that throughout World Cup qualifying, only conceding five goals.
Bruno Alves – The Porto captain has earned quite a few plaudits for his performances in the Portuguese Liga and the Champions league. Like I said above, he forms a rock-solid partnership with Ricardo Carvalho. I also believe he should be Portugal’s captain. He shows more leadership currently that Ronaldo.
Miguel Veloso – Veloso has shown that he is just as capable playing left-back as he is at playing Defensive mid.(thats why I put him on defense). The Sporting midfielder has been in arguably his best run of form lately. His vision and positioning are superior, as he showed us for Sporting and for Portugal against Malta.
Joao Pereira – the former Braga man recently made a 2.6 million pound switch to Sporting, and has since put in some impressive man-of-the-match displays. His debut is long overdue.
Cesar Peixoto – Peixoto may be our left-back solution(along with Miguel Veloso). Peixoto, hasn’t been much of a regular for Benfica, but has gotten ample playing time.
Rolando – Has formed a solid partnership with Bruno Alves at Porto. Once Ricardo Carvalho retires, he will probably be one of the starting center-backs for Portugal.
Raul Meireles – Has had a solid season for the Dragons. Has more recently been vital for the Sellecao, as shown at the away leg at Bosnia last year.
Joao Moutinho – Deserves a starting spot on the National Team. His main weakness would have to be his slight body structure. He has great stamina, but he would easily get pushed around by some of the bigger teams. Having said that, he would probably do fine against the likes of China.
Ruben Micael – For some time now, I (and most other people) have been scratching our heads wondering why this young, talented midfielder hasn’t gotten a call from Queiroz. He has been amazing for Nacional(especially in the Europa league), and so far has lived up to all expectations at Porto. He definitely deserves a call-up.
Silvestre Varela – This young man has been absolutely, utterly, unbelievably superb for F.C. Porto this season. It’s like he came out of nowhere. His recent form should earn him a call-up for the friendlies, if not the World Cup itself.
Hugo Viana – The former Young European Footballer of the Year wasn’t making the grade at Valencia, but his loan to Sporting Braga has proved the polar opposite. He, along with Eduardo, have helped Braga to first in the Portuguese Liga. Though Viana isn’t quite as good as he was in his “wonder” years, he is in quite impressive form, and is probably one of the most impressive midfielders playing in Portugal.
Pedro Mendes – My nickname for him is “the rock”, because that’s how he defends. He is more capable at defense than some of the Premier League defenders I’ve been watching. Mendes had some almost man-of-the-match displays against Malta and Hungary last year. Ok, I may be exaggerating, but he certainly exceeded expectations.
Deco – The Chelsea playmaker hasn’t hit form at Chelsea(comparing to Barcelona), but he still possesses the vision that Portugal could use. Deco recently announced that he is to retire after this summer’s World Cup. So, in the meantime, lets use him, because he won’t be around forever.
Duda – The Malaga man has hit close-to top form this season. Of course, that’s what we thought last season too. He is a huge asset to the team, mainly for his abilities to play anywhere on the left flank.
Cristiano Ronaldo – If the Real Madrid man doesn’t get injured(or something more crazy), then he would be a valuable asset to the team. I think the rest goes without saying.
Simao – Simao has always been consistent for the Sellecao, but more recently hasn’t been wrongfully overshadowed by the likes of Quaresma and Ronaldo. I wouldn’t mind if he became our permanent captain.
Hugo Almeida – the burly center-forward has been starting to get overshadowed be Pizarro at Werder Bremen, but he still possesses the heading-ability and height that the Sellecao desperately needs.
Nani – recently, at United, Nani has showed his worth for the Manchester club, putting in some world-class displays. Last year at both of the Bosnia games, Nani had a “coming of age”. He has consistently shown us that he is helpful to the Sellecao, and I’m sure he will in years to come.
Liedson – Our latest addition to the Portuguese squad is a Brazilian-born player. Liedson shut all of the critics mouths when he headed in the equalizer in the dying minutes of the game against Denmark. Since then, he has scored another goal, a header, against Hungary.
Carlos Saleiro – I may be crazy on this one, but I have been thoroughly impressed by the burly center-forward. He has a knack in front of goal, and kond-of came out of nowhere.
Portugal’s first friendly match of 2010 is now scheduled. On March 3, Portugal will play China in Portugal as a warmup match for the World Cup. Hopefully this will be a good chance to see what the North Korea game will be like at the World Cup. This will also be a good chance to see which players are worthy of playing at the World Cup, and to get some much-needed team confidence.