Liedson Returns to Portugal


Liedson - Porto

Liedson

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.

Fernandes and Micael Drafted in to Squad


Manuel Fernandes and Ruben Micael have been added into the Portugal squad ahead of their upcoming Euro 2012 qualification matches. Liedson and Miguel Veloso have withdrawn due to injury, so Paulo Bento has called up Micael and Fernandes in place of the two. Manuel Fernandes is enjoying a better season than last, having played in five games and started six. Ruben Micael really emerged last season as one of the finest midfielders playing in Portugal, thanks to his heroics for Nacional. Porto eagerly snapped him up during the January transfer window, and, after hurdling an injury, he has bounced back impressively, especially this season. Portugal are looking to improve on close to their worst possible start in Euro 2012 qualification.

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:

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

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.

Match Report: Portugal 2-0 China


Portugal edged China on Wednesday, with the typical great first-half showing, and the abysmal second-half showing. Goals were scored by Hugo Almeida and Liedson. Porto winger Varela debuted for the Seleccao, who were sporting their brand-spanking-new World Cup away jerseys. Henrique Hilario also made his national team debut, coming on for Eduardo.

Portugal started off the game looking confident, with Nani and Almeida both coming close to breaking the deadlock, but just after the 30 minute mark, Cristiano Ronaldo won the ball at half-line, and threaded his pin-point pass to Hugo Almeida, who blasted it into the back of the net. Soon after, Duda’s beautifully taken free-kick ricocheted off of the crossbar. Portugal were not really searching for that second goal. The second half was hard to watch. Due to all of the substitutions, Portugal failed to really find their flow, and with Tiago having been substituted out, Joao Moutinho and Raul Meireles were not filling the void well. The best chance of the second half fell to Raul Meireles, who sent his powerful shot into the post after some nice wing play from Varela left him with a shot. With the final minutes ticking away, it looked as if the score would stay at 1-0. In the 94th minute, however, a Raul Meireles corner kick was headed to Moutinho, whose long shot was deflected into the goal by Liedson, making the final score 2-0 Portugal.

Overall it was a decent showing, but Portugal have a lot of work to do if they wish to advance out of their World Cup group.

Eduardo (Hilario, 46), Paulo Ferreira, Rolando, Bruno Alves (Tonel, 63), Duda (Miguel, 46), Raul Meireles, Tiago (Pedro Mendes, 46), Simao (Joao Moutinho, 46), Cristiano Ronaldo (Liedson, 46), Hugo Almeida, Nani (Varela, 62)

Highlights:

2010 Friendlies


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:

Goalkeepers

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.

Defenders

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.

Midfielders

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.

Forwards

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.