Cedric and Almeida Earn Calls

Andre Almeida - BenficaCedric - Sporting

Cedric Soares and Andre Almeida have both earned call-ups to the Portuguese National team for the upcoming World Cup qualification matches against Israel and Luxembourg. With Joao Pereira, Miguel Lopes, and Silvio all out injured, Bento has called on Cedric and Almeida to serve at right-back for the team. Cedric has enjoyed a wonderful season for Sporting this season, most notably scoring the winning goal against Braga last weekend. Andre Almeida, on the other hand, has not enjoyed the same amount of abundant playing time that Cedric has. Used primarily in Champions League, Almeida has shown his worth in the team, capable of playing almost anywhere in defense and midfield. Bento also took the opportunity to recall Josue and Anthony Lopes, who were included in the last squad. Here’s the full list:

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Sevilla), Rui Patricio (Sporting)

Defenders: Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Cedric (Sporting), Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid), Pepe (Real Madrid), Neto (Zenit), Ricardo Costa (Valencia), Antunes (Malaga), André Almeida (Benfica)

Midfielders: André Martins (Sporting), Josué (Porto), João Moutinho (Monaco), Miguel Veloso (Dinamo Kiev), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Rúben Micael (Braga)

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Danny (Zenit), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Hélder Postiga (Valencia), Nani (Manchester United), Nélson Oliveira (Rennes), Varela (Porto), Éder (Braga)

Squad Prediction – 10/1/13

Paulo BentoWith Paulo Bento slated to announce a 23-man squad this Friday for the Portugal National team’s upcoming games against Luxembourg and Israel, Portugal Football are going to take a guess as to who he will call. These two games are the last two World Cup qualifiers for Portugal, as the team looks to capitalize on a run of good form. Both teams are beatable, and as both games are to be played at home, there will be few excuses if Portugal fail to come up with the points. Because of this and of past actions, Bento will likely call a squad with very few surprises. Here’s what we think:


Definites: Rui Patricio (Sporting)

Possibilities: Beto (Sevilla), Eduardo (Braga), Anthony Lopes (Lyon)

Outsider: Mario Felgueiras (Cluj)


Definites: Pepe (Real Madrid), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid), Joao Pereira (Valencia), Neto (Zenit)

Possibilities: Antunes (Malaga), Cedric (Sporting), Ricardo Costa (Valencia), Nuno Andre Coelho (Braga)

Outsiders: Sereno (Kayserispor), Andre Almeida (Benfica)


Definites: Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev)

Possibilities: Andre Martins (Sporting), Adrien Silva (Sporting), William Carvalho (Sporting), Ruben Micael (Braga), Josue (Porto), Ruben Amorim (Benfica), Danny (Zenit)

Outsiders: Paulo Machado (Olympiakos), Custodio (Braga), Manuel Fernandes (Besiktas)


Definites: Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Helder Postiga (Valencia)

Possibilities: Nani (Manchester United), Lica (Porto), Varela (Porto), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Eder (Braga), Nelson Oliveira (Rennes)

Outsiders: Amido Balde (Celtic), Wilson Eduardo (Sporting), Pizzi (Espanyol)


Predicted Squad

Goalkeepers: Beto (Sevilla), Eduardo (Braga), Rui Patricio (Sporting)

Defenders: Pepe (Real Madrid), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid), Joao Pereira (Valencia), Neto (Zenit), Antunes (Malaga), Cedric (Sporting)

Midfielders: Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev), Andre Martins (Sporting), Adrien Silva (Sporting), Josue (Porto), William Carvalho (Sporting)

Forwards: Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Helder Postiga (Valencia), Nelson Oliveira (Rennes), Lica (Porto), Nani (Manchester United), Varela (Porto)

Portugal Edge Luxembourg

Luxembourg 1-2 Portugal

Portugal were lucky to beat a defensive-minded, physical Luxembourg team today. This game marked the beginning of qualification for the 2014 World Cup for both teams, and both were looking for a positive result. Portugal were riding high after their positive showing at Euro 2012 and their victory over Panama last month, while Luxembourg were the wild card, as ever.

Surprisingly, it was the hosts who started the brighter of the two teams. Left midfielder Joachim shot just over for Luxembourg, before Daniel Da Mota opened the scoring in spectacular fashion. The striker’s first touch out of the air took him around Joao Pereira, and he shot confidently past Rui Patricio. The goal was certainly a wake-up call for the Seleccao, as they began to press harder. Luxembourg poured more men back on defense, but were certainly not content on keeping the score at 1-0. Fifteen minutes after Luxembourg opened the scoring, Ronaldo tied the game up at 1-1. Some chaos on the edge of Luxembourg’s box allowed Joao Moutinho to poke the ball to Ronaldo, whose shot bounced in off the post. Following the goal, Portugal’s play improved considerably. Ronaldo came close with a free kick, and then hit the post after a wonderful lob from Raul Meireles. Soon after, Helder Postiga had a wonderful header saved by the goalkeeper. That was how the half ended: 1-1. Portugal’s play was noticeably improved, but a goal had not come yet.

That goal came soon after the second half commenced.  Joao Moutinho played a ball over the top for Helder Postiga, who side-footed the ball past the keeper to make the score 2-1 in Portugal’s favor. After the goal, the game was badly officiated, as Luxembourg became more physical by the minute. Both the side referees and main referee made blatantly incorrect calls, mostly in Luxembourg’s favor. Nevertheless, Portugal controlled the rest of the match, kept their head, and ground out a victory.

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

Man-of-the-Match: Ronaldo

Crutch-of-the-Match: Miguel Veloso


Pizzi Earns Maiden Call

Paulo Bento released a squad of 23 for the Seleccao’s upcoming games against Luxembourg and Azerbaijan. Notable inclusions are Pizzi (who has enjoyed a great start to this season at Deportivo), Manuel Fernandes (who was omitted from the Euro 2012 squad), and Nuno Andre Coelho (who made the last call-up by the skin of his teeth). Rolando, Hugo Viana, and Hugo Almeida all miss selection. Here’s the full list:

Goalkeepers: Beto (Braga), Eduardo (Istanbul BB), Rui Patrício (Sporting)
Defenders: Bruno Alves (Zenit), Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid), João Pereira (Valencia), Miguel Lopes (Porto), Nuno André Coelho (Braga), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Costa (Valencia)
Midfielders: Carlos Martins (Benfica), Custódio (Braga), João Moutinho (Porto), Manuel Fernandes (Besiktas), Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev), Raúl Meireles (Chelsea), Rúben Micael (Braga)
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Hélder Postiga (Zaragoza), Nani (Manchester United), Nélson Oliveira (Deportivo), Pizzi (Deportivo), Varela (Porto)

2014 World Cup Qualification Groups Drawn

FIFA announced earlier this week the qualification groups for the 2014 World Cup, slated to be held in Brazil. Portugal drew a seemingly easy group with Russia, Israel, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan, and Luxembourg. This group seems easier than the ones in the immediate past, but, as we have learned, Portugal has a knack of making a mess of things. Hopefully, under Paulo Bento, those days are over. Russia will be the most likely to give the team a run for their money, and Israel has an outside chance of doing just the same.

Coentrao Opens Portugal Account

Fabio Coentrao was the man of the match in yesterday’s match between Portugal and Luxembourg. Portugal ran out easy winners, with Ronaldo, Helder Postiga, Hugo Almeida, and Fabio Coentrao all grabbing goals in the 5-0 win. Portugal began the match well, taking the lead through Helder Postiga. Ronaldo went down in the box, but the referee played advantage, allowing Helder Postiga to score a delightful left-footed lob. Soon after, Ronaldo doubled Portugal’s lead with a lucky, yet skillful free kick that went through the wall. That’s how the first half ended. The second half started eventfully. Ruben Micael passed to Joao Pereira, who hit a pinpoint cross right onto Coentrao’s head. Coentrao’s goal was his first for Portugal. He fully deserved the goal as he was one of Portugal’s finest performers of the night. Just over ten minutes later, Hugo Almeida scored one of the most creative goals of his career, and certainly one of the finest Portugal has seen for some time. Almeida controlled the ball on his thigh before unleashing a one-time volley off his left foot, that almost seemed to break the net. Almeida added his second and Portugal’s fourth soon after, converting Nani’s cross to finish the game at 5-0.


2014 World Cup Qualification Groups Drawn

The qualification draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup was today, and Portugal have been drawn in a slightly difficult group. Portugal were drawn in Group 6 alongside Russia, Israel, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan, and Luxembourg. This group may not seem very hard, but Russia may give us a run for our money.

Russia’s squad performed well at Euro 2008, but since has not lived up to those performances, failing to qualify for last summer’s World Cup. Russia will look to Arsenal’s Andrei Arshavin and Tottenham’s Roman Pavlyuchenko for any attacking flair, while their leading midfielder, Konstantin Zyryanov, is getting on in years, currently at 33. Israel will be a little less tricky, with their main attacking threat coming through Benayoun, Ben Sahar, and Eran Zahavi. Portugal has only played Israel once before, with that game ending in a 2-1 win for the Seleccao. Northern Ireland have caused some upsets in various qualification campaigns in the past, so Portugal may need to look out for that, while Azerbaijan and Luxembourg pose little to no threat at all.