Two weeks ago, PortugalFutbol announced Part I of the Primeira Liga’s Top 10 Under 24 from last season. In Part I, we announced who were the honorable mentions, and promised the full list to follow. These are ten of the best under-24 Portuguese players from last season playing outside of the “Big Three.” The data has been gathered and the decisions made. Here’s the list. Continue reading
Portugal U-21 team coach Rui Jorge called on twenty players for the team’s upcoming friendly match against Ukraine. The team is currently sitting in second in their U-21 Euro qualification group, behind Russia, and will look to continue their good form and push for the number one spot, and will use this friendly as a springboard towards that goal. Four players who featured at last summer’s U-20 World Cup made the team, those being Danilo, Mika, Luis Martins, and Cedric.
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Mika (Benfica)
Defenders: Cédric (Académica), Ivo Pinto (U. Leiria), João Pereira (FC Sheriff), Luís Martins (Benfica), Pedro Mendes (Real Madrid), Ruben Ferreira (Marítimo), Vítor Bastos (Atlético)
Midfielders: Ludovic (Feirense), André Almeida (Benfica), André Martins (Sporting), Danilo (Parma), David Simão (Académica), Diogo Amado (Estoril), Josué (P. Ferreira)
Forwards: Abel Camará (Beira-Mar), Rui Fonte (Español), Salvador Agra (Olhanense), Wilson Eduardo (Olhanense)
Albania 2-2 Portugal (U21)
A fine performance from the Albanian goalkeeper helped Albania to a 2-2 draw against Portugal in Group 6 of the 2013 UEFA U-21 Qualification. Portugal had the majority of the chances of the night, but the keeper held Portugal to just two goals. Portugal now sit at second in Group 6 with eight points, with qualification still a possibility. The team must win more matches if they hope to qualify for the tournament proper, as they are currently now ranked very highly on the second-place team ranking.
The game started with Portugal on the front foot. After just two minutes of play, Josue recorded the first shot of the night, after he lifted his shot well over the goal, not troubling the Albanian goalkeeper. Soon after, some excellent wing play from Wilson Eduardo was finished with a cross, which was met by a ferocious volley from Andre Martins. The Albanian goalkeeper reacted well to record his first save of the night, and keep the scores level at 0-0. Portugal continued to press and completely dominate Albania, and it all payed off. Ruben Ferreira whipped in a pin-point cross, which met the head of Josue, who tucked his header into the bottom corner. That was how the half ended: 1-0 in Portugal’s favor. The team looked worthy of the lead, as they were the only of the two to create any sort of chances.
The second half started in almost spectacular fashion. Wilson Eduardo’s run was picked out well by Andre Martins. Eduardo dribbled the ball and shot, only for the Albanian keeper to save. The rebound fell to the onrushing Andre Martins, whose shot was stopped by the leg of an Albanian defender. That save deflected the ball back out to just outside the box, where Pele was waiting. The midfielder had the presence of mind to send in a chipped shot. Once again, however, the opposition goalkeeper was on hand to make the save, this time an acrobatic fingertip save. Albania responded quickly with virtually their first chance of the game. A lofted ball was sent in by an Albanian defender. The pass was met by an Albanian, whose header was controlled by Sadiku, and shot first time. The ball flew past the Mika to give Albania a surprise goal and level the scores at 1-1. Portugal, however, responded also. A peach of a cross was sent in by Cedric, and Wilson Eduardo headed the ball smartly over the opposition keeper. The score was now at 1-2, but it wasn’t set to stay that way. Some lax defending from Portugal allowed Sadiku to shoot on goal, and score. Mika will be faulted for this goal, but in truth it was a poor defensive showing in general. That was how the match ended: 2-2.
Mika, Ruben Ferreira(Ludovic), Pedro Mendes, Joao Pereira, Cedric, Andre Almeida, Andre Martins, Josue, Salvador Agra(Pele), Nelson Oliveira(Rui Fonte), Wilson Eduardo
Man of the Match: Wilson Eduardo
Crutch of the Match: Mika
Following Portugal’s stellar performance at the recent U-20 World Cup, many wondered whether the crop of players who went so far in the tournament would continue their form for their club teams. Let’s take a look at how the 2011-2012 season is going for each of those young, talented players.
Mika – The best goalkeeper of the tournament was swiftly snapped up by league giants Benfica, but has since found playing time non-existent. While he has appeared a couple of times for the Portugal U-21 team, he has not been as lucky at Benfica. He is currently third in the pecking order, behind Artur Moraes and Eduardo, first and second respectively.
Tiago Maia – Maia is in a similar predicament as Mika, only instead of moving to a big club in the summer, he dropped down a division to promotion-hopefuls Santa Clara. The playing time hasn’t come as easily as he must have expected, however. He is third in the goalkeeping order, behind Stefanovic and Brice. Maia has only appeared on the bench twice, and is yet to make his official debut.
Luis Ribeiro – Last but not least on the list of goalkeepers is Luis Ribeiro, currently on loan at Sertanense from Sporting. Sertanense is currently competing in the third division in Portugal, but nevertheless, Ribeiro has yet to make an appearance for the club.
Tiago Ferreira – The David Luiz lookalike has not featured for Porto’s first team, which comes as no surprise as he is still 18 years old. He has been a regular for the team’s youth setup, and continues to be a player to watch for the future.
Nuno Reis – The U-20 captain has built off what was a successful first season in Belgium last term. The defender has made five appearances so far this season, helping Cercle Brugge, where he is on loan from Sporting Lisbon, to second in the Belgian league.
Roderick – Clearly the second choice for the U-20 team’s center defense, his pairing with Nuno Reis was one to remember. Currently on loan from Benfica to Swiss side Servette, Roderick has excelled. The defender has played in six of Servette’s matches this season, and looks to have a successful season.
Cedric Soares – The right back/right midfielder/everything else has joined Academica on loan from Sporting Lisbon for the entire season. At Academica, he has established himself as their first-choice right-back. In doing this, he has also put in a case for a starting spot in the Portugal U-21 team.
Luis Martins – Benfica coach Jorge Jesus surprised everyone when he named Martins over Joan Capdevila in the team’s Champions League squad. By doing that, he was hinting that Martins could become Benfica’s second choice left-back. He has since appeared on the bench three times, further confirming the theory that he is their second-choice left back at age 19.
Mario Rui – The left-back has joined Serie B side Gubbio on loan from Parma. Rui was snapped up by Parma in the off-season, but was immediately loaned out to Gubbio to gain experience. The defender has since made six appearances, mainly from the substitute’s bench, all the while staking a claim for a starting spot in the Portugal U-21 team.
Portuguese Under-21 coach Rui Jorge has named a squad of 23 for the team’s upcoming Euro 2013 qualification matches against Poland and Russia. The list includes no fewer than six players that were involved in this summer’s U-20 World Cup, which is surely a smart move by the coach, as that team has been heralded as the future of the Portuguese National Team. Here’s the full list:
Goalkeepers: Cristiano Figueiredo, Luis Ribeiro, Mika
Defenders: Cédric Soares, Ivo Pinto, João Pereira, Mário Rui, Pedro Mendes, Rúben, Vitor Bastos
Midfielders: Ludovic, André Almeida, André Martins, David Simão, Diogo Amado, Josué, Pelé, Lassana Camará
Forwards: Abel Camará, Diogo Viana, Nélson Oliveira, Rui Fonte, Wilson Eduardo
Portuguese U-21 coach Rui Jorge has named the squad to face Moldova and France on September 1st and 5th, respectively. The Moldova game is the first game of Portugal’s Euro 2013 qualification campaign, so they will be hoping to improve on what has been some disappointing previous qualification campaigns. Freshly back from the U-20 World Cup, Nelson Oliveira, Cedric, Sana, and Mika have all been called for this game after their impressive performances for the U-20 team during the World Cup.
Here’s the full list:
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Cristiano (Valência), Mika (Benfica)
Defense: Cédric (Académica), Ivo Pinto (UD Leiria), João Pereira (Beira-Mar), Pedro Mendes (Real Madrid), Ruben (Marítimo), Vítor Bastos (Atlético)
Midfield: André Almeida (UD Leiria), André Martins (Sporting), Amado (Estoril), Diogo Rosado (Feirense), Josué (P. Ferreira), Saná (Valladolid), Ricardo Martins (Desp. Aves)
Forwards: Abel (Belenenses), Diogo Viana (Penafiel), Nélson Oliveira (Benfica), Rui Fonte (Espanhol), Wilson (Olhanense)
Portugal 2-0 France
Portugal strolled to an easy 2-0 win over a strong France side to book a place in the final of the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Portugal got off to a great start when Danilo towered over the French defense to head home an Alex corner kick. France had their opportunities, but Portugal’s solid defense stood firm. Portugal doubled their lead soon after, when Nelson Oliveira converted his penalty kick. The Seleccao never looked back, and came out with a 2-0 win, and their goals conceded tally stay at zero.
Mika, Cedric, Mario Rui, Roderick, Nuno Reis, Pele, Danilo, Julio Alves, Alex(Luis Martins), Sergio Oliveira(Tiago Ferreira), Nelson Oliveira(Rafael Lopes)
The Portuguese Under-20 team booked a place in the semi-finals of the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup after a victorious penalty shoot-out with Argentina. The last time that Portugal advanced this far in a U-20 World Cup was back in 1995, when they achieved 3rd place in the competition. Portugal now have a realistic chance of equaling just that. Throughout this whole tournament, various player for Portugal have shown flashes of promise. These players will have to play very consistently well to overcome their semi-final opponent, France.
The game against Argentina was, for the most part, a largely boring affair. Neither team attacked with the ferocity that they are capable of. Argentina had scored six before this game and only conceded once. Portugal on the other hand, had only scored three and not conceded at all. In fact, Portugal are the only team in the competition that has yet to concede a goal, which is a testament to their defense. Both sides came close, with Argentina’s attacking movement mainly through Porto’s new signing, Iturbe. Portugal’s best chances fell to Caetano and Nelson Oliveira. Rafael Lopes also tested the opposition keeper on one occasion. After the score was still level after extra time, the game went into penalties. Argentina were up 3-1 on penalties, and the game looked finished. Mika then proceeded to save two penalties in a row, from Pirez and Ruiz. That, combined with Nelson Oliveira and Rafael Lopes scoring their penalties, sent the game into sudden death. Tiago Ferreira scored for Portugal, and Vuletic did likewise for Argentina. Sergio Oliveira then scored for Portugal. Then, Tagliafico stepped up for Argentina, and his shot was saved by Mika to send Portugal into the semi-finals.
Mika, Cedric, Luis Martins(Tiago Ferreira), Nuno Reis, Roderick, Sergio Oliveira, Pele, Danilo Pereira, Julio Alves(Sana), Caetano(Rafael Lopes), Nelson Oliveira
The Portuguese Under-20 Team is through to the second round after two 1-0 wins over Cameroon and New Zealand each. Portugal’s overall play improved from their lackluster display against Uruguay in their opening match. The team added to their rock-solid defense a creative offense, and while it hasn’t gotten them goals, it has helped them just enough to reach the next round.
Portugal vs Cameroon
Portugal earned a deserved 1-0 victory over their African opponents on Tuesday. Nelson Oliveira scored the Seleccao’s only goal, which was enough to get them the win. Portugal controlled the majority of the match, and enjoyed much more success in their attack than they did against Uruguay. Their attack all payed off when two poor clearances from Cameroon’s defenders gave Nelson Oliveira a one-on-one situation. The Benfica man took his goal well, calmly lobbing it over the keeper to make the score 1-0. Portugal continued to control the match, but the game would end at 1-0.
Mika, Nuno Reis, Roderick, Cedric, Luis Martins(Mario Rui), Pele, Danilo Pereira, Julio Alves(Ricardo Dias), Alex, Nelson Oliveira, Caetano(Amidio Balde)
Portugal vs New Zealand
The Seleccao U-20 sealed their place in the second round with their 1-0 win over New Zealand. Mario Rui scored the only goal of the match, but that was enough to give Portugal a deserved 1-0 win. Many are wondering, however, how the score was not more than 1-0. Portugal had many opportunities, mainly through Nelson Oliveira, who enjoyed a splendid game.
Mika, Nuno Reis, Roderick(Tiago Ferreira), Mario Rui, Cedric, Pele, Danilo Pereira(Sergio Oliveira), Alex, Julio Alves, Nelson Oliveira, Caetano(Ricardo Dias)
The Portuguese Under-20 team will now face Guatemala in the Round of 16 of the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Guatemala have not looked impressive at all, losing 6-0 to Saudi Arabia and 5-0 to Nigeria, so a comfortable win should be in the bag. The quality of this Portuguese team is evident, and will continue to grow as the team finds its feet in this competition. Nelson Oliveira and Caetano have already shown that they are destined for bigger things, and players such as Pele, Danilo Pereira, and our entire defense have shown what they are capable of. Portugal will go far in this tournament. Mark my words.
The Portuguese National Under-20 Team settled for a draw tonight against Uruguay. Both Portugal and Uruguay controlled the game from time to time and were, overall, even. Portugal showed more possession in the first half of play, but Uruguay stepped up their game in the second half and shackled Portugal’s play. Both teams came close at times, most notably when Sergio Oliveira hit the post with a marvelous free-kick, and when Uruguay’s captain, Diego Polenta, rattled the crossbar with a long-range effort.
Overall, Portugal played a defensive, possession-first game. The service to the forwards was not always the best, with Sana to be partially at fault. Danilo Pereira and Pele both excelled in their defensive midfield duties, but they would often leave Sana and Sergio Oliveira to do most of the creative attacking work in the midfield, due to their defensive approach. By far the most important aspect of the team was the defense. Nuno Reis and Roderick were water-tight, shutting down Uruguayan advances all night. The outside backs (Cedric and Luis Martins) were solid also.
Mika, Nuno Reis, Roderick, Luis Martins, Cedric, Pele (Julio Alves), Danilo Pereira, Sana (Tiago Ferreira), Sergio Oliveira, Nelson Oliveira, Rafael Lopes (Alex)
Mika: 7 : Benfica’s new signing certainly lived up to his reputation with an assured display. He always looked confident in his handling.
Nuno Reis: 7 : The pairing of Roderick and Reis complement each other well. The defense was one of Portugal’s strong-suits tonight, no doubt because of him.
Roderick: 7 : As stated above, Roderick performed well in his defensive duties, constantly breaking up plays. His range of passing was also a sight to behold.
Luis Martins: 6.5 : Martins had a solid game defensively, but I would have liked to see him attack more.
Cedric: 7 : Portugal’s number 8 had both a solid defensive and offensive game. His runs forward furthered Portugal’s attack and gave Uruguay headaches
Pele: 7 : Genoa’s new signing met all expectations. Pele is naturally a very gifted player, and it was shown tonight. He constantly got himself out of sticky situations using his skill. Along with Danilo Pereira, He anchored Portugal’s team and supplied the link between the defense and midfield.
Danilo Pereira: 7 : Much the same with Pele, Danilo fulfilled his role well, holding the midfield down with style. The only downside to his performance was his lack of attacking.
Sana: 6.5 : Virtually Portugal’s only creative midfielder, Sana was constantly on breakaways and feeding the forwards passes, only for them to make a mess of them. It must have been a frustrating night for him.
Sergio Oliveira: 6.5 : Apart from hitting the post in the second half, Porto’s midfielder didn’t do much. He hit many speculative shots, but could have helped Sana more in the midfield.
Nelson Oliveira: 6 : Overall, Nelson Oliveira did not play well. He did not play badly, but he just had a bad game. Missed an open opportunity when Sana put him through on goal in the second half, but he missed his shot.
Rafael Lopes: 5 : A very dissappointing performance from the forward, who just couldn’t find his feet. The only thing he did was make Uruguay’s players angry. He was nowhere to be seen for large chunks of time in the game.
Alex: 6.5 : The Santa Clara man came on for the ineffectual Rafael Lopes, and did better than his predecessor. He made some good passes and generally looked good on the ball. Would be a good replacement for Rafael Lopes in the coming games.
Julio Alves: 6 : Overall a very mediocre performance from Atletico Madrid’s new signing. Mind you, he did only have a handful of minutes at the end.
Tiago Ferreira: N/A : Not enough time on the field to give a rating.