Hélio Sousa Announces U-20 World Cup Squad


Rony Lopes in action last summer for the Portugal U-19s

Rony Lopes in action last summer for the Portugal U-19s. Lopes is possibly the most well-known name to be included in Sousa’s team.

Portugal U-20 head coach Hélio Sousa announced today Portugal’s 21-man squad for the U-20 World Cup, which begins later this month. The team is largely comprised of players who featured for the Portugal U-19 at last summer’s U-19 European Championship. Continue reading

Primeira Preview & Prediction (PPP) – Round 22


Can Nani s Sporting rebound this weekend after two discouraging performances? Photo: Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Can Nani’s Sporting rebound this weekend after two discouraging performances? Photo: Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

It’s alive! It’s alive! After 5 mediocre to subpar weeks, my prediction record is alive! And I’m the king of the world!

OK, I know I’m getting a little ahead of myself here on Oscar weekend, but, I can’t help it – I had a great week! My overall record has improved to 21-24 thanks to a round that saw me go 7-2 with my predictions, including correctly guessing the exact score of three games. The only 2 teams that let me down were Sporting and Penafiel; THAT my friends, is quite the achievement. It’s almost like I know what I’m talking about.

But, I’m not naïve. I’ve experienced a 1-8 week before and I know the same thing could easily happen this week, thus sinking me like Leonardo DiCaprio in the Titanic. I hope that’s not the case though.

I want to show you all the money – by money I mean sharing bragging rights of course – but, at the same time, I’m realistic and I expect to be brought down to Earth a little. Gravity rules. What goes up must come down.

I just don’t want to come too down. I consistently need more wins than losses if I’m going to play this prognostication game well, and, in case you haven’t noticed, I do want to play this game well. In fact, I want someone to hand me a shiny gold statue for “Best Performance by a Portuguese Prognosticator” when the season comes to a close. But that can only happen if I have more weeks like last week. And, that’s gonna be tough given the unpredictability of Liga NOS.

If the previous Valentine’s round was all about identity, then, this Oscar edition, should, appropriately, be all about drama: In the reverse matches of round 22 played earlier in the season, a man was sent off in 7 of the 9 games, radically changing the outcome in nearly every one. Now, while I don’t necessarily expect the same kind of thing to happen this time around, that fact, in and of itself, sets up some very intriguing rematches to follow.

I suspect this week, like every other week in Portugal, will be fun to watch. Get your popcorn ready; the features are about to start. Here are my previews and predictions for round 22:


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Why Premier League Clubs Should Target Jackson Martinez


Jackson Martinez - PortoJackson Martinez is a Colombian striker currently plying his trade in the Portuguese Primeira Liga with FC Porto and has been prolific ever since his arrival in 2012. In his first season at Porto, Jackson managed 31 goals in 40 appearances across 4 competitions, scoring 26 of them in the Liga, helping Porto to yet another league title. In his second season, he managed 29 goals in 51 appearances, however, he was unable to prevent a rather unsuccessful season for Porto as both Lisbon clubs finished ahead of them in the Liga table and they had to settle for a third-place finish and a play-off to reach the group stages of the 2014/15 Champions League. As for this season, he has already managed to rack up more than 20 goals. A clinical, reliable finisher if ever there was one. Continue reading

Primeira Preview & Prediction (PPP) – Round 21


Will Hernani return to haunt his former club?

Will Hernani return to haunt his former club?

It’s the weekend of love in the Liga NOS and around the world, and, dare I say, I’m in quite the jovial mood with regards to my predictions. But, much like being in a relationship, that feeling of warmth can dissipate rather quickly.

Now, I’m still fighting an uphill battle with a 14-22 overall record up to this point, but, things are starting to improve and I’m starting to show a little consistency in this game. Last week saw me go 4-5 for the second round in a row and, with the exception of that disastrous 1-8 result a couple of weeks ago, I’ve pretty much been hovering around the .500 mark. I don’t know about you but that’s a lot better than I expected when I decided to give this series a go.

This is a new round though – the 21st round of play in the newly named Liga NOS – and, from the looks of it, it’s going to be quite an interesting one to take in.

Last week was all about unpredictability what with all the changes in personnel over the days prior, and well, we certainly got some in the results. In particular, it seemed like no lead was safe as, of the 21 goals scored in total, 8 of them came in the last 10 minutes of the game. It was quite the spectacle and reminded me of why I love this league and Portuguese football so much.

Building on the events of the last couple of weeks, and, the idea of unpredictability itself, the theme for this week seems to be identity. Or, to put it another way – who are we and what are we made of?

This is, in a lot of ways, a make or break weekend for every team in the league. Teams like Academica, Arouca, and even Guimaraes may just find themselves sitting disheveled on the couch eating a tub of ice cream asking “What if…?” at the end of the season if they don’t turn things around as soon as possible. And, what of Penafiel and Sporting? Will they be able to bounce back and continue to play well following heartbreaking results?

This weekend, perhaps more than most other weekends, will go a long way towards determining what the league table looks like at the end of the year, and, I think many of these clubs are aware of that. So, don’t be surprised to see a number of cagey matches over the next few days. Teams will not only be looking to be cautious with their opponents, but, in a philosophical sense, they’ll be looking to discover themselves as well.

Here are my picks for this Valentine’s round of play:     Continue reading

Primeira Preview & Prediction (PPP) – Round 20


Can Marco Silva's Sporting side defeat Benfica and push for the title? Photo: SAPO Desporto

Can Marco Silva’s Sporting side defeat Benfica and push for the title? Photo: SAPO Desporto

Hello again Primeira Liga fans, and welcome to another edition of the Primeira Preview & Prediction (PPP)! This weekend marks the 20th round of play, and boy, there are some exciting fixtures on the schedule. One game in particular should have your eyes firmly planted on it from start to finish. I’m sure you already know which one I’m referring to. If you don’t, you will by the end of this article.

Last week was a bit of a bounce back week for me – if, in fact, you can even call a 4-5 week a “bounce back” week – in that I rebounded after that horrendous 1-8 record the weekend before. But, if we’re perfectly honest, there really was nowhere to go but up, so, I’m not really sure I should be celebrating. A 10-17 overall record leaves much to be desired. Continue reading

Hernâni Moves South


Photo: FC Porto

Photo: FC Porto

Hernâni

Vitória Guimarães to Porto

In the most dramatic deal of yesterday’s transfer deadline day, Porto purchased Vitória Guimarães winger Hernâni for a fee of around 1.3 million euros on a deal that lasts until 2019. As part of the deal, Porto send Otávio, Ivo Rodrigues, and Sami on loan to Guimarães. It seems this deal could be beneficial to both parties, at least in the short term. Vitória lose one of their key players, but receive two exciting talents and one established league performer on loan for the rest of the season, which should lessen the blow of losing Hernâni. Porto, on the other hand, give their players a chance to develop at a team currently pushing for honors this season. Continue reading