With much of the media coverage pointed towards the Portuguese senior team’s match against Serbia tomorrow, Portuguese youth matches have flown largely under the radar. On Thursday, the Portugal U-21 team faced Denmark in a friendly match, and just a day later, the Portugal U-20 team faced Uzbekistan. Both teams are preparing for participation in major tournaments this summer. The U-21 team will be in the U-21 Euro for the first time since 2007, while the U-20 team will compete in their third consecutive U-20 World Cup. Both teams are oozing with talent, and while these friendly matches don’t mean anything on paper, the opportunity for team growth and improved cohesion was invaluable. Continue reading
Rui Jorge announced his squad for the Portugal Under-21 team on Friday for the team’s matches against Israel and Azerbaijan, and included two of the brightest prospects in Portuguese football at the moment. Tiago Ilori and Bruma, who starred for Portugal at last summer’s U20 World Cup, have made the list, and are in line to make their debut for the team. Tiago Ilori’s good form last year for Sporting and subsequent solid display at the U20 World Cup convinced Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers to splash out over seven million euros for him. Bruma, also a product of Sporting, has similar displays to that of Ilori to thank for his success. Also impressive last season, Bruma picked up the silver shoe at the U20 World Cup, and earned a move to Galatasaray, who paid in excess of eight million euros for him. Both players are enjoying solid seasons thusfar, Bruma in Galatasaray’s first team, Ilori in Liverpool’s youth side, while on the fringes of the first team. Here’s the entire list:
Goalkeepers: Daniel Fernandes (Osnabruck), José Sá (Marítimo), Luís Ribeiro (Sporting)
Defenders: Josué (Vitória Guimaraes), João Amorim (Vitória Guimaraes), Luís Martins (Gil Vicente), Miguel Rodrigues (Nacional), Paulo Oliveira (Vitória Guimaraes), Raphael Guerreiro (Lorient), Tiago Ilori (Liverpool)
Midfielders: André Gomes (Benfica), Tó Zé (Porto B), João Mário (Sporting B), Luís Gustavo (Rio Ave), Rafa (Braga), Sérgio Oliveira (Paços de Ferreira), Tiago Silva (Belenenses), William (Sporting)
Forwards: Betinho (Sporting B), Bruma (Galatasaray), Ivan Cavaleiro (Benfica B), Ricardo Pereira (Porto), Ricardo Esgaio (Sporting B)
Vieirinha is continuing to set the Greek Leage alight, after he scored in PAOK’s 3-0 demolition of AEK Athens. The winger’s goal brought his tally to two goals in four games, which is an impressive return for a winger. Vieirinha has already been in impressive form for the Greek club this season, already having scored twice in the Europa League. His performances have gone largely unnoticed outside of Greece, however. A Portugal National Team call-up has been on the cards for some time now, but it always seems to not happen. With more performances such as this and against such opposition as Tottenham and Villareal, where he has been known to shine, a call-up may just be around the corner.
Porto to Fulham
Fulham FC have announced, via their website, the signing of none other than Orlando Sa. The Porto striker has found life quite hard at F.C. Porto, where he played for two seasons. Sa started off his career at Braga, rising up through the youth ranks. Soon after he was promoted into the first team at Braga, he earned his first call-up to the Portuguese Under-21 team. Orlando Sa really came of age during a U-21 friendly match against Spain. The striker, who was virtually unknown, scored an impressive hat-trick to help seal the 4-1 thumping. The scoring did not stop there however. Sa brought the scoring back to Braga, and though he was not nearly as prolific, he was making headlines. His performances both for Braga and the Portuguese Under-21 team were impressive enough for Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz to call him up to the Portuguese National team for a friendly against Finland. Sa was substituted on in the second half and won a penalty for his team. A number of clubs were soon interested in acquiring his services, most notably Chelsea, but F.C. Porto swooped in and sealed the deal in June of 2009. Sa has since found playing time hard to come by, only grabbing minutes away from Porto, on loan at Nacional.
This may prove to be a big step in Orlando Sa’s career. Aged just 23, the strike still has a career ahead of him. Whether that career is successful or not remains to be seen, although his body build is suitable to the Premier League.
“I am happy to have completed my transfer to Fulham and the Premier League today.
“This is an enormous opportunity for me and I’m looking forward to joining the team and entering the next phase of my development.
“It’s a wonderful challenge for me and I am keen to bring my qualities to Fulham and the Premier League.”
Louletano youngster Joao Reis is on the verge of signing with Italian giants Inter, after a successful trial with the club. Fifa recently released a list of young stars for viewers to comment on. Joao Reis was surprisingly included on that list, supposedly due to his superb performances for Louletano, in the third division in Portugal. Benfica and Chelsea were also said to be interested, so his skills must be a sight to behold. The youngster will reportedly now link up with Inter’s Under-19 team.
Portugal National Team coach Paulo Bento has called up Joao Ribeiro and Orlando Sa early for the Seleccao’s upcoming game against Spain. Joao Ribeiro has been in top form for Vitoria Guimaraes, attracting the attention of clubs like Fulham and CSKA Moscow. Orlando Sa, who is currently on loan at Nacional from Porto, has also been impressing in the Liga Zon Sagres. If you will recall, Orlando Sa scored a hat-trick three years ago for the Portugal U-21 team against Spain. Maybe Bento is hoping for more of the same. Portugal face Spain in a friendly match on November 17 in an effort to strengthen their joint 2018(I think) World Cup bid. Vieirinha and Andre Santos are two other player who I think deserve call-ups, just in case you guys were wondering…
Italian big-spenders Genoa are reportedly tabling a bid for Sporting Lisbon winger Yannick Djalo. Genoa were supposedly preparing a bid for him during the summer transfer window, but the move never materialized. Now, Genoa officials have flown to Portugal with the hope of finalizing a deal to bring him to Italy. Promising Belenenses midfielder, Pele, who is about to turn 19 this upcoming week, is also being courted by the Italian club. Genoa reportedly failed to pay for Kevin-Prince Boateng after his 5 million pound move from Portsmouth, so I find it hard to believe that they can afford Yannick and Pele.
Everton completed the signing of Portuguese whizkid Joao Silva earlier this week. The 19 year-old has been in top form for Liga de Honra side Desportivo das Aves this season, currently the league’s second top goalscorer with 13 goals. At only 19, he looks to have a bright future, which is why Everton paid 580,000 euros for him. Now, don’t expect to mear much about him in the near future. He will most likely work his way through the Toffee’s world-renowned youth academy. But when he does break into the first team, expect to see things.
Silva has recently been compared to fellow compatriot, and former National Team striker, Pauleta. If you compare both players’ scoring records, then they are similar in that they can score goals almost as easily as it takes them to breathe. On the other hand, if you were to look at Pauleta’s career, then you will see that he did not really get discovered until he was about 23, which is not nearly as young as Silva is now.
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.