Following their Euro 2013 qualifier on Thursday, Portuguese U-21 coach Rui Jorge made some changes to the squad that is set to take on France on September 5th. Mario Rui, Nuno Reis, Julio Alves, David Simao, Caetano, Salvador Agra have all been called up in place of Ivo Pinto, Vitor Bastos, Andre Almeida, Diogo Viana, Ricardo Martins, and Abel Camara. Of the players drafted into the squad, David Simao is the only one who has any sort of experience with the U-21 team. The remaining five are just off Portugal’s best display at a U-20 World Cup for a long time.
The Portuguese Under-21 team has gotten off to an excellent start in their 2013 Euro U-21 qualification campaign. Goals from Joao Pereira and Rui Fonte gave the Seleccao a much-deserved 2-0 win over their European counterparts. Cedric and Pele, who both starred for Portugal at the recent U-20 World Cup, made their debuts for the U-21 team. Rui Fonte, who captained the side on the night, came close with a header, which cannoned off the crossbar. Soon after, Joao Pereira headed in a cross from the left to give Portugal the lead. Portugal came close on a few occasions, but they failed to capitalize on their chances until stoppage time at the end of the game. Diogo Viana struck a free kick, which the Moldovan keeper could just punch straight at Rui Fonte, who simply tapped the ball into the net. That was how the game ended, with Rui Jorge’s men gaining a victory that they can now build on.
Anthony Lopes, Cedric, Pedro Mendes, Joao Pereira, Ruben Ferreira, Andre Almeida, Andre Martins (Diogo Viana), Josue, Diogo Rosado (Pele), Wilson Eduardo (Joao Silva), Rui Fonte
Liga Sagres runners-up Sporting Braga have made yet another reinforcement ahead of their Champions League campaign this season. Hugo Viana, who spent last season on loan to the Arsenalistas, was Braga’s ideal purchase due to the player’s superb form last season. Viana was in great form for Braga last season, most notably scoring a free-kick against Benfica, in their historic 2-0 win. Meanwhile, in Spain, Jose Nunes is supposedly being closely followed be Sevilla FC. With Squillaci having departed to Arsenal, the Seville-based club are looking to fill his void. Nunes has apparently met with club officials to negotiate his departure. Mallorca(Nunes’s current team) finished an impressive fourth in the Liga BBVA last season, with Nunes at the heart of their defense.
Hugo Viana, who spent last season on loan to Sporting Braga from Valencia, has terminated his contract with Spanish side Valencia. Viana was instrumental in the Arsenalistas’s run to second place in the Liga Sagres last season, with notable performances all season, most notably against Benfica. It is widely speculated that he plans to re-join Sporting Braga now that he has terminated his contract as Braga continue to bolster their squad ahead of their UEFA Champions League campaign this season.