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Wednesday, 09 May 2012 12:35

Euro 2012: Who will make the cut?

Paulo Bento to announce squad on Monday

Paulo BentoOn 14 May Paulo Bento will announce the 23 players who will don the red, white and green and represent Portugal at Euro 2012 in Ukraine and Poland. Unlike the build-up to the World Cup, which was blighted by injuries to key players Pepe and Nani, it appears Bento will have all of his first choice eleven available.
 
But who will make up the rest of the squad? Tom Kundert puts himself in the shoes of the Selecção coach and predicts the squad make-up.
 
 

Goalkeeper:

Rui PatricioProbably Bento’s least problematic decision. Rui Patrício has enjoyed a fantastic season for Sporting and firmly established himself as Portugal’s number one. Despite his lack of playing time, Eduardo has looked solid when given a run-out for Benfica and his superb performances in the 2010 World Cup proves he can do it at the highest level.
 
Beto’s eminently sensible decision to leave FC Porto on loan for regular playing time at CFR Cluj in Romania is likely to earn him a championship medal and a place on the plane to Poland and Ukraine. The unfortunate Quim will miss out again on a major tournament despite the veteran’s excellent season at Braga.
PortuGOAL prediction: Rui Patrício, Eduardo, Beto
 
 

Right-back:

Joao PereiraJoão Pereira has been the regular starter at right-back since Paulo Bento took over from Queiroz, and despite his form tailing off towards the end of the season, it will be a major surprise if the Sporting defender does not start the first game against Germany. The well publicised bust-up between Bento and José Bosingwa rules out the Chelsea full-back. Sílvio would normally be a natural alternative, but the ex Rio Ave and Braga defender’s wretched luck with injuries since moving to Atletico Madrid has scuppered his chances.
 
Betis right-back Nelson has done well on the few occasions he has been selected, although the excellent form of Miguel Lopes at Braga could earn the FC Porto loanee a surprise call-up.
PortuGOAL prediction: João Pereira, Nelson
 
 

Left-back:

Fabio CoentraoBarring injury, Fábio Coentrão will occupy the left-back berth, with Portugal fans hoping he can reproduce the outstanding form he showed in South Africa, after a gruelling and at times difficult, albeit ultimately successful debut season at Real Madrid.  Coentrão’s emergence solved what had long been a problem position for the Selecção, and should the former Benfica man be unavailable, there are a distinct lack of viable alternatives.

Bento may choose not to take a direct replacement for the position, relying instead on the options of adapted left-backs Miguel Veloso, Ricardo Costa or Nelson. However, when faced with this problem in the past, Bento went for a wing-back solution in Malaga’s Eliseu, and his good recent form in La Liga should prove decisive.
PortuGOAL prediction: Fábio Coentrão, Eliseu
 
 

Centre-backs:

PepeFirst choice pair Pepe and Bruno Alves are so obviously superior to the alternatives, Portugal fans the world over will be praying they can avoid injury and keep a cap on their often fiery tempers to avoid suspension. A position that has traditionally been one of the Selecção’s strong points all of a sudden looks somewhat fragile, especially given Ricardo Carvalho’s infamous walkout and subsequent omission from Paulo Bento’s plans.
 
Rolando has had a season to forget at FC Porto, but despite his shaky displays when called upon for Portugal in the qualifying campaign, the Cape Verde born defender remains third choice centre-back. Paulo Jorge’s fine performances for APOEL in the Champions League have led to calls for his inclusion in some quarters, but Bento is known for his reticence when it comes to bringing in new faces. Given his experience and versatility, Ricardo Costa is in a good position to get the call-up.
PortuGOAL prediction: Pepe, Bruno Alves, Rolando, Ricardo Costa
 
 

Midfielders

Raul MeirelesThey way Miguel Veloso, João Moutinho and Raul Meireles gelled brilliantly in the two play-off matches against Bosnia-Herzegovina means it would be somewhat surprising if the trio did not start against Germany on June 9th. Indeed, given their consistently excellent form for the national team, the latter two are shoe-ins for every game. Veloso’s position is less secure, although the fact he rose to prominence under the guidance of Bento at Sporting plays in his favour.
 
As for the alternatives, Manuel Fernandes’s resurgence at Besiktas has surely earned him a place on the plane, while Bento has also showed loyalty to Carlos Martins, whose strong finish to the season for Granada should see him make the cut. Daniel Carriço’s emergence as an ever more reliable holding midfielder could work in his favour or against him, depending on Bento’s thinking. The Portugal coach has steadfastly stuck to a system that involves moving the ball accurately and at speed from defence to attack, which is not Carriço’s natural game. However, if Bento feels there will be a need to “shut up shop” to see out games, or simply a beefier presence in midfield, the former centre-back would appear to have the tools to carry out these tasks.
 
Braga pair Hugo Viana and Custódio both enjoyed fabulous seasons, but likewise, they do no appear to fit Bento’s philosophy.
 
The aforementioned quick-thinking quick-passing game that Bento has implemented, largely successfully, is more suited to Zaragoza’s Ruben Micael, who has the added advantage of playing week in week out with Portugal’s likely starting striker Hélder Postiga. Given his spectacular emergence at the business end of the season, André Martins may also have an outside chance of squeezing into the squad.
PortuGOAL prediction: João Moutinho, Raul Meireles, Miguel Veloso, Manuel Fernandes, Carlos Martins, Ruben Micael
 


 

Wingers:

RonaldoOne of the most pleasing aspect’s of Paulo Bento’s reign has been his ability to coax the best out of captain Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid winger’s astonishing season at club level has come alongside some of his finest displays in a Portugal shirt since the new coach took charge, scoring 7 goals in 8 qualifying games under Bento. Nani has had a stop-start season at club level, but was also superb for Portugal in qualifying, notching five goals. Portugal’s chances of glory in Ukraine and Poland doubtless depend heavily on the contribution of their two ‘golden boys’.
 
The enigma that is Ricardo Quaresma has had what one can consider a standard season by his very unique yardstick, intertwining moments of utter brilliance with fits of petulance. It’s never mundane with Quaresma and although Bento’s conservative attitude is at odds with such unpredictability, he may be tempted to take the Besiktas wide man as his joker in the pack. Silvestre Varela and Vieirinha have both been given run-outs by Bento, but inconsistent form and injury respectively have set them back in 2011/12.
PortuGOAL prediction: Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Ricardo Quaresma
 
 

Strikers:

Hugo AlmeidaAnd so we arrive at what remains Portugal’s Achilles’ heel – the failure to have at their disposal a world-class striker to lap up the chances created by their exceptional wingers. Hélder Postiga, for all his (many) critics, has the happy knack of scoring in big games for Portugal, and will almost certainly be Bento’s first-choice striker. Hugo Almeida, although a very different centre-forward, is also a mainstay in the squad, albeit largely down to the fact there are no alternatives. Both players are equally capable of scoring outstanding goals and missing glaring chances, but both should be commended for never hiding.
 
Nélson Oliveira has been tipped by many as the man who will bring the Selecção’s long wait for a world-class striker to an end. Oliveira enjoyed a fantastic World Youth Cup last summer, made his debut for the senior team in Portugal’s friendly against Poland in February, and has impressed on occasion in his sporadic appearances for Benfica this season. However, a distinct lack of playing time resulted in a season haul of just three goals.

Ricardo Vaz Tê
, on the other hand, has not stopped scoring since returning to England, albeit in the Championship (2nd tier), having hit the net 23 times for Barnsley and West Ham. Will it be enough to persuade Bento to make that call? Another marksman whose strike rate merits consideration is Liedson, but the ex Sporting icon has hardly had a look-in for the Selecção since moving back to Brazil, and Bento has given no indications the Levezinho is under consideration.
PortuGOAL prediction: Hélder Postiga, Hugo Almeida, Nélson Oliveira 
 

Complete squad

Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício, Eduardo, Beto
Defenders: João Pereira, Nélson, Fábio Coentrão, Eliseu, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Rolando, Ricardo Costa
Midfielders: João Moutinho, Raul Meireles, Miguel Veloso, Ruben Micael, Carlos Martins, Manuel Fernandes
Wingers & strikers: Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Ricardo Quaresma, Hélder Postiga, Hugo Almeida, Nélson Oliveira
 
 
This is the squad I believe Bento will go with. Do you agree? If you were in charge, who would you select? We are always delighted to hear the views of our passionate readership. Please leave your opinion using the form at the bottom of the page.

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Comments (46)
Portugal Squad
46 Monday, 14 May 2012 16:47
I posted a similar sduad the other day. I feel like every week I can have a new squad.

GK: Patricio, Eduardo Hilario or Moreira

- A more experienced goalie instead of Beto

RB: Pereira, Silvio

- Although if available I would take Bosingwa over Silvio. No Nelson

CB: Pepe, Bruno Alves, Daniel Carrico, Rolando

- Miguel Vitor, Ricardo Costa also worthy candidates

LB: Fabio Coentrao, Eliseu

M: Moutinho, Meirelese, Martins, Hugo Viana, Manuel Fernandes, Ruben Micael

- Give Javi Garcia Portuguese citizenship and make him starting 11. He already said he wanted to play for Portugal.

Worthy candidates; Nuno Assis, Danny if not injured, Ruben Amorim. No Veloso

Wings: Ronaldo, Nani, Djalo

- No Quaresma. Consider Ukra

ST: Oliveira, Almeida, Vaz Te,or Nuno gomes (Tie)

- NO Postiga, I would even consider Orlando Sa, Makakula if he played more in Turkey,
Lets be happy
45 Saturday, 12 May 2012 14:10
At least we there!
Disapoitment
44 Friday, 11 May 2012 20:03
It will be the same typical Portuguese national team disapoitment-failure.
I have supported this team for 27 years and it is ALWAYS failure. The Germnas will almost certainly destroy Portugal on set pieces (I think it will be a 4-2 game for Germany).
More thoughts on our group
43 Friday, 11 May 2012 12:24
It is clearly the group of death and is as difficult a group stage at a major tournament as I can remember in my time as a football fan...all 4 teams in the fifa top 10 rankings...that is hectic lol!! We are certainly going to have to perform at our very best to qualify from this group, and if we should do so, then the confidence gained could be enormous for the rest of the tournament...but definitely we have to take things one match at a time and the only goal for now has to be qualifying from the group..

Here's what i think about our 3 opponents: Happy to play Germany first, they are the toughest oppenent and good to get it out of the way straight away, playing them first should force us to get into gear straight away. I think whatever happens in that first match, we shouldn't panic, even should we lose there are still 2 other matches to be able to qualify. Germany's attack could really hurt our defence, but likewise I don't rate their defence either and think we can do damage there too. They are very good but definitely beatable as well, lets not forget that virtually this same squad (and manager) lost a group stage match to Serbia at WC2010 and to Croatia at Euro2008. I think a draw in the opening match with them would be a superb result for us.

Denmark second, both teams know loads about eachother having played each other loads in the last few years. Both teams will feel this is their must-win match, so it should be heavily competitive. Denmark as always play well as a team, and make up for their lack of great individual talent with a great work ethic and good organisation. We have to match their team-work and spirit on the day...if we do i think we will beat them because there is no question we have more talented players than they do.

Lastly Holland in what could be a winner-takes all. This match will be huge and is a 50-50 to me. Yes people have pointed out that we always do well against them, but we gotta forget about this for now, every tournament and match is unique. Their attack can be devastating and will really test us, I hope we have our full strength defence available for that match. However their defence is nothing special at all, they will likely play a defence of Mathijsens, Heitinga, Van Der Wiel and Pieters...none of these is world class at all..and if our attack gets going, they could really put that defence to the sword. They will feel the same way about our defence though, so it'll be interesting.

To summarise, I think our chances of qualifying are 50-50. Germany will be faves against us, we will be faves against Denmark, and the last match against Holland is arguably a 50-50...so to have a 50% chance of qualifying from such a tough group ain't bad....can't wait for the matches to start!!!
Btw I agree we should go 4-2-3-1 as opposed to 4-3-3, with 2 holding midfielders to protect our defence better, and Moutinho playing the number 10. This is the most fluid and balanced formation nowadays in the modern game...
4-2-3-1 ???
42 Friday, 11 May 2012 03:43
mourinho this year switched to a 4-2-3-1 from his usual 4-3-3 that all his team in the past used and in my opnion in caters better to CR7's strengths as a player , i doubt bento will switch at this point but if he did it would look like this
patricio
pereira alves pepe coentrao
meireles veloso
nani moutinho ronaldo
postiga
realism
41 Thursday, 10 May 2012 23:23
The talent coming through is average including the likes of vaz te and rudy and no where near what Portugal was producing up 10 yrs ago but get real you cannot expect it to go on for ever this is Portugal a nation that has a similar population to London. Be happy with what has come through during those years and accept that some like Ronaldo and Coentrao will reach their potential where as the Quaresma's, Postiga's and Paim's will not. We have been spoilt with strong showings at tournaments and great talent but we may have to now hope for the best and get behind the team no matter what but we can still enjoy watching Ronaldo and co hit their peak as a team. Who knows maybe Oliveira, Pele, Mika, betinho, Andre Martins, josue, Cedric etc.. will become good internationals.

SQUAD I WOULD LIKE
Patricio, Eduardo, Mika

Alves, Pepe, Costa, Rolando,
Coentrao, Pereira, Silvio, Nelson

Veloso, Moutinho, Mereiles,
Fernandes, Viana, Micael

Ronaldo, Nani, Quaresma
Postiga, Oliveira, Almeida
Not sure
40 Thursday, 10 May 2012 22:50
My first 11 would be

-------------------------------Patricio-----------------------------

J Perreira-------------Bruno Alves-----------Pepe---------Coentrao

----------------Meireles------Veloso---------Moutinho--------------

Ronaldo-------------------Postiga------------------------Nani

(Maybe Nelson Oliveira at top, but Postigas form for Portugal has been good, and Nelson is still abit too raw to start..Will see anyways) Bring Ricardo vaz te hes been banging in goals for West Ham. Manuel Fernandes might start instead of Veloso, great player when hes on top of his game. Quaresma should be brought as a wildcard. Daniel Carrico should be used when we need to shut up shop or be tighter at the back allowing the counter attacking football of our midfield and wingers to let loose. Really don't think Rolando and Ricardo Costa are good enough back ups..Paulo Jorge for Apoel has been solid in the Champions league he be a solid option. Nelson back up right back, take Eduardo and maybe Mika for more learning experience.
People are saying that this is our weakest squad in a while, which is true, but our starting 11 has enough quality to do something good this tournament for sure, I think personally we have a good starting 11, just the squad is not the same depth we had years ago, I'm just scared if two or more key players get suspended or injured what are back ups gonna be like..
Anyways if all goes good I think we got a real chance this year..FORCA PORTUGAL!!
braga braga braga
39 Thursday, 10 May 2012 20:19
Braga players who Bento is taking an eye on...
Quim, Miguel Lopes, Nuno André Coelho, Custódio, Hugo Viana, Ruben Amorim, Hélder Barbosa, and Nuno Gomes.
Jon/USA
38 Thursday, 10 May 2012 19:02
Thanks for those names Jon, I am looking them all up as i write this, very good info!

Need to add them to my pro evolution soccer 2012 game. :)
Squad
37 Thursday, 10 May 2012 18:26
Some thoughts: I would love to include Vaz Te in the squad as a wildcard striker along with Nelson Oliveira, but the fact that Almeida and Postiga are both equally unimpressive makes it difficult since it's hard to predict who will be the better of the two for the Selecao and they have both have different qualities. So I would frustratingly decide to stick with Almeida, Postiga and Oliveira for the Euro. But if Vaz Te's form continues, I would eventually give Postiga the boot even if he has done well for the NT, since he is more like Vaz Te than Almeida.

Liedson's name shouldn't even be mentioned. He is weak and old.
Players for the Future
36 Thursday, 10 May 2012 18:11
I agree that Portugal actually does have plenty of talent for the future. We currently have 2 average center forwards in their prime: Helder Postiga and Hugo Almeida. I actually like Postiga, but only for the time being. We actually have some very talented young strikers waiting for an opportunity to shine. Of course their's Nelson Oliveira and Ricardo Vaz Te, but there are also Wilson Eduardo, and Sporting's extremely promising teenager Betinho.

Currently we have two of the best wingers in the world: Ronaldo and Nani. Of course there's the enigma that is Ricardo Quaresma (not a fan) and Silvestre Varela (having a disappointing season, but still a great player. Also as NJ mentioned, Rudy, of Cercle Brugge in Belgium, has been extremely impressive.

I've been keeping a close eye on him, and he looks to be an extremely talented player. It may just be his hair, but the guy reminds me of Ronaldinho. He's got excellent pace, trickery, and a very good shot with both feet. He's been attracting many great clubs like Napoli. Then there are also players like Wolfsburg's Vieirinha, who was fantastic for PAOK, Diogo Salomao, Pizzi, Salvador Agra, and some hugely talented players in Sporting's youth team like Iuri Medeiros and Filipe Chaby.

In the midfield we have Joao Moutinho, Raul Meireles, Manuel Fernandes, and Miguel Veloso. When fit and used in his favored position, Danny is a fantastic attacking midfielder. We also have great deep-lying playmakers like Hugo Viana and Andre Santos. Plus Sporting have the very talented Andre Martins, the dynamic Adrien Silva, and the versatile Daniel Carrico . Some more young midfielders with plenty of potential are Sporting's Joao Mario, and Parma's Danilo Pereira.

As for the defense, we currently have one top center back in Pepe, and one very solid one in Bruno Alves. Paulo Jorge is a great player, but sadly he isn't one for the future. He could be excellent for us within the next two or three years, but he's already 31. For the future, we have defenders like Miguel Vitor, Nuno Reis, Pedro Mendes, Roderick Miranda, Manuel Da Costa, and Tiago Ilori.

We also have plenty of good fullbacks like Fabio Coentrao, Joao Pereira, Miguel Lopes, Silvio, Nelson, and Cedric.

In goal we have Rui Patricio, one of the finest young keepers in Europe. We also have Eduardo, Beto, and the very promising Mika.

I know that compared to some previous generations, the current squad lacks depth, but I wouldn't be so pessimistic about the future. We have got plenty of young talent, especially forwards and midfielders, who just need a chance to shine.
Depth Trouble?
35 Thursday, 10 May 2012 18:10
I understand what people here are saying about the depth, but when has this ever been a strength? If Ronaldo or Nani go down, who cars who replaces them if they go down, we are sunk regardless. Defenders same thing, this hasn’t changed. We had teams where Petit was the starter people!!

Which ever poster brought up Scolari’s superiority, Scolari also played Paulo Fereira, 1 of the worst SB’s I have ever seen, not to mention Pauleta (can’t hit the side of a barn). So there is good and bad in all things or manager styles and choice.

This is a wonderful article and it really gives us an idea of (probably) exactly what Bento is thinking of doing. I think Portugal has never been stronger at certain positions (Ronaldo/Nani on the wings and Coentrao in the LB slot). Bento is a very smart man, stubborn yes, but no one can deny his intelligence and his willingness to call up anyone (which he has). Yes the RoLando experiment crashed and burned BUT he also crashed at Porto and coming into this year he was/is a highly regarded CB.

For myself, Manuel Fernandes must go, for anyone who has seen him play the last couple seasons knows how fast, aggressive and assertive he can be! He can be a force on the pitch, pushing the offense up, he can also shoot from distance, offering up another threat from range (which Portugal has in spades!)

I would love to see Vaz Te as well but over Postiga (who scores for Portugal consistently), Almeida (big, strong, accomplished) or Nelson Oliveira (blazing speed, shoots hard, young) I don’t see it.

Quaresma should not be near any national squad, I guess Bento thinks he can pull that 1% miracle and not do his usual 99% blundering.

Anyhow, wonderful read, awesome posts, really good food for thought.
what about nunes ?
34 Thursday, 10 May 2012 18:07
i'm talking about ze nunes , the captain of mallorca , i know he's very old but he's a very solid centerback , and i'm only talking about having him as a backup , in a pinch i'm sure he would be solid and play with a lot of heart , he has a lot of experience and would relish the opportunity and would not feel a lot of pressure in my opinion , could turnout to be a " feel good story " and we all know he's better than ricardo costa
Also
33 Thursday, 10 May 2012 17:22
Just in case people take it the wrong way, please understand that I'm not dismissing the Portuguese talent in our league. We also have quality within those ranks.

I am a bit worried having Johnieoooooo agreeing with anything I say. Lol.
@(NJ/USA/SLB)
32 Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:58
Il ike that idea, im changing my 11.

-------------------------------------patricio-----------------------------

J Perreira-------------B. Alves-----------pepe---------Coentrao

------------------------Meireles-----------Veloso---------------------

Ronaldo----------------------Moutinho--------------------Nani

------------------------------Liedson---------------------------------
Decent Squad
31 Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:20
I'm happy with our starting 11 and relatively happy with our subs. I think we have the quality to make a good impact in the tournament. However there are certain players who I STRONGLY believe should NEVER see the pitch or they 100% certainly WILL lose us the game with their catastrophic play. Those 3 players are Rolando , Ricardo Costa and Ricardo Quaresma. I can guarantee you with complete certainty that if any of these players have to start a game or play any longer than 10 minutes in any particular match they will single handedly screw up everything and lead to us conceding and then losing a game.

Rolando and Ricardo Costa are horrible defenders. I mean absolutely horrible. They are not even average in my opinion. They are complete garbage! ANY forward can and will make a fool of them. Costa was the idiot that lost us the game vs Spain in 2010 World Cup when he failed to mark David Villa properly. Then Rolando in the Denmark game in the playoffs was the reason we lost, he was at fault for both goals conceded. Then Ricardo Quaresma while I sort of like his skills etc, he is INCAPABLE of playing the right pass at the proper time. Quaresma doesn't see the big picture in football. In his last appearance vs Poland, there were two clear cut open opportunities to make a good pass to Nelson Oliveira who made good runs/positioning in the box, yet he refused to pass it to Nelson. Nelson would have had a good shot on both occasions. But Quaresma was busy doing some bullcrap for his personal youtube skills highlight video. That sort of stuff is typical of him throughout his career.

I trust Paulo Bento and he's honestly not had alot of time with much leeway to try out different things with the team. From the time he came in its been do or die pressure! He came in having to win every game. Thats made it hard for him to experiment with different options. The other thing too is the lack of international friendlies on the calender. The stupid club Barcelona want to even reduce the number of internationals on the calender even more. That is atrocious. We need more internationals if anything. Yes we have two friendlies coming up but thats right before the Euro , Bento won't have a chance to honestly try new things from scratch.

Last friendly I wanted Nelson Oliveira to start, but to be honest Hugo Almeida has been a part of our team for a while and did have alot of promise in his career. He was having a resurgence at the time with Besiktas and I think he desperately wanted to have a chance to show what he could do considering Postiga (who I like) played all the qualifiers. So I can't be mad that Bento gave Almeida most of the time in that friendly even though I cursed at Almeida constantly during the game and prayed for Nelson. But thats the reality of Bento's situation. I understand.

Bento is a strong character he's got our team playing well and he's gotten the best out of our forwards and we're playing with a winning mentality and scoring alot of goals. He's doing a great job. Bento has alot of backbone and I think he will pleasantly surprise us all. The one change I would insist on is Daniel Carrico for Ricardo Costa. We will not lose anything by dropping Ricardo Costa and we will gain so much in selecting Daniel Carrico. If versatility is Ricardo Costa's so called plus for being selected, Daniel Carrico completely satisfies that requirement and he does it even better than Costa. Carrico will be able to play in center back, right back and in defensive midfield. And he will do it better than Ricardo Costa. Costa has only made 17 appearances this season which is pitiful. Carrico has made 33 appearances and been in big game situations this season. I believe Bento will show strength and select Carrico!
Another great piece
30 Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:00
Some really great posts.
It won't be easy in the Group of Death, but we have shown quality. It will be mostly the same squad as in the WC, so I fully expect to advance. We play well verse the Dutch an dthey tend to underwhelm and implode. But that talk is for another time.

I too agree that Tom's squad is who Bento will go with. If anything I actually think he'll only carry two strikers, Postiga and Almeida, and choose another Midfielder, most likely Varela. I don't agree with this selection, but it would shock me if he didn't do it.
Center Backs have become an issue, so why not Paulo Jorge. Rolando and Costa have proven to be ineffective. For that matter why not Cadu or even Geraldo Alves, look them up and their stats. Yes a bit crazy to introduce such newbies now, but why haven't they've been given a look once Carvalho left and support looked ineffective. Manuel Costa might have been another option but I believe he's hurt. At this point Jose Fonte could even get a peek.

I'm not a big fan of the 4-3-3, due to our mids having to do all of the work and tire badly. Why not go with a 4-2-3-1.
You can put the much hyped Carrico or Veloso alongside Meireles, which would allow Meireles to be the box to box mid. Nani and Cristiano would be out wide and let Moutinho run the show as the #10.
You have Fernandes that could come in for Meireles and Micael (no longer a fan but current year surprised me) for Moutinho. Remember Dani is out. I also wouldn't be surprised if Machado was called up again.

Just to touch on the future, it doesn't look bleak. The FPF and Bento have to do a better job at looking for Portuguese abroad.
Nobody has mentioned Rudi who has 12 goals and 5 assists in Belgium. If you stick with that country, Sporting has three promising youngsters on loan there; Balde (Strk) Nuno Reis (CB) and Carvalho (Def Mid).
As attacking options besides Oliveira, there's the aforementioned Balde, Rudi and Vas Te, but there's also Goncalves (France) and Rui Fonte might yet come good.
We have also have Pele (C Mid), Danilo (Def Mid) and others throughout Europe.
The cupboard is not bare, you just going to have to wait for maturation and look a bit deeper.

I also wanted to point out in looking for Portuguese abroad, what I found startling was how many youngsters have been let go for free, by mid and lower table clubs.
Pedrinho, another youngster was let go for free by Academica when he's value has jumped to over 1.5 mil. Setubal, Belenenses and even Braga have players go for free when they had value. Not good business. Presidents have to held more accountable.
Young Talent?
29 Thursday, 10 May 2012 14:58
Why do people keep saying "There are no good young portuguese players" Portugals U-20 went to the finals in the Fifa U-20 World Cup..lol.
regarding our "depth issues"
28 Thursday, 10 May 2012 14:52
Portugal contrary to what most of you are saying, has a lot of quality players that never go unnoticec. We always call the same guys over and over while these young quality players never get at least a call to a friendly. Only when we run out of veterans will you hear of a guy like Paulo Jorge or Vaz Te, when these guys have been quality for a very long time.

This is deffinetely going to be the weakest squad i have seen in my lifetime, if anyone gets injured its a massive hole for that position because our subs are never picked right...and yes i do know we have ronaldo and nani and other guys but out of the starting 11, the rest is just horrible selection...

I would give an in depth analysis on whats wrong with picking so-and-so and who we should pick, but wasted breath is...well a waste. Like I said we pick the same guys as usual and thats our downfall.

If you notice quality teams (brazil,netherlands,spain, germany does this the most) when there is young talent that emerges, they'll include them right away into friendlies and majority of them make it to the main squad after. Instead, we have horrible coaches who support other people's statements here that the player is "Raw talent", "still needs experience", "not on that level" oh really? well how do you expect them to play for us at a high level without any match time? lol...

this is already long as it is, my point is with scolari he picked those quality young guys no one really knew was good and brought youngsters also into the team. Ever since he left our team has only gone downhill...
ALMOST THE PERFECT SQUAD
27 Thursday, 10 May 2012 13:13
Bento has proved he is a sharp cookie as coach of the Seleccao, but PLEASE leave Postiga at home. In Almeida we have a big, strong CF who can hold the ball up well and is a good target for set pieces - something Postiga is not capable of. Europes CB''s will be all over Postiga and break down his play every time, which menas he won't be able to bring our wingers into play. This is a strong point of Almeida's game.

Also, I would question the inclusion of Quaresma. He has 1 good game in 10. As this is a tournament and not a season he is too much of a liability so we should stick with Vierinha.

Forca Portugal!
If I were Bento
26 Thursday, 10 May 2012 13:07
I would choose these 23.

Goalkeepers: Rui Patricio, Eduardo, Beto

Fullbacks: Fabio Coentrao, Joao Pereira, Miguel Lopes, Nelson

Center-backs: Pepe, Bruno Alves, Paulo Jorge, Daniel Carrico

Midfielders: Joao Moutinho, Raul Meireles, Miguel Veloso, Manuel Fernandes, Hugo Viana, Carlos Martins

Wingers: Ronaldo, Nani, Ricardo Quaresma

Strikers: Helder Postiga, Hugo Almeida, Nelson Oliveira

I had trouble picking my sixth midfielder, but I decided to pick Martins. I don't think that he should be anywhere near the starting 11, but he's familiar with Bento's system, and he has played very well for Granada.

I was very impressed with Custodio, but as Tom mentioned, he doesn't suit Portugal's high pressure, quick passing style. He is a strong tackler and an accurate passer, so he should definitely be considered for world cup qualifying, but for now, I'd rather have Martins.
my 11
25 Thursday, 10 May 2012 12:46
-----------------------------patricio---------------------------

j. perreira---------b. alves----------pepe--------coentrao

--------------------------------veloso-----------------------------

--------------meireles-----------------------moutinho--------

ronaldo------------------------------------------------------nani

------------------------------almeida/oliveira--------------------
Squad possibilities
24 Thursday, 10 May 2012 12:14
Your suggested squad is the most likely, and is almost identical to the one I proposed in my post a couple of weeks back....the only 3 differences being I put Carrico instead of Eliseu, Viana instead of Carlos Martins and Silvio instead of Nelson. It seems Silvio hasn't recovered from injury in time to make the squad which is a shame because he could offer cover at both left and right back (areas we don't have much cover in).

Along with some others I hope Carrico makes it as he could be a good option for defensive midfield, while on current form I would also trust him more than Rolando as a cover centre-back . I also would like Micael in the squad as he the most offensive midfielder (in the absence of Danny) that we have. I agree with Ana/UK that we are missing a true number 10 these days like Deco or Rui Costa in the past...Micael is no great number 10 in reality...but he offers something different so should be included for that reason alone.

I also agree that there is a lack of depth in the squad compared with past tournament squads. This is highlighted by some calling for the inclusion of Ricardo Vaz Te. I disagree completely that the English second division is compararable to some Euro top divisions...that's rubbish! I live in the UK, and i believe the EPL is over-rated...it is far behind La Liga Espanola, and the euro results this season have proved it. The top 2 in the EPL failed miserably in the CL, and then Man United were thumped by Bilbao in the Europa (Bilbao may not even be in Europe again next season), and Man City were comfortably knocked out by Sporting (4th in our Liga). It is only publicity and media coverage (and money!!) that make out the EPL as the best in Europe, and im sorry the second tier of it is not a high enough standard to merit inclusion in our Euro squad!

All in all though, i am fairly confident of our squad's potential for these Euros...I'm not getting ahead of myself and saying we will win it...but definitely qualifying from the group is within our capabilities, if we click...and from the quarter finals, anything is possible. The Germans will mostly likely win our group, but at our best we can certainly beat Holland and Denmark to the other qualifying spot. It will be tough, but i believe we can do it...Forca sempre!!
@Magellan
23 Thursday, 10 May 2012 11:13
what about Eusébio
Carvalho
22 Thursday, 10 May 2012 08:28
Carvalho surely there's pals in the Portugal squad and people can c old but we need him,bento ricardo kiss make up for the saik of the team,Manuel Fernandez a starter for me mush Better than merieles,Carrico should be in the squad at least Hugo viana what a player he has been for the last few seasons not even a bench warmer ...Gomes it old stay home Ruben Who ...martis did well. But again I'd pick some one over him ... Patricio perriera pepe carvalho contrao montinho Fernandez veloso Ron nani postiga ... mereiles viana oliveira almedia carvalho Carrico all ready to show ...last thing Ronaldo great player but please no need all this cheating making Portugal look bad Fallon over same with nani come on lads get stuck in don't b little girls ... Support eachoyher work as a team n smash it forca Portugal ...almedia may get the start because were playing 3 tall bastards of teams before we get into knock out ... I am with u let's support selesao like the anfield fans do to the pool we can be the 12tj player
Team
21 Thursday, 10 May 2012 06:57
I agree with team, but why in the hek has Luis Figo been left off the team!, this is ridiculous.
Going to be a predictable roster, forca regardless ;)
20 Thursday, 10 May 2012 05:10
If Vaz Te, Paulo Jorge & Eliseu ALL make it in, i will be happy. But of course that won't happen. Sadly, i don't think the official roster will be any different then what was posted in the article.
Portugal
19 Wednesday, 09 May 2012 23:35
Goalkeepers: rui patricio, Eduardo, quim.
Defenders: Joao pereira, Nelson, b. alves, pepe, rolando, r. Costa
Midfielders: veloso, h. Viana, moutinho, meireles, Andre santos, Andre martins, carrico
Forwards: helder postiga, helder barbosa, wilson Eduardo, Nelson oliveira, Ronaldo, Quaresma, nani.

I have a strong feeling that rui Patricio, Joao pereira, pepe, coentrao, Joao moutinho, meireles, nani, Ronaldo, Nelson oliveira and postiga will surprise us with a big great form and I think that this portugal can really run through the group I think paulo bento is very smart he is getting no new player but only because he is provin himself first i mean look at ronaldo postiga playing for queiroz even scholars they never scored like they score for pb's team. I think postiga has potential to be a good striker this summer and I think n oliveira will play as well Ronaldo I think will def be the top scorer as he will want to prove.
Thanks Tom
18 Wednesday, 09 May 2012 20:33
First of all thanks Tom for such agreat article you really rock!
And here we go!

I fully agree with you, those are the expected players that Bento will count on to life the euro cup!

But in my opinion, Eliseu, Ruben Micael, Carlos Martins and even Hugo Almeida don't deserve a call!

1-Carrico Must take his turn and serve a CB, while Ricardo costa shall be a possible substitute of Coentrao if an unexpected injury comes on. (Hopefully not)
2-Manuel Fernandes, Custodio and Hugo Vianna must be the three substitutes of the three starters in the middle position: Meireles, Moutinho and Veloso!
3- Helder Postiga is actually the one who must start as a CF, I believe in Postiga, his 13 goals with a weak team in La Liga are not a joke, he's a goal poacher, and served by two of the best wingers in the world Ronaldo and Nani, he'll score and I'm sure of that! So Nelson Oliveira is the first substitute,and I believe that Vaz Te must be the second one and Almeida!
so my starting 11:
-------RUI PATRICIO------

PEREIRA---ALVES---PEPE----COENTRAO

-----------------------VELOSO--------------------------

--------MEIRELES----------MOUTNHO------------


RONALDO----------------------------------------NANI

---------------------------POSTIGA---------------------

Fernandes to come in for Veloso in the second half, Quaresma for Nani, Oliveira for Postiga!

Please start Ronaldo as CF against Denmark, with Nnai and Quaresma as wingers!Danish are physicall, tall and fighters and must me faced with someone having the same physical caracters, with Ronaldo's advantage:Pace and speed!

All the best seleccao!
FORCA PORTUGAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL BRING IT ON I JUST CAN'T WAIT!
sign of times to come
17 Wednesday, 09 May 2012 20:16
yes that rite...ths is the worst seleccao I have ever seen...by far.
and its all due to 1 thing.
the fact that our portuguese league doesnt recruit portuguese players any more.
Its so bad that som people are asking for a guy who plays in Englands 2nd tier league to be called up...wtf?
I challenge anyone to mention the name of any good young portuugese player...there arent any.
My squad
16 Wednesday, 09 May 2012 19:39
Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício, Quim, Beto
Defenders: João Pereira, Miguel Lopes, Fábio Coentrão, Nelson, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Rolando, Nuno Andre Coelho
Midfielders: João Moutinho, Raul Meireles, Hugo Viana, Ruben Micael, Andre Martins, Manuel Fernandes
Wingers & strikers: Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Salvador Agra, Hélder Postiga, Hugo Almeida, Vaz Te
A WEAK SQUAD ?
15 Wednesday, 09 May 2012 18:29
a few of you have written how this is a weak squad and in my view you guys just dont get it , moutinho is too weak i also read , lol , so is xavi of spain , strength and power is not what we need from him and yes he is a true " NUMBER 10 " , lets bulk up the squad like quieroz did , with the sole purpose of beating teams like italy and germany but then not be able to play against the likes of spain , brazil and the netherlands , some portuguese football fans second guess no matter what...
call ups
14 Wednesday, 09 May 2012 18:03
I agree with the squad for the most part but I think Bento will be stubborn and still call up the same players just based on experience and names. Players like Custodio, Hugo Viana, Lopes, and even Helder Barbosa potentially deserve a call up, even if they get cut before the games, I think a run out and chance to shine could be good for them and for the team. I think Nelson Oliveira should go by far and if Bento doesn't pick him I think it'll sorely show at some point. He may not have played as much but he's young and talented and can work to make the goals. I'd like to believe Portugal stands a chance at winning but only if Bento gets the selections right. If not well then I think they can kiss that trophy goodbye.
Selecção
13 Wednesday, 09 May 2012 18:02
Why hasn't Bento named a preliminary squad?

I agree with Paul. This has to be the worst Portuguese team I've seen in several years. If we are to advance beyond the group stages, It will be depend on the quality of certain players and if they live up to their expectations.

Rui Patricio, Pepe, Coentrao, Moutinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, and hopefully in form (Postiga) are our key players for success.

I've heard alot of debate over Moutinho's ability and he may not be one of the most finest players in his position but he's the best option for Portugal. He's a hardworker and helps us play more as a team.

The defence is a real crisis. Rolando is so bad that he shouldnt be considered. For the few times R.Costa has played this season, he is average at best and only as a CB. If you play him LB or RB he'll get burned every time. Paulo Jorge I havent taken note of.. but I would pick him over those two and Bruno Alves is no match for Germany or Holland either.

Next is Eliseu.. not a left back plain and clear.

Nelson might be better than Pereira at right back. He should be observed more in the upcoming friendlies.

Midfield? I want to see Moutinho, Fernandes partnership. Bring in Carriço. Veloso can back-up Coentrao. I would also take André Martins and Viana over C.Martins/Micael.

Postiga links up well, Nelson O compliments the speed of CR and Nani. Almeida can't do either. Nuno Gomes or Liedson who both have goal poacher instincts should complete the list.
If Paulo Bento was a bit more adventurous...
12 Wednesday, 09 May 2012 16:44
I'm sure Paulo Bento has been doing his homework on around 35-40 potential players for a while now but with him I never think there might be a surprise coming... He is stubborn and quite strict with his ideas. Don't get me wrong, it got us to the Euro and all but I wish he would be more open to players who, whilst not new to the national team, have not played for a while.

I think we need a number 10. With Danny injured, we are really missing in that are. I think Hugo Viana should be given a chance but apparently that is unlikely.

At front, I know this is even more unlikely, but Vaz Te is in great form and deserves to be called up. Especially when his competition for that spot is Nélson Oliveira. He is a great prospect but has barely played all season. Between Nélson and Nuno Gomes I'd actually prefer the latter as he has national team 'status' and has been decisive for Portugal in the past. I trust him.

I'd also possibly give Carrico a chance but that might because of my Sporting tendencies...he's not fantastic but at the same time I don't see any strong holding midfielders in our squad.
Good Article Tom
11 Wednesday, 09 May 2012 16:22
Been a while since I last posted here, but Tom great article. I agree with your points with the exception of Ricardo "Liability" Costa lol. I'm surprised you didn't include names like Adrien Silva, Salvador Agra, and Helder Barbosa. All of those guys had great seasons. Anyways here's what I'm hoping Bento brings to Poland/Ukraine...
GOALKEEPERS: R.Patricio, Eduardo, Beto.
DEFENDERS: Joao Pereira, Nelson, Pepe, B.Alves, D.Carrico, F.Coentrao, Eliseu.
MIDFIELDERS: R.Meireles, M.Veloso, M.Fernandes, Adrien Silva, J.Moutinho, C.Martins, C.Ronaldo, Nani, S.Agra.
FORWARDS: N.Oliveira, Nuno Gomes, H.Postiga, Vaz Te.

Summary on why I picked this squad. WARNING This may be a little long for some to read lol...
Goalkeepers:
Tom Tom pretty much said everything I had to say about these three keepers. I expect Patricio to be a beast between the posts with Eduardo and Beto providing back-up. I know some will want Quim to represent Portugal again, but the guy is done with International Futebol. He hasn't been the same since his two injuries in 2008 and 2010.
Defenders:
Pereira, Pepe, Alves, and Coentrao need no explanation. I expect those four to occupy the back-line. I would love for Bento and Bosingwa to squash their differences so it can only be Bosingwa and Pereira as our right-backs, but sadly that looks grim. So with that said I humbly expect Nelson to provide cover. Silvio is good, but the guy hasn't played in ages and Nelson deserves his shot with the NT. The same goes for Carrico and Eliseu. How Carrico doesn't have one single cap for the NT is beyond me. That guy should've been a regular call up since 2010. How guys like Rolando, Costa, and even Coelho been called up is completely mind boggling. As for Eliseu he pretty much solidified his spot after the Iceland and Denmark game.
Midfielders:
No word has to be said about the following players: Meireles, Veloso, Moutinho, Ronaldo, and Nani. Fernandes, Silva, Martins, and Agra might raise some eyebrows, but let me explain. IMO Fernandes fits in Portugal's 4-3-3 system perfectly. His similar to Meireles, but a much smoother player. His just so crisp and I see him fighting Veloso for a spot in the midfield next to Meireles and Moutinho. Now, Silva, If anyone watched him play for Academica this season knows why I picked him for my squad. His career looked set to deteriorate after Sporting loaned him out in the last two seasons, but he found his old form this term with Academica. Perfect little player to have on the bench. Another good one is Martins. I just love the fight and passion he brings into the NT. Finally, Agra. What Conceicao did to this kid since taking over Olhanense has been remarkable. He might not see a single minute in the Euro, but having him around Ronaldo and Nani will help pick up a few good pointers from two of the best wingers in the world. Two players who just missed out on my squad were Martins and Hugo Viana. Like Agra, Martins could really learn from his elders and while I would love to see Viana wear the NT jersey again, he just doesn't fit into this squad. BTW I didn't pick Micael and Quaresma because Micael is a retard. Maybe if he stayed with Porto I would've picked him lol. As for Quaresma, I love him as a player, but he just doesn't bring it to the NT. I'm done hoping for the Q-Man to find his feet with Portugal. He already should've been one of the worlds best wingers, but he doesn't give it his all in every match.
Forwards:
Now to the position where Portugal has always been lacking in since Eusebio retired lol. Unlike the goalkeeping, defending, and midfield departments, Portugal doesn't really have much options in it's forwards, so for that reason I want Oliveira, Nuno , Postiga, and Vaz Te in the squad. Call me crazy, but I say throw on Oliveira as the starting striker. He may surprise everybody like he did in last year's U-20 WC. Many think Postiga or Almeida will start, but I say HELL NO. Both guys had their chances with Portugal and they pretty much disappointed. I only picked Postiga for the simple fact that he has a better scoring record with the NT then Almeida. Bento can throw him on as a substitute if Portugal makes the QF round because the guy has a knack for creating special moments when coming on during the QF stage (Remember Euro 04 against England, WC 06 also against England, and Euro 08 against Germany?) As for old man Nuno I just called him for the experience he brings to the table. I know he hasn't played much this season, but his the most experienced striker Portugal has at the moment. I also would love for him to score at another Euro so he can say that his the only player in European Championship history to score a goal in FOUR straight European Championships tournaments. As for Vaz Te I only called him so he can hopefully score goals left and right like his been doing in the English Championship.

Hope you enjoyed the read and if you didn't then DX has TWO WORDS FOR YA…
SUCK IT lol
Agree with Tom in general
10 Wednesday, 09 May 2012 15:29
In general agree with the selection though it is possible for 1-2 changes depending on what Bento decides to do with Carrico and drop someone like Micael or Elisue. The lack of depth is resulting in few players vying for spots, makes it easy to get 90% with the possibility of a few tweaks.

In my opinion, the weakest Portuguese team in 20 years in terms of player quality though the 2010 WC team due to injuries was lacking quality depth.

I do agree with the comment that being a small nation does hurt the quality depth. It is alarming that Portugal does not have an abundance of riches at this point. There are few young players who are being sought by richer clubs.
Versatility And for future
9 Wednesday, 09 May 2012 15:24
As Portugal are a bit thin for depth compared to other tournaments...our biggest problem since loosing Rui Costa and Deco is we don't have a Number 10 in the squad. It is important that we start harnessing out top young players and start with a long term plan. I think Portugal will need to have a versatile team to cope with different situations.
My squad would look like this.

Rui Patricio, Eduardo, Mika (need to start blooding a youngster)

Pepe, Bruno Alves, Coentrao, Joao Perreira, Ricardo Costa,Paulo Jorge,Nelson

Meireles, Veloso, Moutinho, Fernandes, Micael, Carrico (can
play in defense as well), Andre Martins ( another youngster)

Ronaldo,Nani, Postiga, Almeida, Quaresma, Nelson
Oliveira(youngster)
Tom good call
8 Wednesday, 09 May 2012 14:37
I believe you will be dead on, regarding the selection. Perhaps the only place there may be a change is in midfield, as we have so many choices.
I agree with the predction
7 Wednesday, 09 May 2012 14:16
Even though I disagree with some of Bento's likely picks, I believe that Tom's 23 will be the players Bento chooses. I actually think that Miguel Lopes has a great shot at making it since he can play very well at both right back and left back. He is better than Pereira and Eliseu at defending. Plus, I read that Bento has been keeping a close eye on him.

Hopefully Bento will make some surprising, yet needed call-ups of players like Daniel Carrico, Hugo Viana, and Paulo Jorge, but he seems to be pleased with what he already has accomplished, and he's is unlikely to have too many surprises.

As for Joao Moutinho, he is an excellent midfielder, and he has arguably been our most important player since Bento took over. I agree that our midfield lacks physicality, so that's why I believe that Carrico should be an option as a defensive midfielder.
Versatility
6 Wednesday, 09 May 2012 14:08
I cannot say I agree that Eliseu will go. I guess Paulo Bento may decide to take only João pereira, Nélson and Coentrão as fullbacks, knowing that Ricardo Costa dan deputize on both sides and that Miguel Veloso and Nélson can also fill in at left-back. It may be a bit risky, but it may also be worth the gamble in order to take one more player for a different position (i.e., Varela as an extra winger).

personally I would go that way, but I would not take those midfielders. I would certainly drop Micael (who I do not think has proved himself in the national team) in favour of Custódio or Carriço and possibly Martins in favour of Hugo Viana (I haven't seen much of Martins this season, so I may be unfair).

Otherwise the selection is pretty much easy. Portugal has a very visible dearth of quality which the recent campaign of the U20's will not hide. Coming Brazil 2014 the cup will be considerably barer.
Good point @Alex/NYC
5 Wednesday, 09 May 2012 14:01
Thank you Alex. Remiss of me. I guess it's a case of out of sight, out of mind. I've duly included him in the striker options.
Liedson
4 Wednesday, 09 May 2012 13:41
Why isn't Liedson considered???
London
3 Wednesday, 09 May 2012 13:23
TBH West Ham are better than a few of the Portuguese League teams and the Championship isn't exactly Sunday League. I would give Vaz Te a try but only if there were preliminary squads. why hasn't Paulo Bento named a prelim squad?
Moutinho
2 Wednesday, 09 May 2012 13:21
Really not a big fan of João Moutinho, at least in terms of international play. His size is a definite problem for me and his lack of toughness. He may be able to get by in the portuguese league, but when the competition is on average bigger and stronger, and refs are less likely to blow the whistle as often as in Portugal, I find that he is often taken out of games. It is unfortunate that Danny had his injury problems this year as I would have loved to see him there, however, I feel that Fernandes is a much better option than Joao. It is a crucial position for us as well as the play making center midfield will be what dictates the way we play and for Portugal to be successful they will need definitive possession advantage as we have no quality strikers and scoring opportunities will be difficult to come across. As a whole I am very nervous about our squad. We are going into the toughest group I have ever seen in a tournament and we are doing it with the weakest squad we have had in ten years.
Forca
1 Wednesday, 09 May 2012 13:14
Have to say that I agree about the squad. I just don't see too many newcomers having a chance with Bento at the healm.

Looking at this squad, I ask myself, "Is this a Euro 2012 championship squad?" I hate to say it, but if this team wins the Euro, it's going to be something of an upset. I don't care what people say, but Portugal are a very small nation, and this squad reflects the indisputable fact that small nations have serious depth problems. Let's face it guys, if Pepe or Bruno Alves (or heaven forbid both) go down, it's over. If Ronaldo goes down....over. Heck, even if Nani goes down and we have to play Quaresma, I'd say our chances look dramatically worse.

Don't get me wrong, this team can still do some damage, and I still think we can get out of our group and probably make it to the semifinals at least, but I have to be realistic about what our chances would be if our starting eleven has to be altered in any way at all due to injuries/suspensions.

Forca Portugal!

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