Portugal coach Fernando Santos has named a 24-man squad for Portugal's Euro 2016 home qualifier against Serbia on 29 March.
Belenenses goalkeeper Hugo Ventura gets his first call-up to the Seleção, Hugo Almeida, Antunes and Eliseu are all recalled while Adrien Silva, Raphael Guerreiro, Tiago Gomes, Beto and Hélder Postiga are the players who make way for the newcomers in relation to the previous Seleção squad in November.
Portugal play Cape Verde in a friendly two days after the Serbia match, but Santos explained that the same players will not be used. "On Monday I will announce another squad list with 10 or 11 new players for the Cape Verde game."
As for the clash against Serbia, Santos was at pains to emphasize the importance of the fixture. "Everyone should realise the importance of this game. For a team that has just one point [Serbia] this is an absolutely crucial match. We expect Serbia to come here and try to win the match. I know the problems they can cause us and also their weaknesses, which I shall share with the players."
Qualification on track
Despite not missing a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup, Portugal have often struggled in the qualification phase. After a shock defeat at home to Albania, a result that cost Paulo Bento his job as the Seleção coach, it appeared it would be a familiar story.
But the appointment of Santos brought about an immediate recovery, with narrow wins against Denmark (away) and Armenia (home) lifting Portugal to second in Group I, one point behind leaders Denmark with a game in hand. When both Serbia and Albania were docked points after the infamous drone incident triggered chaotic scenes and the abandonment of their match in Belgrade, Portugal's position was further strengthened.
With the top two nations qualifying directly, a win for Portugal in Lisbon on Sunday week will leave the team well placed to qualify without the need for a play-off, which is allocated to the third-placed team. The Seleção have required a play-off to qualify for the last three tournaments.
Portugal are likely to be without coach Santos in the Estádio da Luz dugout. The Court of Arbitration for Sport will announce the result of his appeal against an eight-match ban on Monday. The ban, imposed after abusing the referee as the Greece manager in the game against Costa Rica at the 2014 World Cup, is expected to be upheld but reduced.
Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício (Sporting), Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Ventura (Belenenses)
Defenders: Bosingwa (Trabzonspor), Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahçe), Cédric (Sporting), José Fonte (Southampton), Pepe (Real Madrid), Antunes (Dinamo Kiev), Ricardo Carvalho (Monaco), Eliseu (Benfica)
Midfielders: João Mário (Sporting), William Carvalho (Sporting), André Gomes (Valencia), João Moutinho (Monaco), Tiago (Atletico Madrid)
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Danny (Zenit), Éder (Braga), Nani (Sporting), Ricardo Quaresma (FC Porto), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg), Hugo Almeida (Kuban Krasnodar)
by Tom Kundert