It’s been a busy day at the Portuguese Football Federation’s state-of-the-art Football City complex, with Fernando Santos and Rui Jorge naming their Seleção squads for the Confederations Cup and the U21 European Championship respectively.

As regards the senior squad, the main news was the omission of two of Portugal’s Euro 2016 heroes, Renato Sanches and Eder. The former drops into the U21 squad after his difficult first season at Bayern Munich, while Eder misses out after a substandard year for his club side, Lille.

Meanwhile Rui Jorge announced what on paper at least looks like a stellar squad for the U21 tournament in Poland.

 

The reigning European Champions, as well as the tournament in Russia, play a friendly against Cyprus and a World Cup qualifier against Latvia beforehand. Santos chose his strongest possible options rather than following Germany’s lead, who selected a largely experimental squad.

Some had suggested captain Cristiano Ronaldo should be rested, but Santos flatly rejected the idea. “Ronaldo is selected and he will play,” said the Portugal coach, who also explained that goalkeeper Anthony Lopes was not in the squad because he asked to be left out owing to a serious family issue.

As for the U21 squad, Portugal must be confident of at least matching their runners-up spot in the last edition of this tournament held in 2015 in the Czech Republic, which they lost in the final on penalties. This U21 Seleção is packed with high-calibre players with significant experience for Portugal’s senior squad, such as Renato Sanches and João Cancelo, and footballers with big reputations a club level, such as Rúben Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Gonçalo Guedes and Bruma, among others.

Nevertheless, Jorge refused to accept Portugal were favourites for the tournament, pointing out the fact that highly rated FC Porto midfielder Óliver Torres could not even make a “quality” Spanish squad. 

 

Portugal squad for Cyprus friendly, Latvia WCQ and Confederations Cup

Goalkeepers: Beto (Sporting), José Sá (FC Porto), Rui Patrício (Sporting)

Defenders: Bruno Alves (Cagliari), Cédric (Southampton), Eliseu (Benfica), José Fonte (West Ham), Luís Neto (Zenit), Nélson Semedo (Benfica), Pepe (Real Madrid), Raphael Guerreiro (Dortmund)

Midfielders: Adrien Silva (Sporting), André Gomes (Barcelona), Danilo Pereira (FC Porto), João Mário (Inter Milan), João Moutinho (Monaco), Pizzi (Benfica), William Carvalho (Sporting)

Forwards: André Silva (FC Porto), Bernardo Silva (Monaco), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gelson Martins (Sporting), Nani (Valencia), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas)  

 

 

Portugal’s squad for the U21 European Championship

 

 

by Tom Kundert

 

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  • Guest - Chuck

    I think it was very smart by the two coaches. Pizzi had an outstanding year and definitely earned a spot in the squad, and removing Renato Sanches was the only good option. Glad to see Renato will lead the U21 to glory.

    I think Ricardo Pereira deserved a spot over Eliseu. Other than that, this looks like an improved squad from Euro 2016, which is surprising to see. Forca Portugal!

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  • Guest - jon/usa

    I agree with the previous two comments in that apart from the omissions of Rafa Soares and Ricardo Pereira from the U21 and Confederations cup squad respectively, I honestly don't have any real problems with the team selection. I really feel bad for Eder, but we should not be selecting players based on nostalgia or empathy. Andre Silva is simply a better option: he is more talented, he has been in better form, and he has proven to work extremely well alongside Ronaldo.

    I personally would have selected Renato Sanches over Andre Gomes due to his undeniable talent and unique skill set, but again, I do understand Santos' rationale. Pizzi is by no means a world-class midfielder, but no one can deny that he had an absolutely brilliant season at Benfica. While I don't see him starting ahead of the likes of Adrien or Joao Moutinho, his place in the squad is definitely deserved.

    We have two reliable goal-scorers in Ronaldo and Andre Silva (perhaps the first time we have been able to say that in decades!); we have plenty of creativity in Nani, Quaresma, Bernardo, Gelson, and Joao Mario; Moutinho, Adrien, and Pizzi are all quality options at the #8 position; William and Danilo are two of the best young defensive midfielders in Europe; and Raphael, Cedric, and Nelson Semedo are all elite fullbacks.

    Our only cause for concern is at center-back. Jose Fonte and Pepe in particular were outstanding at the Euros, but the former has had a poor season and West Ham and the latter, despite his obvious class, has been plagued by numerous injuries. Our other options (Bruno Alves and Luis Neto) leave a lot to be desired. That being said, I really can't say that we have superior alternatives. The likes of Paulo Oliveira, Miguel Vitor, and Roderick Miranda have been mentioned, but none of these guys are playing at an elite level. Both Ruben Semedo and Ruben Dias have the potential to represent the Seleccao in the future, but neither are ready to make the step up just yet. Nevertheless, Germany have called up a B squad and Chile, although talented, don't have much more than Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal in terms of world-class talent. In short, this is our tournament to lose.

    The current U21 perhaps lacks a player of Bernardo Silva's quality, but there is probably more depth in this side than the one Rui Jorge had at his disposal two years ago. Our best players in that tournament were Bernardo, William, Raphael Guerreiro, Joao Mario, and Ricardo Pereira. This year, I would say that our most promising talents are Renato Sanches, Ruben Neves, Bruma, Joao Carvalho, and Daniel Podence. Nevertheless, while our options at center-back are far from convincing, I still feel like this team has more than enough quality to go all the way, especially when you consider that the only other squad that can compete with us in terms of both quality and depth is Spain.

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  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    Trust in Santos!

    Santos has proven time and again that he trusts the youth. Gives opportunities to them and when you play badly you don’t play (Eliseu and Vieirinha at the Euro). He trusted Rafael Guerreiro, he trusted Andre Silva, he trusts Gelson but it all takes time.

    Eliseu and Bruno Alves are usually the ones we all agree should not be there and they are hold-overs from the disaster that was Paulo Bento. There is a case however for their inclusions. From all accounts Bruno Alves had a pretty solid year with Cagliari and helped them finish mid table in a very competitive and robust league. He did a great job when thrown to the wolves at the Euro and as a stand in/only if the starter gets hurt role, he works. He has loads of experience and is a danger on set pieces. None of the other, younger CB’s come close to his resume.

    Eliseu is much tougher to justify as I also think he is just not good enough. He is fine with a very talented and intelligent squad like Benfica where his team-mates can cover for him but on the world stage? No, sorry. He is not very smart, not aggressive enough and is always turning offsides into onsides as he is never in position. But Eliseu has played at the highest level and won championships. His experience off the bench is valuable (I guess…).

    Really confused as to why Fabio Coentrao isn’t the backup. Something is amiss with Fabio C and the selecao and his career. I read a piece that says Fabio doesn’t want to play really and is happy collecting his pay. He has declined many transfers by Madrid just to collect money and sit on the bench. I really hope this isn’t true.

    Anyhow, very solid team again and I agree with Jon. Renato over Gomes every day of the year for me as well.

    Jon, Jose Fonte had a tough year yes but its not entirely his fault. West Ham are bad and lucky to finish where they did imo. He should never have left Southampton.

    Gelson is definitely a player I am excited to watch. His unselfish passes and quality service is a gift for Ronaldo and Andre Silva. Really looking forward to Gelson.

    Paulo O is not ready. My opinion.

    Rafa Soares (Rio Ave) and Ricardo Pereira (Nice) will get their chance but the confed cup is not the time. The Selecao is NOT a place to develop talent, it’s a place to establish relationships and chemistry with team mates and a reward for reaching the top tiers of football. Portugal still have an important qualifier coming up v Latvia. We need harmony and calm, throwing in rookies at this point is not smart. Unless its a crisis situation which it is not.

    These guys (I believe) are both Porto loanee’s? So thank Porto for being smart enough to see that having both sit on the bench or play for the B team would do little. Loaning them out was the right move. Porto did something right this year.

    from Burlington, ON, Canada
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  • Guest - Boston

    "Rafa Soares (Rio Ave) and Ricardo Pereira (Nice) will get their chance but the confed cup is not the time."

    I'm sorry but I completley disagree with this. This would be the perfect time. If this was a Euro or World Cup then I'd agree but it's not. This a preparation for next year. It gives coaches an early start to see which players he wants to give experience to to take to the World Cup. Just looks at Germany for example. It's basically a u-23 squad with some players who have never been called up before. Having Eliseu instead of one of those guys is just stupid and pointless.

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  • Guest - Kevin

    While I do trust in Fernando Santos, I am one of those people that believe Ronaldo should have been rested for the tournament. I am assuming that Santos asked Ronaldo if he wanted to play and of course Ronaldo wouldn't have turned down an opportunity to win another trophy. The fact is that Ronaldo isn't getting any younger and for a player that has played at a senior level since the age of 17-18, rest is extremely important. I know that the tournament is a maximum of 5 games assuming Portugal makes the final. Hopefully there will be no issues.

    As for the squad selection, I agree with everyone that Eliseu shouldn't be called up. He's a backup on Benfica (Grimaldo is the starter) and there are better options. I would have brought Antunes as he has shown he has enough quality to be on this team. Coentrão just reminds me of Paulo Ferreira, warming up the bench on a top team, doesn't really want to play. Bruno Alves and Neto being called up just shows the lack of depth at the CB position. I will assume one of them will be cut for the final 23 man squad.

    I am not a big fan of Renato being demoted to the u21 squad. But I am looking forward to seeing Ruben Neves and Renato playing together. I am disappointed that Rafa Soares, Domingos Duarte, and Rui Pedro didn't get called up. Having only one true striker on the team may be a problem as lack of goal scoring has been a reoccurring issue. But the truth is the u21 side is a very deep team, will be hard to cut 2 players to the final squad.

    from Rhode Island, USA
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  • Did a player ever win a Euro before winning a Euro U-21?

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  • Guest - George

    I agree with Boston - this was the perfect time to bleed in the likes of a Ricardo Pereira or Rafa Soares. Or, if you want to look at CBs - a Miguel Vitor, Paulo Oliveira, or Roderick Miranda. I'm absolutely furious at the fact that that absolutely pathetic excuse of a footballer Eliseu was included. I had one request, just ONE - NO ELISEU. But I guess Santos has a game plan in mind that involves riding around on a scooter....

    The Confederations Cup is a blessing. It is, quite literally, an EXPERIMENTAL tournament. Everything from the new stadiums in Russia to new rules like Video Assistant Referees will be tested. As already mentioned Germany will be playing a B team by their standards and we've known this for over a week now. We are in a group where we are the clear favourites and you could argue our U21 side would still be clear favourites - Mexico, Russia, New Zealand. The other group consists of the aforementioned experimental Germany, a Chile team that is struggling in World Cup Qualifying and will be playing their 4th straight summer tournament in 4 years, Cameroon, and Australia... If now is not the time to experiment then when?!

    What does Eliseu bring to this team exactly? I'm sick and tired of arguing with Benfica fans who wear Eagle-eyed glasses their whole lives and are convinced he's a good player. He is CRAP and any normal human being can see that he's crap whenever he takes the pitch for Portugal. International football is not the LigaNOS where a team like Benfica could probably play all their games with 10 men and still finish in the top 3. This is serious, stressful stuff. We can't afford to have a player with the attention span of a toddler, and the effort of a senior citizen on the squad let alone the pitch. THIS was the time to officially boot him OUT. Ricardo Pereira, Rafa Soares, Mario Rui, Antunes - somebody, ANYBODY ELSE should've been in there!

    Luis Neto has been on the bench for the better part of 2 months now for Zenit.... ZENIT! On the BENCH.. for Zenit!!! Whether at his expense or Bruno Alves' - we needed to include a young CB as well. Pepe has been injury-plagued all season and Jose Fonte has been hot and cold. I repeat, if we aren't going to experiment now then WHEN?

    Here's hoping we get to see Bernardo Silva starting on a regular basis and we take this thing home. Winning this tournament would do wonders for our confidence and it would shoot us up the FIFA rankings - ensuring a place in Pot 1 for the World Cup Draw. It'd be nice to avoid a playoff and Group of Death this time around wouldn't it?

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  • I tried to make an argument for Eliseu, it was pretty tough to find any upside to his game. Let's just hope he never sees the pitch.

    from Burlington, ON, Canada
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  • Guest - Jalil Malik

    Being Portugal fan I trust Fernando Santos regarding his team selection, tactics, game plans and his implementations on then team... But in my opinion its problem of his thinking and mentality as he don't want to give chance to young talented players at times and he is so biased towards some players.. I do admit after his took over as Portugal coach he gave chances to more than 50 players in last 3 to 4 years that's why Portugal is on top of world football right now.. But we must admit that its his philosophy or way of thinking that he don't create players proper replacements as we have seen time and time again in last 3 to 4 years Portugal are lacking in Striker and Center Back department as our all quality defenders are above 30 and we don't have any goal scoring forward like Ronaldo.. I don't think Andre Silva is that deadly though but I do admit he is best possible choice for striking position.. In case of Center Back He should have looked forward to upcoming World Cup and should have given chance to young and talented center backs to give them experience of international team and international tournament even on bench and sharing dressing room with greats make you experienced and valueable as you could learn something from your seniors..

    Fernando Santos is very excellent manager I know nobody will doubt his ability ever after Euro 2016 success but he also have some problems in his team selection.. He don't groom players he just give players call up sometimes and then players don't even get a second chance to shine and sometimes he don't even call talented and well deserved players who should be in the team rather than selected ones... I know many will disagree with me but you should see in his tenure that often he call some players who don't deserve to be in team and there are better players waiting for spot..

    Talking about Confederations Cup squad I am agree with all above comments that Bruno Alves and Eliseu have no future with Portugal at all and they shouldn't be close to Seleccao but what could we all do??? Nothing at all because our manager is Fernando Santos and he have some serious LOVE relation with both these old goats.. It was right time for Fernando Santos to drop both of them and give chance to youngster to step up and clinch his place in the team but he didn't want to give chance to any youngster as Portugal are lacking depth in defence department..

    Dominguous Duarte have wonderful season with his club he should have been called up instead of Bruno Alves who have no future with Portugal team at all and I am shocked to see that Duarte is not even selected for u21 Euros too after wonderful season.. Even I wouldn't mind to see Roderic Miranda or Daniel Carrico or Paulo Oliveira get a call up instead of this old goat..

    Paulo Oliveira have potential to be Portugal center back in future but he must leave Sporting CP to play for Portugal as there is a traitor Jorge Jesus in Sporting CP who hate Portugal players so much and don't give them chance to shine as we have seen in Benfica and now in Sporting CP. I wish he leave Sporting CP this summer and go to any other team in Europe where no Portugal player plays. He is talent destroyer in Portugal and destroying wonderful Portuguese talent in Sporting CP by not giving them chance.. i.e Joao Pahlinha, Geraldes, Paulo Oliveira, Daniel Podence and many many many more..

    I am so shocked to see best left back in Portugal Liga Rafa Soares is not selected ahead of Eliseu and not even selected for u21 Euros.. Oh man WOW.. Are you kidding me??? He is best left back in Portugal Liga this season and not even get a call up WOW He should have been there instead of Eliseu as it was wonderful plateform for youngsters to get chance in Portugal 23 men squad and to get experience.. So much hurt to see Eliseu in the squad as he do nothing still get selected by Santos where as some players work hard enough and still not get a call up example are Ricardo Periera, Bruma, Rafa Soares and many more.. I wish this is Eliseu last ever call up with Portugal as his contract gonna expire for Benfica and he will not be in Benfica next season I wish he go to china or any other third class league and stick to bench there so that we don't see Eliseu factor again in Portugal colors..

    Fernando Santos have dropped heroes of Portugal Euro 2016 victory i.e Eder and Sanches because of their poor form with club and on the other hand select Eliseu, Luis Neto, Bruno Alves, Andre Gomes despite their poor form with club.. Hugely Double Standard :D

    Fernando Santos have not done true justice to some players by missing them as they work so hard and have better season with their club from long time.. Ricardo Periera is best RB in Ligue 1 this season and he can also play on Left back and on various attacking positions I don't know what he needs to do to get call up for Portugal so sad to see wonderful talented player don't represent his Country because of poor management and favoritism of Fernando Santos I hope Santos change his mentality before World Cup Russia 2018.. Bruma is another example of this as he was best player of Turkish League and Galatasaray with more than 10 assists and goals this season still he haven't get a call up from Santos as his dribbling and pace is much better than all our current attackers (Excluding Bernardo Silva).. I think Santos have some problem with Bruma as we all have seen that in last qualifier against Hungary and friendly against Sweden Nani was injured and he was not available for Portugal National Team due to injury still Fernando Santos didn't call Bruma and instead of him he called 3 Right backs LOL.. This man is so unpredictable and turning out to be another Bento in terms of Favoritism.. I wish I am wrong..

    I strongly wish that no Portugal starting player get injured thorughout whole Confederatiions Cup tournament as we don't have good back up players at various positions I hope all players remain fit than we will see Portugal lifting trophy again this summer.. All we need to get past group stage than we could win Knockout games same like we have won in Euro 2016.. Getting past group stage for Portugal will be tough and to finish it on top will be even tougher as we have teams like Mexico and Russia in our group.. Talk about Mexico who are very very strong team on paper right now and host Russia are also tough team to beat on their home soil.. I wish we top the group than we can win this tournament as we know how to win knockout games..

    Best starting XI of Portugal is:

    Rui Patricio, Cedric, Jose Fonte, Raphael Guerreiro, William Carvalho, Joao Mario, Joao Moutinho / Adrien. Bernardo Silva, Andre Silva and Cristiano Ronaldo..

    Gelson Martins, Nani, Quaresma, Andre Gomes and Nelson Semedo could be wonderful substitutes of the bench I wish no player get injured and all remain fit throughout whole tournament..

    I am very glad to see Gelson Martins and Bernardo Silva in this squad as they both will not allow us to miss Renato Sanches and Eder at any point.. This squad is best upgrade to Euro 2016 squad but I wish Sanches should have been there instead of Andre Gomes as Sanches pace and energy could be proved vital at times.. I wish Gelson and Bernardo get proper chance to Right wing position to help Portugal as they are wonderful right wing players..

    Talking about Luis Nani I think it will be problem for Santos to manage him.. Last year he played as a Secondary striker along side Ronaldo where he was very vital and helped Portugal in winning Euros as we all know he is more influential at Striker position than at Wing position he in not that deadly winger now as he used to be in his peak.. What will Santos do??? Will he play Nani along side Ronaldo upfront similar to Euro 2016 or will he play Andre Silva upfront??? In my opinion Nani will eat up place of Bernardo Silva as usual to play on Right wing and Andre Silva will be there along side Ronaldo on Strike position.. This will hurt me and many fans that we won't see Best Ligue 1 player of the season Bernardo Silva in starting XI as it usually happening from last 2 years that Bernardo is benched all the time by Santos and he had put players like Danny, Nani and Eder ahead of Bernardo.. I know same gonna happen in Russia that in order to play Nani Santos will bench Bernardo Silva or he will play him out of his position.. Anyways lets see whats gonna happen..

    I am very excited to see Portugal in FIFA Confederations Cup this summer.. I hope Ronaldo win Champions League Final and end his season on high to get motivated for Confederations Cup as our chances of winning this are hugely rely on performance of players like Ronaldo, Pepe, Jose Fonte and other experienced players.. Pepe haven't played many games for Real Madrid this season I hope that won't be an issue regarding his form and I expect to see him in same beast mode as he was one year ago in France..

    Very excited to see players implementing their current club form with National team as Quaresma is 2nd leading assist maker (12) in Turkish Liga..
    Gelson Martins is top assist maker in Portugal Liga (10) and player with most chances created this season..
    Ronaldo with 40 goals this season with Real Madrid despite playing less games as compared to previous seasons (13 goals in last 8)..
    Cedric is wonderful Right Back and have fine season with Saints as he is one of best RB in EPL this season..
    Raphel Guerreiro have wonderful season with Borussia Dorutmund this season..
    Joao Moutinho is also in good form this season who have helped his team in winning Ligue 1 title since 2000..
    Bernardo Silva is top assister and 3rd top scorer of Monaco this season..
    Adrien and William have fine season with Sporting CP this season..
    Andre Silva have breakthrough season with his club Porto.. He is not deadliest finisher his finishing is average but his game play, passing range and creating chances are wonderful..

    I wish Portugal win Confederations Cup 2017 and make up happy again as I am Muslim and Confederations Cup is coming in Ramadan same like last year Euro 2016 I will pray alot to make it possible that we end up on winning this tournament... Forca Portugal!!!!

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  • Hi, guys)) Woooaaahhhhh…

    I have been impressed with portugal men... Do you plan to visit Russia this summer?
    I mean Confederations cup

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